Opportunities to Work Alongside Faculty – B3 REU Program

by Edgar Llivisupa

As part of a faculty initiative lead by director Dr. David Jeruzalmi, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, B3 (Biophysics, Biochemistry and Biodesign) is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program offering the opportunity to contribute to investigations underway at City College over the summer.

Applicants are not limited to only City College students, but also CUNY community colleges students looking to transfer to a 4-year campus and non-CUNY students looking to explore working alongside academics. About 40% of students attends outside of CUNY. College graduates are ineligible to apply and only one award is permitted per undergraduate career.

To apply, interested students must include a statement of research interests, career goals and three research groups they would like to match with. Typically, they are either college sophomores or juniors, but freshman who have completed some science coursework are also considered. Selected participants are assigned to a faculty mentor from the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Biology Department, Physics Department, CUNY School of Medicine and the Grove School of Engineering based on their interests shown on their application. They are also connected with either a doctoral student or post doctorate researcher, somebody who is closer in age to the participant but higher in academic rank.

Responsibilities vary amongst participants as tasks are assigned based on the research laboratory they are embedded in. They could be recording, annotating, or analyzing data on a computer or laboratory bench. Some students have been coauthors in research papers.

After completing the program and undergraduate degree, many participants have gone to medical and graduate school.

What matters more is that they get to see how this is operating and if it turns out that somebody is placed in a chemistry lab but then I inspire them to go into neuroscience, I consider myself to have succeeded.

The program, now in its 4th year of operation, is funded by the National Science Foundation. The 2021 REU offering runs from June 1, 2021, to August 6, 2021. A weekly $600 stipend is provided.

2019 Participants

Other aspects to the program involve occasional meetings where participants share lunch, get to network and talking about their work. There are also formal lectures on topics like responsible conduct of research and chemical safety, in addition to a pair of readings over the summer.

I would encourage them to try to conduct research anywhere, locally if they can, if not go away. Several colleagues, including myself, feel strongly that a good part of an undergraduate experience is to work directly with faculty on a problem that would involve attention to detail, critical thinking, data analyzing and presenting. Even if one never does any science or research for the rest of their life these skills are important to have for the workforce.

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