Annual Symposium Offered Opportunity to Meet Peers and Leading Scientists; Discuss Hands-On Summer Research Projects
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (July 21, 2008) -- From July 19-21, nearly 250 undergraduate students from across the country gathered at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) to share their summer research projects and gain insight into how scientific research can translate into the discovery and development of important drugs for patients.
The experience is part of the second annual Amgen Scholars National Symposium hosted by the Amgen Foundation in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The symposium is a component of the Amgen Scholars Program, an eight-year $25 million initiative that provides undergraduates from across the country the opportunity for hands-on research at 10 of the nation"s premier universities. Under the mentorship of faculty members, students explore areas of research beyond what they may be able to do as part of their regular undergraduate education.
Students who attended the three-day symposium discussed their summer research projects and heard firsthand from leading industry and academic scientists as well as attended a keynote address from Amgen Chairman and CEO Kevin Sharer.
"I am proud of the Amgen Foundation"s leadership in advancing science education through its investment in the Amgen Scholars Program," said Sharer. "This research program can help prepare undergraduate students to be leaders in science and innovation."
Presentations during the symposium included a discussion of the many career options in academia and industry for scientists with a Ph.D., talks on the drug discovery and development process, and a panel discussion with Amgen Scholars alumni. Amgen Scholars also had the opportunity to network with their peers and faculty mentors.
"This year"s Amgen Scholars bring to the program an extraordinary level of accomplishment," said Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, which also serves as the Amgen Scholars national program office. "What the program delivers in return is a gateway, a unique opportunity to explore their full potential through the rigors and rewards of hands-on scientific research."
The 250 undergraduate students were selected from more than 2,300 applicants from accredited four-year colleges and universities to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program and attend a mid-summer symposium. Some facts about this class of Amgen Scholars include:
-- They represent 120 colleges and universities
-- They are from 35 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico
-- The majority (56 percent) of them are female
-- Their majors range from biology to neuroscience to psychology to chemistry
"In the second year of Amgen Scholars, we saw a 40 percent increase in applicants compared to the first year of the program," said Jean J. Lim, president of the Amgen Foundation. "The Amgen Foundation is excited to see the desire of some of the brightest undergraduate students to engage in these unique research opportunities."
Amgen Foundation"s 10 partner universities for the Amgen Scholars Program are California Institute of Technology; Columbia University/Barnard College; Howard University; MIT; Stanford University; University of California, Berkeley; UCLA; 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.
Each Amgen Scholars institution is in charge of selecting approximately 25 participants from both its 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 program site has its own application process, 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 sites as they choose, with all applications due by February 1, 2009.
Financial support for students is a critical component of the program, which seeks to ensure that eligible students, regardless of their financial status, are able to participate.
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 nearly $110 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
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