Students Awarded Summer Research Scholarships
Melissa Gillick ’19C and Noor Muzammal ’19C are the first students to receive the Clare Boothe Luce Undergraduate Summer Research Scholarship at St. John’s University. They were awarded $3,800 each, with an additional $1,000 for professional development and supplies.
“The first time I heard about this, I knew it would be an amazing opportunity,” noted Melissa, who is majoring in biology.
The scholarship is an outgrowth of the University’s Women in Science Scholarship Program, which encourages women to pursue collegiate studies in the sciences and technology—areas in which women historically are underrepresented. The Clare Booth Luce (CBL) Scholarship Program at St. John’s supports women graduate and undergraduate students who major in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physical science, or toxicology.
The University’s Women in Science Board and the Office of Grants and Sponsored Research (OGSR) collaborated in developing the initiative. “Through funds made available by the Henry Luce Foundation, we were able to create and implement an undergraduate summer scholarship program,” noted Jared Littman, M.P.A., Director, Office of Grants and Sponsored Research.
He added, “The foundation loved the idea, and with their approval the scholarship was awarded this summer to two female undergraduate students. Next summer, we hope to provide five or six of these scholarships. It’s a great opportunity for experiential learning and performing research that will increase their knowledge, strengthen their skills, and advance their careers.”
The program ran approximately eight weeks. “The scholarship allowed me to stay in the area for the summer—and I love New York, so it worked out perfectly,” Melissa added, noting that she researched the function of long noncoding RNAs in fruit flies. Her faculty mentor was Christopher W. Bazinet, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Biological Sciences.
Noor, a biology and physics major, conducted her research on nuclear fusion alongside Charles Fortmann, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Physics. “I was looking for a summer internship in my field to give me a sense of what kind of jobs I would be suited for,” she noted. “I’m always doing research, and this scholarship enabled me to focus solely on that for the summer.”
The scholarship is one of the first initiatives coming out of the University’s Research Opportunity Center (ROC), which was created in 2016 by the OGSR in coordination with the Office of the Provost to provide students with more research opportunities.
The ROC is located in the main lobby of the D’Angelo Center, where an interactive touch screen allows students to access all available research opportunities. “We encourage students to make use of this resource,” said Mr. Littman. “We are committed to the University’s mission and strategic priorities to ensure student success.”