Currently, the program at our institute employs high school juniors and seniors from a [REDACTED] area high school. It pairs each student with a mentor to provide guidance and hands-on training. This program is coordinated by Human Resources, and encourages academic competence (all students must maintain at least a “C” average), critical thinking, communication, personal responsibility, and a commitment to the future. We propose to host seven students, which will be matched with mentors in one of our institutes twelve labs based upon interest in our sub-programs (brain, eye, pancreas/liver, skeletal or blood). The curriculum will be primarily focused upon training the student to perform their own “mini-project” using stem cells to study a topic within their focus area. Additionally, we plan to enhance this curriculum with both field trips and by bringing in speakers to expose them to stem cell research outside the [REDACTED]. This program aims to strengthen the future of stem cell research in California by recruiting and inspiring young scientists. Additionally, the work these summer students perform will be for funded projects that will go on for publication.
Statement of Benefit to California:
The proposed internship will have a large impact on the future of stem cell research in California by reaching out to students within the [REDACTED] area that would not normally have access to such an opportunity. Thisaims to inform and educate the next generation of researchers on the exciting world of Regenerative Medicine, train them so that they may work in labs, and provide them with experience they can use during college and further on in their careers. In furthering this program to include a summer internship program we would enhance the potential to fulfill the goals of this program and would enable us to reach more students.
Reviewers agreed that this program has an established track record and the Program Director is well qualified to oversee the summer program. However, there were a number of major concerns that significantly dampened reviewers’ enthusiasm for this proposal. Reviewers were concerned that there are insufficient number of labs and mentors available to host and supervise the summer students. The lack of essential details about the second discipline and how it would be integrated into the program further lowered reviewers’ enthusiasm. Additionally, although this program has been operating for a number of years, there was no mention of prior history and past program success. Overall, reviewers were in agreement that this proposal did not adequately address the key components relevant to the RFA and raised a number of major concerns about deficiencies in program detail, student recruitment, training capacity, and follow-up.
- A motion was made not to recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.