Dr. Brenda Schoffstall, associate professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, has received a 2016 Linkage Fellows Award from the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) Minorities Affairs Committee (MAC). The award acknowledges Schoffstall’s commitment to diversifying the biomedical scientific workforce.
Through the Linkage Fellows program, Schoffstall will promote ASCB MAC programs at Barry, recruit and track selected students and faculty, attend the ASCB annual meeting, and participate in MAC programs and other meeting activities. This program is expected to be instrumental in the identification of applicants at the undergraduate and graduate level for MAC programs, and it is also expected that Barry will provide a pipeline of science students and faculty for MAC programs.
“Many of Barry’s minority students are the first in their family to attend college. They come with a definite interest in Biology, but they typically have not been exposed to scientific research or possible research careers,” says Schoffstall. “I find it a personal challenge and a firm goal to expose as many of them as possible, and as early as possible, to significant research opportunities.”
Her proposed activities include: year-round mentorship and research supervision of otherwise non-funded minority research students; scientific poster abstract writing; and a poster preparation workshop. Schoffstall’s focused research program will expose minority students to activities at minority serving institutions that will promote careers and research in cell biology. Outreach to St. Thomas University through the workshop will expose faculty and students at another minority serving institution to ASCB MAC programs. Additionally, Schoffstall will be responsible for educating and promoting ASCB MAC programs within the biology faculty.
Since starting as a professor at Barry, Schoffstall has mentored more than 20 minority undergraduate research students, and the MAC Linkage Fellowships in 2012/2013 were essential to pursuing this goal. She says continuation as a MAC Linkage Fellow in 2016 will empower deserving minority undergraduate researchers with financial support, advice and tools to follow a career path in research.