The proposed R25 Summer Intern Program (SIP) in Environmental Health Sciences seeks to offer summer research training in environmental health sciences for 10 outstanding under-represented minority undergraduate students from across the nation. These interns will participate in the investigators well-established and comprehensive 9-week laboratory training program at Harvard School of Public Health in conjunction with its Ph.D. Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health. HSPH has pledged to match NIH support to enhance the experience offered by its nationally recognized summer internship. The investigators will provide hands-on training in bench research, develop lasting mentoring relationships between summer undergraduate interns and ten outstanding HSPH faculty, and promote interest in environmental health graduate science careers by organizing curricular and extracurricular activities for interns enrolled in their program. All training program faculty are experienced in serving as mentors for minority students and have worked with their summer program for several years. Additionally, these faculty members have active research programs in a broad spectrum of research areas, including environmental health, genetics, molecular epidemiology and biomarkers, toxicology, and mechanistic disease research. This breadth of interest will benefit their program as each of the faculty will speak to the students about their research and professional development to foster careers in environmental sciences. Prospective applicants from across the nation will be evaluated for their potential based on statement of purpose, coursework and grades at the undergraduate level, and letters of reference. Those accepted into the program will begin their summer experience the second or third week in June. The SIP includes an individualized supervised research project in HSPH faculty laboratories, laboratory safety training, responsible conduct of science, participation in a weekly seminar series focusing on environmental health sciences, formal and informal mentoring lunches with HSPH faculty and graduate students, university-wide lectures bringing together summer interns across the university, afternoon and evening socials, practical preparation for the graduate school admission process, and Harvard University-sponsored Science Symposium for trainees to present the results of their research. The program evaluation will assess how well the SIP enhanced the motivation and academic preparation and participation in environmental health careers.
The specific aim i s to motivate and enhance the pipeline of underrepresented minority students seeking graduate level training in the environmental health sciences. Public Health Relevance: Excess mortality and disease incidence is preventable by eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. To tackle this significant problem, it is necessary to train environmental science researchers from diverse backgrounds so that they may inform and shape solutions for the future. The investigators efforts are focused on strengthening the pipeline of doctoral students with the ultimate goal of improved representation of minorities at the faculty level in environmental health sciences. Unfortunately, laboratory disciplines of the environmental health sciences are not widely taught at the undergraduate level, and many potentially excellent candidates simply do not learn about the possibility of a valuable and fulfilling career path towards the Ph.D. degree in this area. Many minority students who could thrive in a graduate training program choose instead to enter medical school. The best way to recruit qualified students is to educate them about opportunities while they are still undergraduates and before they make their choices regarding graduate school or other career paths. The 9-week program addresses this problem. Directed by Dr. Marianne Wessling-Resnick from the Ph.D. program in Biological Sciences in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health, ten outstanding and very well-established faculty members will oversee professional development of ten talented, bright and motivated undergraduate summer interns in environmental health sciences. Students apply to the program electronically, submitting their college transcripts, letters of reference, and a statement of purpose. The investigators goal is to recruit summer interns from groups under-represented in environmental sciences. Applicants will be encouraged to contact participating HSPH faculty by email to begin to learn more about specific research problems. The investigators typically "match" students with a faculty laboratory advisor in their field of interest. The summer experience begins the second or third week in June, and includes an individualized supervised research project in HSPH faculty laboratories, laboratory safety training, responsible conduct of science, participation in a weekly faculty seminar series focusing on environmental health sciences, formal and informal mentoring lunches with HSPH faculty and graduate students, university-wide lectures bringing together summer interns across Harvard, afternoon and evening socials to build community spirit, practical preparation for the graduate school admission process, and participation in Harvard University-sponsored Science Symposium for trainees to present the results of their research.

Public Health Relevance

Excess mortality and disease incidence is preventable by eliminating racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. To tackle this significant problem, it is necessary to train environmental science researchers from diverse backgrounds so that they may inform and shape solutions for the future. Our efforts focus on strengthening the pipeline of doctoral students with the ultimate goal of improved representation of minorities at the faculty level in environmental health sciences. Unfortunately, laboratory disciplines of the environmental health sciences are not widely taught at the undergraduate level, and many potentially excellent candidates simply do not learn about the possibility of a valuable and fulfilling career path towards the PhD degree in this area. Many minority students who could thrive in a graduate training program choose instead to enter medical school. The best way to recruit qualified students is to educate them about opportunities while they are still undergraduates and before they make their choices regarding graduate school or other career paths. Our 9-week program addresses this problem. Directed by Dr. Marianne Wessling-Resnick from the PhD program in Biological Sciences in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health, ten outstanding and very well-established faculty members will oversee professional development of ten talented, bright and motivated undergraduate summer interns in environmental health sciences. Students apply to our program electronically, submitting their college transcripts, letters of reference, and a statement of purpose. Our goal is to recruit summer interns from groups under-represented in environmental sciences. Applicants will be encouraged to contact participating HSPH faculty by email to begin to learn more about specific research problems. We typically match students with a faculty laboratory advisor in their field of interest. The summer experience begins the second or third week in June, and includes an individualized supervised research project in HSPH faculty laboratories, laboratory safety training, responsible conduct of science, participation in a weekly faculty seminar series focusing on environmental health sciences, formal and informal mentoring lunches with HSPH faculty and graduate students, university-wide lectures bringing together summer interns across Harvard, afternoon and evening socials to build community spirit, practical preparation for the graduate school admission process, and participation in Harvard University-sponsored Science Symposium for trainees to present the results of their research.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Type
Education Projects (R25)
Project #
5R25ES020722-04
Application #
8660697
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1)
Program Officer
Humble, Michael C
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Harvard University
Department
Genetics
Type
Schools of Public Health
DUNS #
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02115