The three-day symposium is a key component of the Amgen Scholars Program, a $27.5 million initiative that provides undergraduates the opportunity for hands-on research at some of the world's leading universities. During the symposium, hosted by the Amgen Foundation in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), students shared their summer research projects and heard firsthand from leading industry and academic scientists.
"More than ever before, we need to prepare and inspire the next generation of scientists to ensure the future of innovative discoveries," said Jean J. Lim, president of the Amgen Foundation. "The Amgen Foundation is committed to leading the way for the Amgen Scholars to learn about the many different scientific career paths available to them."
The 2009 Amgen Scholars, who have an average GPA of 3.73 were selected from more than 4,000 applications to participate in the Amgen Scholars U.S. Program and attend the mid-summer symposium. Under the mentorship of faculty members, the students - representing 136 schools from across 39 states and territories - are exploring areas of research beyond what they may be able to do as part of their regular undergraduate education.
"The Amgen Scholars Program is quickly becoming one of the most competitive summer research programs in the country," said Christopher M. Jones, director of the Amgen Scholars U.S. program office at MIT. "We are excited to see the Amgen Scholars alumni go on to pursue doctorates at leading universities and being selected for premier fellowships including Rhodes Scholarships."
Presentations during the symposium included talks on the drug discovery and development process and discussion of the many career options in academia and industry for scientists with a doctorate. Amgen Scholars also had the opportunity to network with academic and industry scientists and their peers.
"The Amgen Scholars Program gave me a realistic sense of what being a scientist is," said Janelle Ruiz, 2008 Amgen Scholar from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles who participated in the program at the University of Washington. "I discovered that a career in science is something that I should seriously consider."
In the U.S., Amgen Foundation's 10 host 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 U.S. 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.
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.
In 2008, the Amgen Foundation announced the expansion of Amgen Scholars to Europe. The initial expansion of Amgen Scholars to Europe is a $2.5 million, two-year pilot program that will provide research experience for students interested in pursuing a graduate degree and a career in science. The three European university partners are the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, Karolinska Institute in Sweden and Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich in Germany. In September, the Amgen Scholars Europe Symposium will be held at Cambridge, which also serves as the European coordinating center 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 $130 million in grants to nonprofit organizations throughout the United States, Puerto Rico and Europe that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways, and those that provide disaster relief efforts both domestically and internationally.
For more information about Amgen Scholars or an application, please visit www.amgenscholars.com.
Kristen Davis, (805) 447-3008