The proposed summer internship will strengthen the future of stem cell research in California by providing California high school students the exciting opportunity to delve into hands-on research in various areas within stem cell biology. Using a one-on-one direct mentorship model, California students will be mentored by graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and Faculty within various research labs. Students will be trained on the basics of the stem cell field through the opportunity to attend a lecture series course in stem cell biology. The students will have ample opportunities to present their research through an oral presentation, presentation at lab meetings, as well as at a poster session. During the summer, our goal for the students is to be well trained in laboratory techniques and to motivate them to continue their excitement for stem cell and regenerative medicine research. Participating students will disseminate their excitement for regenerative medicine to their families, classmates in high school, and local communities. The discoveries that they make will almost certainly be published in the top journals in the field, further promoting stem cell research in California and throughout the world. Our program will recruit new people to the field, and may even recruit talented students from other states to participate. The ultimate goal of our program is to train a diverse group of students who will be the next generation of future stem cell scientists.
Even before the great Gold Rush, the State of California was considered a place where Americans were drawn --- to seek adventure and to make important discoveries. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Gold Country prospectors, and Los Angeles movie industrialists exemplify the risk taking and creativity needed to change the world, and to make California what it is today. Now in 2011, Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine require visionary leaders, and organizations such as CIRM to fund them and to sustain their ideas. The United States, and California in particular, is falling further behind by the day in science and math education. There is no better way to improve science, math and engineering education in California than by enabling California students to DO science themselves – as stem cell researchers. Exposing California high school students to this new field of stem cell research will allow them to explore biomedical research as a possible career, and to create a pipeline of future Californians to serve as stem cell biologists. These same young trainees will benefit other Californians by making important discoveries that will improve the health of other Californians – and for that matter the whole world.
Reviewers agreed that this is an excellent and well-conceived proposal. The scope and program activities will provide excellent training and introduce participants to future careers in stem cell research. Outstanding strengths of this program include the institution's well-established history and successful track record with the high school internship program, abundant research opportunities and the program director’s considerable experience and direct involvement with the program. The program also features a well-planned recruiting process and comprehensive follow-up of previous participants. Reviewers expressed some concern that the program does not sufficiently describe outreach efforts for involving underrepresented students, and the proposal included only minimal attention to the second discipline; these two issues somewhat reduced reviewer enthusiasm.
Overall, reviewers were very supportive of this application. They valued the strengths of the institution’s established summer research training program and appreciated the quality and breadth of training opportunities and program activities.
- A motion was made to recommend this application for funding. The motion carried.