FUTURES nurtures scientists at N.C. Central
The group of 11 young women and seven young men from across the state are part of the FUTURES Summer Bridge Program, an acronym that stands for Fostering Undergraduates Through University Research and Education in the Sciences. The goal of this grant-funded program is to recruit more students into science majors by giving them real-world work experience in laboratories.
The Bridge students have spent the last six weeks conducting research at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Research Triangle Park and at three on-campus facilities - the Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI), the Biomanufacturing Research Institute and Technology Enterprise (BRITE), and the College of Science and Technology. Their work focused on caffeine analysis, childhood asthma, organic wastewater contaminants and prostate cancer.
Six of the 18 students have been engaged in math and science camps at NCCU since they were in 7thgrade. They all have earned high grade point averages and SAT scores.
“The FUTURES program is a powerful way to address the deficit of competitive science, technology, engineering and math majors,”said Dr. Gail Hollowell, assistant professor of biology who is supervising the students. “We grab these kids while they are still very young and grow their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills by putting them in the lab. We hope that experience also grows their love for science.”
To gain understanding of life after graduation, the students live on campus, go to work from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and earn a stipend of at least $1,500 during the program.
LaManuel White is an incoming freshman and member of the FUTURES class. He said the program has been great preparation for a successful college career and beyond.
“During the past six weeks, I’ve learned important lab techniques, business etiquette and several relevant aspects about living on a college campus,” he said. “FUTURES is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and professors that can help you along in your college career. I’m glad I had the opportunity to be a part of this program and I’m looking forward to what’s in store.”
FUTURES is part of the NCCU Center for Science, Math, and Technology Education, under the direction of Dr. Sandra White. It is funded through a $900,000, four-year grant by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization that is one of the nation’s largest philanthropies.