Ali Skooti: University of the South Pacific – Fiji Islands

 Ali Skooti:
University of the South Pacific – Fiji Islands

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What was the preliminary process like when deciding to study abroad? What impact did your program of study have on your decision?

Im a senior pre-dental biology major and business minor. I thought about study abroad during my junior year of college and applied for both exchange and direct programs through the International Student Exchange Program (ISEP). After finishing all the paperwork and finances, I found out that I got accepted to be a direct student (which personally I think is better when it comes to housing). I started my amazing five month adventure on the 300 Island of Fiji. I worked with my biology advisor at VCU as well as the advisors at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji to make sure that all the courses I was taking would transfer back and count towards my pre-dental track. I ended up taking animal and plant physiology for my major as well as economics and financial calculus so I wouldnt waste any credits.  Originally, I had wanted to study marine biology since all the labs would have hands-on experience. Unfortunately, I didnt have the prerequisites for that course. I did, however, have the chance to meet great minds that specialize in this field while working with coral reefs; from them, I learned about coral bleaching and the increasing ocean temperature due to global warming.

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What program and destination did you choose and why?

Any type of travel and any country you decide to go to will be a lifelong experience full of people and adventures that youll never forget. Personally, I wanted to go somewhere where I could maximize these experiences and try new things for the first time.  I first learned about study abroad through one of the Global Education Offices seminars. I started looking at a list of programs that offered upper level biology courses since I was going to be studying abroad as a senior. Out of all the places that offered those biology classes in English, the University of South Pacific in Fiji was the one that stood out the most, even though it was located in the country that I knew the least about.  The only thing I knew about Fiji was that they had a highly over-priced bottled water; it turns out that this brand is the only bottled water here.  We actually were able to go to the factory to see how the water is filtered through volcanic rocks!

What classes did you take while abroad and how would you compare the experience to taking courses on campus at VCU?

The course load is structured very differently from our system back home. The labs for all the sciences, especially biology, involve a lot of field trips to farms and research centers to apply the things learned in lab to the field. I learned a great deal about coral reefs, coral bleaching and effects of global warming, and the leading research in Fiji concerning the importance of their survival.

What were your favorite things about your study abroad experience?

Waking up to fresh bananas, coconuts, and a quick morning jog to the Pacific Ocean is exactly what I dreamed about all my life. Getting the opportunity to live my dream while going to school has been the best thing to ever happen in my life. Not one student on the trip complained about getting to spend every other weekend at a screensaver resort, as we called it, for less than $15 US dollars per night.

If you want to be on an English-speaking tropical island while learning two languages at the same time (Fijian and Hindi), climb mountains that were inhibited by cannibal tribes 100 years ago, lay on endless hammocks, and dive (with no cage!) with over ten species of sharks, all while studying and learning biology or environmental studies in an interactive way, Fiji is the place to do it.

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What would you say to a student who is considering studying abroad?

My advice to students is to plan and save money early, research, and talk to people like me.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.  -Mark Twain.

Audrey Kirschner: Curtin University- Perth, Australia

Audrey Kirschner: Curtin University- Perth, Australia

What were the primary factors that influenced your decision to study abroad?

I chose to participate in study abroad simply to try something new, to visit a new place, and to see new things.

What program and destination did you choose and why?

As I began researching where to study, I realized that Australia would be perfect for me as a biology student focusing on ecology. I chose the program in Perth because I had heard that the Western Coast of Australia was one of the most bio-diverse and beautiful parts of Australia.

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What classes did you take while abroad and how would you compare them to taking courses on campus at VCU?

When signing up for classes at Curtin University, I was thrilled by the course options available. Of the multitude of options, I chose to partake in Marine Biodiversity, Conservation, Botany, and Quantitative biology. Not only did the classes sound interesting, but once I began the classes I realized they were also highly hands-on. Rather than studying for in-class exams, assignments consisted of writing on a topic or performing various field collections. Although the assignment grading was vigorous, I learned so much more from the assignments than I would have from testing. Of course not everyone is interested in ecology, but Ive heard from other students that most programs are similar in that the students are very involved and interactive in the lessons.

