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Mentor Research Laboratory

IMSD Research Objectives

The objective of this part of the program is to demonstrate to students that science is a highly rewarding career, both personally and economically. Students gain scientific training, including instruction on experimental planning, collection of data, and interpretation of results. With this experience, students gain self confidence regarding potential success as scientists. Scholars participate in hands-on, bench research projects and are exposed to common laboratory techniques depending on their specific projects. Students are trained to perform experiments under the supervision of their mentors and laboratory personnel. They are taught how to plan and execute an experiment, including the use of appropriate controls. Upon completion of an experiment, students are educated in data analysis, including statistics and presentation (oral and written). Students are expected to actively participate in laboratory activities, including, but not limited to, group meetings and journal clubs. Upon the appropriate training, students are responsible for their own projects under the supervision of their mentors. It is desirable, but not necessary, that a presentation at a national meeting and/or publication will emerge from the students' projects. If a student is able to present their work at a conference, travel expenses for the student are covered by IMSD. Students receive compensation for their work in the lab, calculated at up to 15 hours/week during the academic year and 40 hours/week during summer (12 weeks). Sophomore and junior students can join the program at any time during the year. Rising seniors will only be admitted to the program one year prior to graduation. Students will be supported for the length of the program. The length of the program for each student depends on the time of admission and graduation.

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Selection of a Mentor-Research Laboratory

Students who are admitted into the IMSD program can select any mentor from the list provided. Meetings with potential mentors will be coordinated in conjunction with the Program Manger, Valita Jones Ed.D. Finally, applicants are expected to meet with the Program Director, Dr. Antonio De Maio, to select the most appropriate research environment for their career goals and interests. The research mentor laboratory experience is thought of as a dynamic process. Students have complete freedom to stay in the same laboratory for the whole program or move to different laboratories to increase their exposure to science. A minimum of six months in a research mentor laboratory is required.

Selection of Mentors for the Program

The selection of faculty to be research mentors is based on several criteria:

  • Interest in participating in the IMSD program.
  • Excellent training record. Interested faculty are evaluated on their past training record regarding undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral fellows. Particular attention is paid to the post-training record of the trainees. A small number of junior faculty with little training experience will be included in the program, since this is an excellent opportunity for them to develop their mentoring skills. We envision this program as a dual educational enterprise for both students and mentors.
  • High level of funding. An important component in the training of students is to prepare them to write grants. Well-funded laboratories will provide the right environment to accomplish this objective.
  • Outstanding level of publications. An important objective of the program is to place students in productive laboratories. It is expected that laboratories with a good number of high-impact publications will be the best environment to guarantee the success of the student.
  • Commitment to train URM students. This commitment will be measured using different parameters, such as past-training of URM students, participation in the recruitment of URM students, involvement in URM related activities, and, for those that have no prior experience, a demonstrated interest in participating as a mentor for URM trainees.

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