Hands-On Science Program Places Students in the Lab With Faculty Members for Intensive Research Experience
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Amgen Scholars Program, a partnership of the Amgen Foundation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and premier universities around the country, is now accepting applications for the summer of 2008. The annual Amgen Scholars Program provides undergraduates the opportunity for hands-on research at 10 of the nation's leading universities to explore an area of research under a faculty mentor beyond what they may be able to do as part of their regular undergraduate education.
"If America is to continue to lead the innovation economy, it is crucial that we inspire more students to pursue advanced training in the sciences," said Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, which is an Amgen Scholars program school and also serves as the national program office. "Pairing academic mentors with Amgen Scholars provides invaluable hands-on learning that can foster a lifetime passion for the sciences."
Pre and post-program surveys of the 238 Amgen Scholars from 2007, conducted by the Center for Evaluation and Education Policy, revealed that participating students reported an increase in science proficiency in a number of areas:
- 80 percent of participating students reported being "proficient" or "very proficient" in their understanding and awareness of science-based career options, versus 48 percent pre-program;
- 90 percent of students post-program reported being "proficient" or "very proficient" in laboratory skills, as compared to 73 percent pre-program;
- 64 percent reported being "proficient" or "very proficient" in their understanding of drug discovery and development, while only 15 percent did pre-program;
- Preparation for graduate school was rated by students as one of the most valuable aspects of the program
"Students often get consumed with the idea that science is all about book knowledge or getting an A in their organic chemistry class. However, in the greater context, science is about collaborative learning, communication of research, and an ultimate enthusiasm for the subject material," said Karen Levy, 2007 Amgen Scholar who is from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and participated at Columbia University. "A program like Amgen Scholars is so important for anyone considering a career in science because it exposes them to advances in scientific knowledge that do not come from a textbook."
In 2007, the program's first year, 238 undergraduate students were selected as Amgen Scholars from approximately 1,700 applicants. Throughout the summer program, the Amgen Scholars were given the opportunity to participate in a variety of university-based research projects, gain hands-on lab experience and contribute to the advancement of science while working under some of the nation's top academic scientists. Additionally, students attended a three-day symposium in California to discuss their summer research projects, hear firsthand from leading scientists in academia and industry, and learn about drug discovery and development.
"With the Amgen Scholars program, we challenge undergraduates from across the nation to immerse themselves in the real world of research and to experience first-hand what it takes to contribute to the advancement of knowledge," said Jean J. Lim, president of the Amgen Foundation.
Each of the 10 participating host universities is charged with selecting approximately 25 participants from both their own student body, as well as from other accredited four-year colleges and universities in the United States (U.S.), Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories. While each host university has its own application, all require an official transcript with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above, a letter of recommendation and a personal statement or essay. Students can apply to as many host universities as they like, with all applications due by Feb. 1, 2008.
Financial support for students is a critical component of the program which aims to ensure that eligible students, regardless of their financial status, are able to participate. Please note that details vary by host university.
Amgen Foundation's 10 host universities for the Amgen Scholars program are California Institute of Technology; Columbia University/Barnard College; Howard University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; University of California, San Francisco; and University of Washington.
MIT, which has long been at the forefront of undergraduate research programming, serves as the national program office and plays a leading role in the coordination, technical oversight and student outreach for the program.
About the Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation (www.amgen.com/citizenship/overview.html) seeks to advance science education; improve patient access to quality care; and strengthen the communities where Amgen staff members live and work. Since 1991, the Foundation has made more than $85 million in grants to local, regional, and national nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. It has also supported disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology -- a coeducational, privately endowed research university -- is dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. The Institute has more than 900 faculty and 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It is organized into five schools: Architecture and Urban Planning; Engineering; Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; Sloan School of Management; and Science.
For more information about Amgen Scholars or an application, please visit www.amgenscholars.com.
Kristen Davis, 805-447-3008
Pamela Dumas Serfes, 617-253-2700