GWSTEM Undergraduate Research Honors Program
The Global Women in STEM and Policy Undergraduate Research Training Honors Program (GWSTEM URTP) trains cohorts of undergraduate women to conduct basic and applied research in both the sciences and social sciences -with a focus on global and interdisciplinary approaches. This program is a reflection of the Mount’s mission and strategic plan to empower women, engage in a global environment, and increase undergraduate research opportunities.
Several MSMU faculty-members, who were all engaged in cancer research, policy and/or comparative research, created an interdisciplinary working group that endeavors to study women’s cancer care, prevention, and policy in global context. From the identification of anti-cancer properties and effects of natural products on mammalian cell viability to the measurement of system- and policy-level barriers to women’s health care access in various locations across the globe, this team is engaged in a robust research agenda. In light of this, we designed the GWSTEM Honors Program to support research training for women in STEM and Policy. The program also includes a robust Women and Leadership component.
Research Training in both STEM and Policy. Opportunities for Professional Conference presentations. Engage in Summer Fieldwork Abroad.
“My experience during this trip exceeded my expectations. I didn’t just learn some research skills or the basis of Andean/Quechuan culture in relation to cancer incidence and traditional remedies; I was able to truly understand and even relate to fundamental indigenous beliefs that without a doubt influence how rural communities seek medical attention. The connection between nature, the spirit, and the highlands was evident in the healing ceremony and (as crazy as it might sound) traveling throughout the Cusco region made me feel it too. It’s not hard to see why the Incas worshipped the mountains and the sun and I think this kind of personal understanding is important to understanding the healthcare situation in Peru and other places where some indigenous or traditional beliefs may prevail.
[…] This is something I could not have possibly learned from reading, photos, or videos and it is surely something that will greatly contribute to any paper that is written from this research and any future research that I choose to undertake.” – Samantha Herrador '18
Numbers to Date
- Three cohorts either completed or in progress. Cohort 4 in progress
- Two fieldwork trips to Cusco,Peru
- One fieldwork trip to Udaipur, India
- Cohort 4 traveling to Salta, Argentina Summer 2020
- 58 students (either completed or in progress)
- 49 SCURR presentations
- 34 professional conference presentations, and counting!
- 34 completed a women's leadership module and counting!
- All students trained in Human Subjects Ethics
- Acceptances to top graduate programs in STEM and Policy including: PhD in Biology - University of Rochester, PhD in Pharmacology at Brown, MS in Public Health at Claremont, MS in Public Health at USC’s Keck School of Medicine, MS in Public Health at UC Irvine, MS in Public Health at UC San Diego, and MS in Public Health at Baylor University
2019-2020 Student Award Winners
- Samantha Vasquez '21 won the SCCUR award for best poster presentation in the Sustainability category.
- Estela Delgado Rodriquez '20 won for the best poster in Humanities and Social Sciences.
Student & Faculty Testimonials
“This project definitely drew me out of my comfort zone. But it also forced me to look at things from outside my spectrum, and that led me to find my new passion for policy and public health. If I hadn’t applied to this program, I don’t think I would have been as confident in applying to graduate schools for a master’s in public health, let alone toying with the idea of getting my PhD."
I’ve always wanted to go into the medical-field, but I had no idea how much this journey to Peru was going to affect me. I’ve learned that there is so much more to healthcare than the medical component alone– cultural context, family and work issues, access to care, pain management, the level of trust patients need to have. This program opened my eyes to new pathways to pursue. Having the political and social context from class helped us frame our surveys and present our questions in a respectful, informed manner. There’s so much we can learn from listening, and learning from what’s going on in people’s lives that can affect their health and their treatment. Understanding that proved to be so important when we were in Peru.
Rigorous, original research helps students develop critical thinking skills, learn how to troubleshoot problems and persevere when things don’t work out the first time around. Those are the skills that employers, grad programs and medical schools are looking for. Those are also the skills that give our students the confidence to dream big.
Our goal with this project is to increase the number of women entering, and excelling, in the fields of STEM, public policy, and behavioral and social sciences. We also want to make sure this is a sustainable model to expand global research opportunities for both students and faculty. The beauty of the program is that it works for student and faculty research. For students thinking about grad school, this program offers evidence that they can do original research independently and collaboratively. For professors, it’s tough to teach year-round, develop courses, support students and find time for research. With this program, we can teach students how to do original research, and in the process collect data for our own work.
Meet our two research assistants from GWSTEM cohort four!
- April Chagoya
’20 HealthCare Policy and Spanish Translation
- Estela Delgado Rodriguez
’20 HealthCare Policy
We are proud to announce that this Fall, April Chagoya is headed to a graduate program in Public Health at UC Irvine, and Estela Delgado Rodriguez will begin a public health graduate program at UC San Diego!