On May 5, the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) hosted a CSM Student Success Showcase, sponsored by Sanofi Genzyme and Oracle. The showcase featured 64 poster presentations by over 150 CSM students. The presentations took place in the state-of-the-art Integrated Sciences Complex (ISC). The ISC offers multidisciplinary research opportunities in nearly 80 new faculty research laboratories and specialized facilities such as the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy and the sandbox laboratory.
The CSM Showcase highlighted student academic accomplishments and community-building activities through the CSM Freshman Success Community (FSC) Program, the UMass Boston-Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) International Exchange Program, as well as the cutting-edge research opportunities offered by the recently established Sanofi Genzyme and Oracle Graduate and Undergraduate Research Fellowships.
Over 120 of the presenters were freshmen and peer mentors from nine FSCs. They presented 22 posters highlighting experiences ranging from a field trip to the Azores Islands, to building a CarDroid model navigated remotely by a cell phone, to researching microbial communities in local salt marsh sediments. In addition, over 50 students and peer mentors from two pre-med FSCs presented eight posters on developing social capital and “building bridges” with their GCU peers from Scotland.
CSM continues to demonstrate its commitment to student success. CSM introduced new Sanofi Genzyme and Oracle Research Fellowships in the fall of 2014. Under the leadership of Dean Andrew Grosovsky, CSM combined corporate funding, faculty extramural funding, and UMass Boston graduate research support to offer intensive research opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in life sciences and computational sciences. Eight doctoral and 25 undergraduate Sanofi Genzyme and Oracle Research Fellows presented their research posters on subjects ranging from the application of novel dye molecules for tumor imaging using photoacoustic tomography to the effects of drug addiction on locomotor sensitization, neurotransmission, and brain plasticity in rats. Undergraduate research topics included ways to improve personalized cancer treatment, cell cycle regulation in bacteria, building a device to study the growth of mosquito larvae, and discovering cancer subtypes using machine learning.
Chancellor J. Keith Motley and Provost Winston Langley engaged in vigorous discussions with students and congratulated them on their accomplishments. “We were very proud to showcase the quality and success of our students. The quality of work presented by the Freshman Success Communities was very high and the quality of the Fellowships posters was easily comparable to those you see in any scientific meeting around the country,” said Dean Grosovsky, who initiated all three programs represented at the showcase.
“Not only was I able to showcase my research, I got to interact with my colleagues and professors to learn what projects they were undertaking. Having been in a Freshman Success Community myself, it was valuable to see the continued support from faculty as well as [from] Sanofi Genzyme and Oracle,” said Anthony Tran, a biochemistry major in the class of 2015. He will be attending UMass Medical School this fall.
The CSM Showcase overlapped with a celebration of science education, co-sponsored by CSM and the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd). High school science educators and corporate partners were able to view the CSM student posters as part of the reception.
“This event recognized the decade-long partnership between MassBioEd and Massachusetts high school science teachers, our ongoing collaboration to advance life sciences education in public high schools across the state, and our efforts to cultivate the biotech workforce of tomorrow,” said Larissa Fawkner, the director of corporate and community relations at MassBioEd.