September 21, 2010 -- Montgomery College students with backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented in the sciences will live on the Georgetown University campus next summer with Georgetown undergraduates and work in university research labs. The partnership with Montgomery College is one part of a $1.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to Georgetown's biology department.
"We have a mission to figure out a way of reaching populations of students have not had substantial exposure to scientific research," says Maria Donoghue, associate director of the Georgetown-Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholars program.
Montgomery College's 35,000 students represent 170 countries and are often the first in their family to seek higher education.
“We’re excited about the talented and inquisitive students we will discover in our introductory biology and chemistry courses this year who, perhaps, haven’t considered careers as research scientists,” said Kathy Michaelian, Instructional Dean of the Business, Science, Mathematics, and Technology Division at Montgomery College-Germantown. “Our students are certainly academically ready to have the opportunity to do serious research at a prestigious university.”
Starting this spring, students at the Montgomery College campus in Germantown, Md., will be introduced to the program in a seminar, co-taught by Donoghue and MC professor Carol Allen, in which they'll discuss current issues in science.
The following summer, a subset of these Montgomery College students will spend 11 weeks on the Georgetown campus, living with Georgetown’s undergraduate research scholars, working in research labs, and debating science at evening salons. The students will receive a stipend for their work.
The program will also offer mentorship and technical assistance to students applying to four-year colleges, in hopes that they'll pursue a science degree and go on to graduate programs and careers in research.
Georgetown is one of a small number of top research universities that has garnered continuous support from HHMI from its University Program, including the Georgetown-Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholars, who participate in a four-year, research-intensive course of study mentored by faculty.