During the summer of 2013, 15 Barry University students traveled to research-intensive universities across the country to complete summer research internships. The students, a mix of biology, chemistry and psychology majors, spent anywhere from 8 to 10 weeks at their respective research sites working alongside faculty and graduate students, carrying out research in the areas of molecular biology, psychology, physiology, neurobiology, cancer biology, microbiology and marine biology.
Participating universities included the University at Buffalo, the University of California, Riverside, Harvard University, Howard University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Missouri, MIT, the University of Nebraska—
Lincoln, the University of South Florida and Yale University. In addition to these participating universities, one student completed a summer research internship with the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.
“The internship helped me to think and live like a scientist does,” said Peter Rodriguez, a sophomore at Barry majoring in biology, who completed a 10-week summer research program at Harvard University studying functions of ribonucleic acids specific to the nervous system. “The connections I made were amazing.”
The cohort of students included Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) students, Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) U*STAR students and ROADS Research Club members, among other undergraduate students. Both RISE and MARC students are required through their programs to take part in annual summer research programs at research-intensive universities and then present their research at Barry’s Biomedical Seminar Series and Annual STEM Symposium, as well as at professional national conferences.
“It [presenting] is important, especially in chemistry, because it can allow others who are currently doing research for the Department of Physical Sciences to see what methods other people outside the university are doing, and it lets us see whether this method or idea can work for their research project here,” said Hangny Dao, a senior at Barry majoring in chemistry, who completed a 10-week summer research program at the University of South Florida studying organic synthesis of catalysts and methodology.
During the summer programs, which are fully funded either through the host institutions or Barry’s MARC or RISE programs, students are partnered with faculty members, specific to their major, and work in research laboratories assisting faculty members with their research.
“I think the hands-on experience and the total immersion in the research lab outside of classes gives students a good appreciation of what research is as a career,” said Flona Redway, Ph.D., director of Barry’s MARC U*STAR and RISE programs. “It also prepares them for graduate school and allows them to become more independent as researchers and more confident.”
Barry MARC U*STAR students have been completing summer research at research-intensive universities for nearly 30 years, beginning in 1984 when the MARC U*STAR program was established at Barry. Barry RISE students have been taking part in off-campus summer research programs since the RISE program started at Barry in 2001.