Although I did not partake in any research while at Curtin, I often heard of many opportunities in research. Even outside of the university, there are many opportunities to get involved in various ecological volunteering. I did get involved in volunteering and met wonderful new people through this.

For you, what were the benefits of studying abroad?

Overall, I loved my experience abroad. Not only have I learned new things I likely would not have at VCU (such as the very different flora and fauna), but I have grown more responsible from the experience. Just from being here, I have enhanced my resume and broadened my network. There is not one negative that comes along with studying abroad; it is entirely, from my point of view, a wonderful experience.

What would you say to a student who is considering studying abroad?

Its important to do that extra research as well to find a place that has the right courses for you, and even better, ones that may not be offered at home. As far as other preparations go, its important to get on it early, although I had no problems and the Global Education Office is always very helpful. All in all, studying abroad is a wonderful experience that everyone should partake, in and I would recommend it to anyone.

One thing that I would recommend to students once they go abroad is to get involved in as many things as possible. In most cases you are only here for a short time and you dont want to miss anything. I also recommend trying for a location slightly out of your comfort zone. I chose to come to Australia and although I loved it, sometimes I wish I chose a place that spoke a different language or had a completely different culture.

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VCU Division of Epidemiology – Graduate Program Open House

The VCU Division of Epidemiology in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health is holding a Graduate Programs Open House on October 21st! See flyer for more information. If interested, RSVP by this Friday 17th Oct by 4pm at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/RJPV3DG

Science Scholarships and Fellowships The UNCF*Merck Science Initiative

 

Science Scholarships andFellowships
The UNCF*Merck Science Initiativeis an innovative approach that creates opportunities in the biological, chemical and engineering sciences for African American students throughout the country.

UNDERGRADUATE
Science Research Scholarships

  • Scholarships up to $25,000
  • Internship opportunities
  • Mentoring and networking opportunities
  • Eligibility: College juniors,science or engineering majors, 3.3 GPA
  • Deadline: November 6,  2014

GRADUATE
Science Research Dissertation Fellowships

  • Fellowships up to $53,500
  • Mentoring and networkingopportunities
  • Eligibility: Ph.D. or equivalentdegree candidates engaged in Dissertation research in the biological, chemical or engineering fields
  • Deadline: December 2, 2014

POSTDOCTORAL
Science Research Fellowships

  • Fellowships up to $92,000
  • Mentoring and networkingopportunities
  • Eligibility: Ph.D. or equivalentdegree recipients in the biological, chemical or engineering fields
  • Deadline: December 2, 2014

APPLYON-LINE
http://uncf.org/umsi
Submit by December 2, 2014
T
202810 0331
F
202234 0225
E
uncfmerck@uncf.org

 

Open House for the Biomedical Sciences Master’s and Ph.D. Programs at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS)

VCU faculty and students are invited to attend an Open House for the Biomedical Sciences Master’s and Ph.D. Programs at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) in Norfolk, VA, on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 10 AM-2:30 PM.  The program will include general information about our programs, demonstrations in research laboratories and of major equipment, lunch with us, and opportunities to meet our faculty and students and learn about their research and experiences here.  These are research-oriented programs, not clinical programs. This program is part of the School of Health Professions Open House, so those interested in clinical programs can register for information sessions on the Physician Assistant, Surgical Assistant, Public Health and other programs.  In addition to our existing Research Master’s and Ph.D. Programs, in 2013 we launched a new and exciting Master’s Program in Biotechnology.  We will present information on all three programs.

Students and faculty who would like to attend should register online by October 17, atwww.evms.edu/shp-open-house.

Spit for Science seeking Undergraduate Research Assistants

Spit for Science seeking Undergraduate Research Assistants for Spring Semester – Do Research for Course Credit!

