Fitchburg State University will launch a community of research fellows mentored by faculty this fall with a newly-announced grant from the Moderna Charitable Foundation.
The university’s Biology and Chemistry Department will lead the effort, targeting traditionally underserved populations to engage students in mentorship and high-impact practices as an undergraduate research community. Students will also be paid stipends for their time in the program.
“We are grateful for the support of the Moderna Charitable Foundation for this initiative that will lead to meaningful educational experiences for our students,” Fitchburg State President Richard S. Lapidus said. “The faculty mentorship and instruction that is built into this program will encourage student success while fostering the next generation of researchers.”
“We are grateful for funding that allows us to expand our capacity to mentor students through a unique, powerful program, supporting students’ skill development, career exploration, and financial needs,” said Fitchburg State Dean of Health and Natural Sciences Jennifer Hanselman.
The program is designed to help students navigate a post-COVID higher education landscape by increasing the retention and graduation rates of traditionally underserved populations.
Receiving a stipend and academic credit, the student research fellows will work 10 hours per week, receiving one-on-one mentorship and instruction on cutting-edge techniques in their fields of interest.
Participating students will be paired with a faculty mentor to conduct credit-bearing research. The students in the program will be paid for all aspects of their work, including performing experiments in the lab, analyzing data, preparing for weekly presentations, and career development activities.
At the end of the Spring 2024 semester, the 12 students in the inaugural cohort will present their work at the university’s annual Undergraduate Conference for Research and Creative Practice, as well as a statewide research conference.