A Look at the 2013 MIT Amgen Scholars Program

Sara Nelson, Director, MIT Amgen Scholars Program, UAAP

Bring together twenty-five high-achieving undergraduates from colleges and universities across the country with a passion for research and an interest to pursue a career in the science and biotechnology areas and what do you get? The 2013 MIT Amgen Scholars!

Summer 2013 Amgen Scholar, Kayla Brown (center), a senior at Columbus State University in Georgia, conducted research in the lab of Prof. J. Troy Littleton (left) and was supervised by graduate student Meg Krench (right), a 2008 MIT Amgen Scholar alum.

This summer, the MIT Amgen-UROP Scholars Program hosted nine MIT undergraduates and sixteen visiting students from 16 different universities and colleges, from small liberal arts schools to large research institutions including Messiah College, University of Pennsylvania, Tulane, and the University of Montana. Participation in the program allowed Scholars to delve into world-class scientific research and for some of the Scholars, it was their first research experience.

In addition to conducting full-time faculty-mentored research, Scholars participated in workshops on how to fund their graduate education and creating a scientific poster; attended MIT faculty-led presentations; as well as attended the national Amgen Scholars Symposium in Los Angeles and Thousand Oaks, California. The Symposium brought together all ten US Amgen Scholars Program sites (approximately 250 Scholars) for a two-day research symposium featuring talks from scientists in academia and industry, networking opportunities, and other opportunities to learn more about careers in science and biotechnology and engage with their peers and future colleagues.

Summer 2013 Amgen Scholar, David Han (left), MIT Class of 2014, Brain & Cognitive Sciences, in lab with his direct supervisor, graduate student Timothy Mark O’Shea and Faculty Supervisor, Institute Professor, Robert Langer.

Outside the lab, workshops, and presentations, Scholars spent time living together in Burton Connor and getting to know each other and the Cambridge/Boston area. Scholars coordinated group dinners around Boston (including the North End); camped out on the Boston Harbor Islands; and they even went out swing dancing on multiple occasions!

The summer program concluded with a poster session on August 9th in which all 25 Scholars presented scientific posters on their summer research projects. Approximately 100 MIT faculty, staff, students, and even Scholars’ family from across the country, attended the poster session to learn more about the Scholars’ projects.

This summer concluded the seventh year of the Amgen Scholars Program. MIT has now hosted 188 students as part of the MIT Amgen-UROP Scholars Program. Many of our Amgen Scholar alums have gone on to pursue graduate degrees in science and biotechnology here at MIT and some have even worked with and directly supervised Amgen Scholars while graduate students.

Applications for the summer 2014 program will become available November 1, 2013.