Spit for Science seeking Undergraduate Research Assistants for Spring Semester – Do Research for Course Credit!</p>
<p> SEEKING RESEARCH ASSISTANTS<br />
SPRING SEMESTER 2015<br />
CLASS MEETINGS TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS 3:50-5:20 PM </p>
<p>Spit for Science: the VCU Student Survey (www.spit4science.vcu.edu) is a university-wide research opportunity for VCU students. The goal of the project is to understand how genetic and environmental factors come together to influence a variety of health-related outcomes in the VCU undergraduate population. A big focus is on substance use and emotional health problems, such as depression, since the life stage that college students are entering is a high risk period for the onset of these problems. </p>
<p>We’re currently looking for students to be a part of the research team for Spring Semester 2015. Research assistants will be involved in recruitment, marketing, data collection and analysis, and other research activities. Students will work in teams to develop research questions and analyze Spit for Science data. Meetings will be held with different faculty involved in the project where students will review research papers and learn about topics related to the goals of the research. </p>
<p>Discussions in class, and online, will reinforce class concepts. Required class meetings will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:50-5:20 PM in the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics conference room (located in Biotech 1, 800 E. Leigh Street on the MCV campus), which can be easily reached from the Monroe Park campus via the free Campus Connector. Students at all class levels are welcome to apply. Enrollment will be for three credits (A-F grading system). If interested, please contact Dr. Amy Adkins, adkinsae@vcu.edu, for further details. The application deadline is Wednesday, October 29 at 5:00 PM.

SEEKING RESEARCH ASSISTANTS
SPRING SEMESTER 2015
CLASS MEETINGS TUESDAYS AND THURSDAYS 3:50-5:20 PM

Spit for Science: the VCU Student Survey (www.spit4science.vcu.edu) is a university-wide research opportunity for VCU students. The goal of the project is to understand how genetic and environmental factors come together to influence a variety of health-related outcomes in the VCU undergraduate population. A big focus is on substance use and emotional health problems, such as depression, since the life stage that college students are entering is a high risk period for the onset of these problems.

We’re currently looking for students to be a part of the research team for Spring Semester 2015. Research assistants will be involved in recruitment, marketing, data collection and analysis, and other research activities. Students will work in teams to develop research questions and analyze Spit for Science data. Meetings will be held with different faculty involved in the project where students will review research papers and learn about topics related to the goals of the research.

Discussions in class, and online, will reinforce class concepts. Required class meetings will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:50-5:20 PM in the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics conference room (located in Biotech 1, 800 E. Leigh Street on the MCV campus), which can be easily reached from the Monroe Park campus via the free Campus Connector. Students at all class levels are welcome to apply. Enrollment will be for three credits (A-F grading system). If interested, please contact Dr. Amy Adkins, adkinsae@vcu.edu, for further details. The application deadline is Wednesday, October 29 at 5:00 PM.

Panama Avian Ecology

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Education Abroad Scholarships

VCU Education Abroad announces the fall Education Abroad scholarship competition for students studying abroad during spring or winter of the 2014/2015 school year. The deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 15. We invite students to stop by the office in the Franklin Street Gym, Room 122 TODAY from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to learn more about the scholarship. For more information, contact Nasha Lewis at nlewis7@vcu.edu or (804) 827-7882 or visit http://global.vcu.edu/abroad/.

 

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Research Opportunities at NIH for Science Students

 

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Opportunity for Aspiring Biomedical Researchers

If you have a passion to help improve global health in the 21st century, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) seeks to train you.

Visit NIAID, one of the largest Institutes at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in early February as part of its Intramural NIAID Research Opportunities (INRO) program.

Read success stories from previous INRO participants!

Visit the NIAID Web site for the latest news and research

Who Can Apply

Check to see if you are eligible. NIAID is looking for competitive science students from populations underrepresented in science—college-level seniors, medical school students, or doctoral candidates nearing their dissertation defense.

