2018 Summer Research Fellowship Program
This program was developed with the goals of encouraging COS faculty to engage students from nontraditional pathways in undergraduate research, creating a supportive community of faculty mentors, and developing a culture where research is attractive to and inclusive of all individuals.
Led by co-director, Dina Newman and research strand leader, Lea Vacca Michel, the focus of this strand is to engage faculty in discussions about identifying, recruiting, and mentoring a diverse student population in their research, in and out of the lab. A cohort of ten faculty mentors met biweekly throughout the academic year 2017-18 to discuss issues of belonging, identity, communication, and community building. Several workshops were facilitated by RIT notables, including Dr. Chris Hinesley (Q Center, Women's and Gender Studies program) , Sharitta Gross-Smith (Multicultural Center for Academic Success), and Marykatherine Woodson (RIT Student Affairs).
In the spring of 2018, seven student fellows joined the program. Paired with faculty mentors for 10 weeks of dedicated and directed research, the IE student fellows conducted lab experiments, gathered data, shared research findings, and attended professional workshops and social events with their mentors and peers. What evolved from those pairings turned out to be highly positive and fruitful for both mentors and mentees. These experiences highlighted the benefits of involving students from nontraditional paths in STEM research. The summer program invited the students to share past experiences, inquire about research skills and opportunities in STEM fields, and grow confidence in their own research abilities. The summer experience culminated with all seven fellows presenting either research posters or oral seminars at the 2018 RIT Undergraduate Research Symposium.