Undergraduate research on the rise at RIT

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Marissa Schroeter chose RIT for its scientific expertise and the opportunity to join a research lab during her first semester. Now, Schroeter, a fourth-year Biomedical Science and Biotechnology and Molecular Sciences double major, splits her time as a student researcher in labs located at the College of Health Sciences and Technology and the College of Science.

Her mentors, André Hudson, director of the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences, and Bolaji Thomas, professor of biomedical sciences, helped her grow as a young scientist.

“I gained much of my hands-on laboratory skills from Dr. Hudson and working in his lab. He’s always in the lab asking what you’re doing today and if you have any questions,” Schroeter said. “Dr. Thomas has given me a unique perspective on the direction of my career. He challenges me to think about where I’m going to be in the future rather than where I am right now. He’s really great at help me move forward.

With the help of strong mentors, undergraduate scholars like Schroeter cultivate critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills. Research can help students synthesize the concepts they have learned in their lessons to create something new.

Many RIT undergraduates conduct independent research at the level normally experienced in graduate school, giving them an edge over their peers at other universities, according to Ryne Raffaelle, RIT’s vice president for research and associate provost. .

And the experience these students gain working alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty mentors is an important part of their education.

Research adds value to an undergraduate education and denotes a healthy university. RIT’s growth as a research university is the result of increased federal grant funding, which, in turn, creates research opportunities for students, Raffaelle said.

“A cornerstone of the 2025 strategic plan, Greatness Through Difference, is the concept of being a student-centred research university,” said Raffaelle. “An important metric for us as a university is the number of students attending our annual undergraduate research symposium. The good news is that this number continues to grow steadily.

The College of Health Sciences and Technology supported Schroeter’s research with a summer undergraduate research fellowship that allowed him to work collaboratively on a project looking for new antibiotic compounds produced by lake bacteria. Ontario.

She presented her findings at the 2020-2021 Online Undergraduate Research Symposium, joining peers from the Henrietta Campus, RIT International Colleges in Dubai and Croatia, and students participating in the Student Research Experience of undergraduate hosted at RIT. Schroeter
also presented new data at the annual conference on biomedical research for minority students in November.

Schroeter relies on the feedback and professional advice of her mentors when applying to the PhD and MD/PhD programs. His goal is to become a doctor-researcher.

Another sign that undergraduate research is on the rise at RIT is the Undergraduate Research Scholars Award, first presented at the 2021 Launch Ceremony. RIT recognized 40 members of the inaugural class of undergraduate scholars . The award highlighted their achievements and reinforced the importance given
in undergraduate research at RIT.

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