New Grant Prepares Undergraduate Students for Biomedical Careers

Walking through the hallways of the Petit Science Center this summer you might pass a classroom or laboratory filled with a rare group of students, students excited to be spending their summer break immersed in scientific research. 

Thanks to a new five-year grant awarded to Kyle Frantz and Geert de Vries of Neuroscience along with their collaborators, these students are spending their summer in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Program (IMSD) funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

“I wouldn’t get a chance like this if this program wasn’t available and neither would other students,” said neuroscience rising senior Jillian Dawson. “I’m so excited and everyone here is super excited to learn. It’s nice to be around people like me.”

IMSD is a program dedicated to developing academic, research and professional skills at research-intensive institutions. The ultimate goal of the program is to promote access to biomedical careers, especially for students from underrepresented groups. IMSD achieves this goal by recruiting strong students into scientific majors, offering research internships and welcoming new researchers into the scientific community.

“The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development offers a fantastic opportunity for our students to get involved in cutting-edge scientific research with our faculty members,” Frantz said.

The primary focus of IMSD at Georgia State is to engage students in a two-year research immersion and integration program, all while coaching students through a series of professional development workshops and creating a supportive academic environment for students looking to pursue graduate careers.

“Undergraduate research has immense potential for launching successful scientific research careers, any career related to science or in fact just training the world’s critical thinkers of tomorrow,” Frantz said. “The IMSD program goes beyond basic research skills to encourage and facilitate development of professional soft skills in communication, networking, ethics and more.”

Students in the IMSD program meet weekly for professional development workshops taught by Frantz and Elizabeth Weaver of the Neuroscience Institute. Frantz, Weaver and several other guest speakers will cover topics such as professional communication, CV/ resume preparation and career awareness.

Incoming freshman Rachel Beaumont is excited to jumpstart her academic career through the IMSD program.

“It’s a different and new experience, working with college students instead of high school students,” she said. “Everyone is older than me so working with more advanced peers is exciting. I’ve already learned so much.”

The two-month, summer program will end Aug. 3, 2016 with a closing research symposium where students will present their summer research. Summer students may reapply to continue their internships throughout the academic year.

IMSD at Georgia State accepts biology, chemistry, neuroscience and psychology undergraduate students. The fall application for the program will be released soon.