Program Benefits

Be part of a diverse community of aspiring NIAID researchers. Join other dedicated science students like yourself for a 4-day visit to our research facility in Bethesda, Maryland, where you will:

  • Learn about our global health research from NIAID’s premiere scientists.
  • Interview with potential mentors.
  • See state-of-the-science laboratories.

The program takes place in Bethesda, Maryland, on the NIH campus, February 2–5, 2015.

If INRO sounds like your next step toward a research career in allergy, immunology, or infectious diseases, don’t wait! Applications are being accepted through October 15, 2014.


HHS Master LogoNIH NIAID Master Logo

Proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer

 

Pediatric Oncology Summer program – St Judes Hospital

We invite your best students to apply for our NIH/NCI-funded (5 R25CA023944-31) Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program <http://www.stjude.org/poe>. The program offers a unique opportunity for pre-doctoral students preparing for careers in the biomedical sciences, medicine, and pharmacy to gain biomedical and oncology research experience. Students participate in basic or clinical oncology research, research and clinical conferences, and a core lecture series designed specifically for them. All participants make a PowerPoint presentation on their research project and submit a report on their research project written in the style of a journal in which their faculty mentor publishes.

A primary goal of the POE program is to encourage students to pursue a career in cancer research. Thus, we are particularly interested in highly qualified students with a serious career interest in cancer research, either as a clinical scientist or laboratory-based research scientist.

Prior research experience is required for all applicants. The POE 2014 class average undergraduate GPA was 3.80. In 2014, 51 students from 39 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia were selected from 500 applicants. POEs must be United States citizens, non-citizen nationals, or possess a visa permitting permanent residence in the United States (required by the funding agency). All must have completed at least their college sophomore year by the time they participate. Medical students spend a minimum of 9 weeks in the program. The minimum tenure requirement for all others is 11 weeks (10 weeks for returning students). All POE applicants must have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.40 (on a 4.0 scale) in math and science (biology,  chemistry, and physics) and at least a 3.40 overall. The remuneration is $4,000. Fully furnished group housing adjacent to our campus is provided at no cost for non- local participants.

The POE home page <http://www.stjude.org/poe> contains links to the program application. The deadline for receipt of all 2015 application materials is February 1, 2015. Early application is highly recommended, since we make some early placements.  Letters of recommendation sent as PDF attachments to email are requested. Members of under-represented ethnic minority groups and women are particularly encouraged to apply, since one of our major long-term program goals is to increase the diversity of persons engaged in oncology research and practice. Our NIH/NCI-funded (2 P30CA021765-34S1) Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) grant provides remuneration for additional undergraduate under-represented minority POE Program participants.

I would appreciate your sharing this information with your top students and interested colleagues. Thank you for your time!

Suzanne Gronemeyer, PhD
Director, Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program
Associate Director, Academic Programs
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
262 Danny Thomas Place
Memphis, TN 38105-3678

suzanne.gronemeyer@stjude.org
http://www.stjude.org/poe
http://www.stjude.org/Gronemeyer

PS I advise students to apply for several programs, since most programs get many more well-qualified applicants than they can place. Many fine internship opportunities are listed on <http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/preprof/summerprogs.html>, <http://www.asbmb.org/summerresearch/> and <http://people.rit.edu/gtfsbi/Symp/premed.htm>. Another option may be <http://www.fhcrc.org/en/careers/internship-opportunities.html> or <http://medicine.yale.edu/education/omca/summer/biostep/index.aspx>. Graduating seniors may want to look into post baccalaureate programs such as <https://www.training.nih.gov/programs/postbac_irta>. Current medical students may be interested in <http://www.chla.org/site/c.ipINKTOAJsG/b.4434829/k.8F5A/Summer_Oncology_Fellowship.htm>,  < https://www.roswellpark.edu/education/summer-programs/medical/dental/pa-students>, or one of the many listings on <http://msa.medicine.iu.edu/financial-aid/summer-opportunities>.

Everything you need to know about studying a BS in Biology at VCU