The NSCI has a long, rich history of hosting high school and college students during the summer to gain valuable hands-on stem cell research experience. Students all around the Capital District, and sometimes out of state, come to investigate problems in the areas of stem cell biology, spinal cord injury, and development of therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases. Students receive mentorship from principal investigators and post-doctoral fellows on methodology and research techniques, so they gain a better understanding of how to perform experiments with scientific rigor. As the head of the summer research program for many years, lab manager of research Susan Goderie says of the importance of student internships: “Exposing young people to a working research laboratory, even if only for one summer, may inspire them to change his or her educational goals towards a research track that they may never have known existed prior to the internship.”
This year, twelve students participated in summer research at the NSCI, representing schools including Fonda and Bethlehem High Schools, the Academy of the Holy Names, and Emma Willard, as well as the University of Rochester and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Taylor Bertucci organized a research seminar for the students to present the findings from their projects. We had a wonderful morning of presentations spanning bioinformatics tool development, spinal cord injury research, stem cell modeling of neurodegenerative diseases and more.
The NSCI would like to acknowledge the many mentors who spend their time with young, budding scientists. Without the mentors, we wouldn’t be able to support so many students every year. “I think it’s important to teach high school and college students about the process of research; that there are lots of questions we just don’t have the answers to. Not everything can be found in a textbook, that’s why we do our work. That’s the point I really like making to students,” said Dr. Kate Tubbesing.
Congratulations to all the summer students for their fantastic work and presentations! And thank you to the mentors for supporting curious young minds!