For some college students, the summer months are a brief respite from arduous study and rigorous classroom assignments. However, more than 60 Claflin University scholars in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics are conducting prodigious, results-driven research that will increase their chances of securing career opportunities and admission to prestigious universities, professional schools and laboratories. The students are participating in more than a dozen STEM-related research programs at Claflin or other locations. Their research includes cancer, autism, molecular level, organic and inorganic chemistry, robotics, cyber security and other subjects.
“Our research scholars receive financial support from National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Nuclear Security Administration, Savannah River Site and several other federal and independent agencies,” said Dr. Verlie Tisdale, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. “Some of the researchers at Claflin are supported by institutional funds through the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.”
The University’s commitment to increasing experiential learning opportunities aligns with one of the goals of Claflin’s Strategic Plan: Claflin LEADS: A Shared Vision for the 21st Century. Claflin’s research efforts are consistent with the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI), a $6 million cluster grant funded by UNCF through the Lilly Foundation to improve student employment outcomes and prepare graduates at Claflin, Benedict College and Voorhees College for high-paying careers in the 21st Century workforce.
The on-campus projects utilize Claflin’s state-of-the-art facilities and equipment at the Molecular Science Research Center and James S. Thomas Science Center. All research is supervised by 18 faculty mentors and the students were required to complete Lab Safety training with certified trainers. Claflin is supporting external research internships for students involved in studies at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Norfolk State University, Clemson University and the University of Iowa.
“Claflin is also supporting the partial expenses for students interning with the NIH RISE Research, Medical Experience (MedEx) Academy, Florida Medical Entomology Laboratory, Weill Cornell/Rockefeller/Sloan-Kettering Gateways to the Laboratory Program, and Medical University of South Carolina MUSC,” said Tisdale.
MedEx Academy is a unique program that was created to increase interest among young people to pursue careers in health care. The Academy’s goal is to make health professions accessible to students from diverse cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.
“These internships provide our students exposure in professional environments and helps them develop their skills and knowledge as researchers,” said Tisdale. “We are extremely proud of what our students have accomplished and Claflin’s growing reputation in STEM research.”