On The Cover

30 Years of
NCAA Sports

Brand New
University debuts fresh look and feel

Giving Back
Service-learning shapes students

On Top Of The World
Barry pride displayed around the globe

Fall 2013, Volume 18

Campus Currents I Spotlight On Sports I Barry Beat I Features

Down to a Science

By Luke Steinberger

Barry University’s commitment to science and its dedication to minority students converges with three programs dedicated to helping students realize their goals.

RISE student Talia Guardia at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) in Washington, D.C., April 6-10, 2013

Since 1983, the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program at the University has aimed to increase the number of biomedical and behavioral scientists from underrepresented groups who are well prepared to enter PhD programs. MARC receives funding from the National Institutes of Health and, under the direction of Dr. Fiona Redway, prepares students for PhD programs in these fields. Dr. Redway also directs the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program, another National Institutes of Health funded program, to help enhance the interest, skills and competitiveness of biology and chemistry majors in pursuit of biomedical research careers. While the two programs are similar, they differ in that the MARC program has a more enriched curriculum. There are currently four students participating in MARC, for which funding ends in 2014, and eight students in the RISE program, each of whom underwent a rigorous application and interview process. Talia Guardia, a senior biology major, has been a member of RISE since her sophomore year and has loved every second of it. “When I first came to college, I didn’t really understand what a PhD was,” Guardia explains, reflecting a confusion shared by many underclassmen. “Through RISE, I realized that not only do I love medicine and want to see patients, I also really want to make a difference for the patients by doing research that might help them.”

Guardia has done on-campus research for the past three years under the supervision of biology professor Dr. Xiao-Tang Hu, exploring which proteins might be involved in the proliferation of leukemia cells. She also appreciates the way RISE allows her to attend conferences to present her work and learn about the work of others. “It’s nice to be able to go to conferences to show our research and get ideas,” Guardia says. “And we also get exposed to career options and networking opportunities.” The third program for Buccaneers interested in science is the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS). MAPS is an organization aiming to guide pre-health students by helping them explore and gain insights into a professional health career. The organization has 46 participants and is run by an 11-member executive board, chaired by MAPS president, Precious Ezeamama. Ezeamama got involved with MAPS after attending an event titled, “What I Wish I Knew About Medical School,” in fall 2011. Through her involvement with MAPS, Ezeamama learned about issues facing the health care community, particularly health care disparities in underserved communities.

“It’s nice to be able to go to conferences to show our research and get ideas.”
RISE participant Maxime JeanMAPS members DeLorean Ruffin, Alicia Guerero, Daphne Petit-Homme, Precious Ezeamama, Cyndie Dern and Tania Torres-Delgado at the Student Affairs banquet

“Once I learned about the disparity,” Ezeamama says, “I initiated a small committee within MAPS that looks into grant opportunities in Little Haiti and Little Havana to try and address the issue.” MAPS was recognized at the 2013 Student Affairs banquet, receiving four student organization awards. While students are responsible for running the operation, they do not do it without help. “We have one of the best faculty advisors,” Ezeamama says about Dr. Stephanie Bingham, who in addition to overseeing MAPS has been Ezeamama’s mentor and academic advisor since her sophomore year. “She is with us every step of the way. She follows up on everything with us and is a strong leader.” While each organization has different goals, MARC, RISE and MAPS each help the student body at Barry by ensuring that opportunities for academic and professional growth are provided. Moreover, the work done by the organizations—whether it is biomedical research, information sessions about preparing for medical school, or the professional development and community outreach projects – provide invaluable benefits not only to Barry students but to the community as well.