October 02, 2009
You’ve graduated with your B.S in Science, walked across
the stage at graduation and now you’re on your way to becoming a
researcher, scientist or M.D---but how do you gain research
experience for doctoral-level programs? St. John’s University’s Robert
E. McNair Scholars program has the answer.
St. John’s talented McNair scholars, Shaness Grenald and
Egberanmwen Ode love research, which is beneficial since they were
chosen from numerous applicants to fill two of the five most
sought-after slots in the distinguished Bridge
to Ph.D Program at Columbia University.
The fellowship seeks to enhance a participant’s candidacy for
acceptance into post-graduate programs in the natural sciences
through extensive research, coursework and mentoring experience.
The recipients also receive a full-time salaried position as a
research assistant for up to two years.
A Coveted Position
Shaness Grenald, a Psychology major under the tutelage of St.
John’s Professor Alice Powers, Ph.D., segued into the field of
neuroscience after extensive analysis in the behavioral patterns of
animal personality. This past summer her hard work paid off as she
began a two-year stint at Columbia University as a research
assistant in both neuroscience and social psychology.
“The education I received at St. John’s is invaluable,”
she adds. “It’s an important factor in my journey towards my Ph.D.
Like many incoming freshmen, transitioning from high school to
college was a bit challenging. Mentorship was a key factor in my
adjustment and my professors encouraged and helped me strive
towards academic success.”
Egberanmwen Ode (known as Egbe), a Biology graduate, is the second
St. John’s student to join the Bridge program, where she will
analyze programmed cells in developing mice embryos to better
understand the mechanism of cancer cells.
“The laboratory work in the Bridge program is difficult but the
knowledge I acquired from classes such as Molecular Cell Biology as
well as working with Professor
Richard Lockshin, Ph.D has been extremely beneficial to my
study at Columbia,” adds the scholarly winner.
Bridging the GAP
The McNair scholarship program is a federally-funded program that
encourages underrepresented, low-income, first-generation students
to obtain their post- baccalaureate degrees through research and
According to Asnath Gedeon, Assistant Director of McNair Scholars
Program, the formal research experience students gain as a McNair
scholar is an essential component for acceptance into the Bridge to
Ph.D at Columbia University.”
“The initiative is in many aspects an extension of the McNair
program,” she explains. “It’s a collaborative effort with the same
mission as our University---to diversify the natural sciences and
further solidify entry into graduate school.”
Candidates receive full-time, salaried positions as research
assistants and must engage in intensive research and coursework;
receive mentoring by faculty members, post-doctoral researchers and
graduate students; and have access to GRE test preparation, writing
workshops, and other services designed to facilitate the process of
applying to graduate programs.
For additional information on the Bridge to Ph.D program or the
McNair Scholars Program contact:
McNair Scholars Program
St. Augustine Hall, Room 114