UAAP Hosts Second Annual Amgen-UROP Scholars Program

By Michael Bergren, Associate Dean, Academic and Research Initiatives, UAAP

In June 2008, the UAAP kicked off year two of its Amgen- UROP Scholars Program. Introduced in 2007 and funded by the Amgen Foundation, the Program recruits undergraduates interested in science and biotechnology, and places them in MIT laboratories to conduct summer research with MIT faculty. Thirteen of this year’s Scholars were MIT students, while fifteen were recruited from universities around the country, including Duke, Winston- Salem State, Cornell, Texas Tech, University of Hawaii, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In total, almost four hundred applications from interested students were received, more than twice the amount received for the 2007 program.

This year’s Amgen Scholars enjoyed a robust summer schedule. In addition to participating in research projects, gaining lab experience, and connecting with faculty, Scholars participated in several educational programs. The schedule included a series of lunches where faculty presented on their research and discussed their careers; this year’s series featured Profs. Jeffrey Karp (HST), Kristala Prather (Chemical Engineering), and Sangeeta Bhatia (HST). In addition, an MIT writing instructor led weekly workshops aimed at guiding Amgen Scholars in preparing scientific abstracts and posters.

The summer’s main highlight was participation in the Amgen Scholars Program National Symposium, where student participants from all ten host universities (including MIT) convened at UCLA to take part in lectures, workshops, and discussion groups focused on research and careers in the biological areas. The symposium offered our students a valuable opportunity to network with well-established researchers and drug development professionals, as well as more than 200 fellow Scholars from around the country. The MIT Program ended on August 8 with a poster session in Lobby 13, where all twenty-eight Scholars presented posters and discussed their research with a steady stream of student, staff, and faculty visitors.

Recruitment for the 2009 Amgen-UROP Scholars Program has already begun; the Program will begin accepting applications on October 31.

For more information on the MIT Program, see http://web.mit.edu/urop/amgenscholars/index.html.
For more information on the national Amgen Scholars Program, see http://www.amgenscholars.com.