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At Yale, undergraduate students in the sciences have numerous opportunities for hands-on experimentation -- from studies related to their courses, to participation in faculty research programs to independent study projects, both on campus and abroad.

Inspiring Future Science Leaders

As part of its mission to educate the scientific leaders of the future, Yale offers numerous programs aimed at encouraging undergraduates, recent college graduates and young people in the community to pursue careers in science, engineering and biomedicine. The programs both introduce students to the excitement of research and encourage under- represented minorities and women to further develop their scientific interests.

Yale is among the world's top research centers with over 800 science and engineering faculty in more than 40 degree-granting programs. The University's faculty are engaged in cutting-edge research in areas including genomics, protein structure, computational biology, biotechnology and neurosciences.

In Yale science and engineering departments, research is often an integral part of the course of study, and departmental faculty research programs can be an invaluable resource for students. Yale graduates have an outstanding record of winning prestigious fellowships and gaining admission to top graduate programs at Yale and throughout the world.

Yale provides a variety of programs tailored to the individual needs of students. The following is a listing of some of those programs.

STARS Program

The STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars) program is designed to enhance the academic success of groups that are historically under-represented in the sciences and engineering by identifying and nurturing talented students.

The program includes study groups, research opportunities, strong mentoring relationships and the development of a cooperative community of scholars. The STARS I program supports freshmen and sophomores during the early and critical transitional years of their undergraduate education. The STARS II program provides juniors and seniors with the opportunity to have an in-depth summer and academic year research experience under the supervision of Yale faculty. Each year, about 100 students take part in the STARS program.

Perspectives on Science

The interdisciplinary Perspectives on Science program gives students in science and mathematics a special opportunity to start exploring research as soon as they enter Yale by introducing them to a representative cross-section of science and engineering faculty and their research disciplines.

Perspectives on Science meets weekly during both the fall and spring semesters of the freshman year. Every other week, a faculty member presents his or her research in a broad and non-technical talk. The following week, small groups of students and faculty get together to discuss the faculty member's research and its significance. In these small and intimate classes, students get a sense of the excitement of contemporary scientific research, while getting to know some of the faculty in their fields of interest.

At the end of the year, Perspectives on Science students are offered stipends to support summer research in faculty laboratories. In the fall, sophomores return to present their research at the Perspectives on Science Summer Research Symposium.

Enriching Chemistry Education

Yale chemistry professor Alanna Schepartz has received a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to enrich undergraduate education in chemistry by creating courses that expose students to the excitement and creativity of cutting-edge research earlier in their college careers.

Schepartz will use the HHMI grant to design a pair of lecture and laboratory courses in chemical biology that will begin the second semester of the sophomore year. Chemical biology is one of the fastest-growing interdisciplinary fields in modern chemistry. Researchers in this area use techniques and principles of chemistry to understand and control biological processes.

Her lecture course will provide a sophisticated survey of the field, complete with case studies and articles from primary literature. The laboratory course will be open-ended and research-driven, with publications, presentations and summer research. In designing her courses, Schepartz also hopes to encourage more women to pursue careers in academic research chemistry.

Research Grants and Fellowships

Students receive funding for their research through a variety of programs, fellowships and faculty research grants. Most students enter research through individual faculty-sponsored research projects, either during the academic year or in the summer. Each year, external faculty research grants contribute to the support of the research of more than 300 Yale undergraduates. Depending on the nature of the research project and availability of funds, faculty mentors may also provide stipends to their students.

In addition to support from faculty research grants and other departmental and interdepartmental programs, more than a dozen individual fellowship programs are available for undergraduate research projects. There is also funding available to finance students' presentation of their research. The Yale Science and Engineering Research Presentation Travel Prize, for instance, provides support for outstanding undergraduate researchers to attend scientific and professional meetings at which they will present their research findings.

Graduate School's PREP Program

The Office for Diversity & Equal Opportunity at Yale's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has launched a new research training initiative to increase the number of under-represented minority students entering biomedical science graduate programs. Yale is one of only eight sites in the country to receive a grant from the National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for this project.

With $1.9 million in funding over five years, the Yale Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (Yale PREP) is aimed at under-represented minority college graduates who have demonstrated a high level of motivation and commitment to pursuing Ph.D. training in the biomedical and/or behavioral sciences. Ten post-baccalaureate minority students come to the University each year as Yale PREP Scholars. They engage in research under the guidance of Yale faculty mentors, take graduate-level course work in their discipline and participate in seminars on health disparities research.

Science Programs for Community Youths

The Yale programs aimed at instilling an interest in science among young students -- particularly under-represented minorities and women -- include the following:

SCHOLAR (Science Collaborative Hands-On Learning and Research). This summer program brings students from New Haven's Hill Regional Career High School to campus, where they hone their scientific skills through study and hands-on research led by students and faculty from the Yale School of Medicine and Yale College.

Peabody Fellows Program. Yale's Peabody Museum of Natural History developed this program as part of a system-wide reform in science education in the New Haven schools. It includes courses for teachers and interactive mobile science units that promote science literacy in grades 3 through 8.

Frontiers of Science and Engineering. High school students from throughout New England come to campus for weekend lectures and demonstrations by Yale experts through the free program sponsored by the Faculty of Engineering.

SMArT (Science and Math Achiever Teams). This mentoring program pairs Yale College students with middle school students in New Haven schools to work on a math- or science-related project for the Citywide Science Fair (see below.)

DEMOS. This undergraduate group sends teams of students to New Haven schools to teach basic scientific principles through a combination of visually stimulating, hands-on demonstrations, games and group discussions.

FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. Yale's Office of New Haven and State Affairs co-sponsors teams from city schools in this national contest, designed to immerse students in science and engineering. Yale Engineering also contributes materials and expertise to the design and assembly of the robot.

Citywide Science Fair. Over 200 faculty, 5,000 public school students and 38 schools participate in the New Haven Citywide Science Fair, held every March in Yale Commons dining hall.


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