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Melissa Pineda '02 gives advice on selecting doctoral programs in the sciences during a MARC speaker series event held in November.

Science Speaker Series Opens New Doors for Students

Feb. 25, 2011 -- The National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers program at the Mount brings dynamic speakers to the College every month to inspire and mentor underrepresented science students. On Feb. 24, the speaker series continued with Lambert Doezema, an associate professor of chemistry at Loyola Marymount University. The event was open to all students, faculty and staff.

The Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program provides support and research training for students who are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences to improve their preparation for high-caliber graduate training. The speaker series provides a platform for minority scientists and educators to serve as role models, share their success stories and expose students to the most current research. Several guest speakers have been former MARC students and Mount alums. Kristine Becker Jensen '97 is slated to speak in March.

“It’s inspirational for our MARC students to see researchers who look like them,” says Afsane Arvand, director of the MARC program and associate professor of biology at the College. “But it’s also important that they gain the practical knowledge they need as a trainee.”

The National Institutes of Health has awarded MARC grants to the Mount for the past two decades to help underrepresented students studying the sciences realize their educational and professional goals. In addition to the speaker series, the grant provides MARC scholars with mentoring and research training, tuition support, research supplies, and funds to attend national and state science conferences.

“The Mount strongly feels that our MARC students need special training and mentoring before they go on to pursue their research doctorates,” says Arvand. “The heart of the program is enabling our MARC students to work with our faculty to practice research at an advanced level.”

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