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University of Illinois awarded National Science Foundation grant to mentor Latino students
Date:12/8/2010

Four cohorts of "New Biology Fellows" will receive one-year research experiences in quantitative biology and informatics starting in the summer of 2011 and continuing through 2015. Each cohort consists of seven college sophomore and junior students that have completed at least one introductory biology and one introductory math course from a Hispanic-serving institution in Illinois, including Northeastern Illinois University, Morton College, Triton College, Harry S Truman College, Waubonsee Community College, Wilbur Wright College and U of I.

"We plan to create a permanent pipeline to help students in two-year programs move on to a four-year program and eventually pursue graduate degrees at the U of I," Rodriguez Zas said.

To facilitate this process, students will receive $15,000 fellowships for their research and academic work for one year at the U of I studying a topic of their choice. Topics include plant and animal bioinformatics, quantitative genetics and plant breeding, statistical genomics, architecture of complex traits, food nanotechnology, biological system modeling, and statistics for agriculture.

"We want to enhance the pool of multicultural and multidisciplinary scientists and professionals by offering experiential learning opportunities, as well as academic and career development activities," Villamil said.

The experience will include a 12-week, intensive, summer research immersion experience, a mentor-guided academic year of research, and an optional second summer internship experience.

"This could be life-changing," Villamil said. "Not only can this experience increase a student's chances to find their dream job or be accepted into graduate college, but they can also learn the latest techniques and gain valuable academic and leadership skills from some of the leading scientists in the country."

An important component of this program includes guidance on how to deal with the expected barriers
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Contact: Jennifer Shike
jshike@illinois.edu
217-244-0888
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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