By Scott Bigelow
Three undergraduates from The University of North Carolina at Pembroke will travel to Indiana University this summer to take part in a 10-week research program.
Angelie Santos, a junior biology major, Aleesha Herring, a sophomore psychology major, and Korey Revels, a freshman biology/chemistry major, have been accepted to the MEDIC-B Scholars Program.
MEDIC-B (Minority Education and Development Initiative for Careers in Biomedical Research) is a two-year program that offers research opportunities for promising undergraduates.
Santos, who is returning for a second summer to the Bloomington, Ind., campus, said she is fortunate to be able to continue her research project.
"In my second year, I will work in the same lab, so I can continue my project," she said. "I am working on the role of the Sindbus virus in initiating the translation and replication of RNA."
The daughter of UNCP Biology Professor Dr. Marilu Santos, she is a Lumberton High School Graduate.
Herring, a Cape Fear High School graduate and member of UNCP's University Honors College, said she is very excited to have been admitted into the program.
"It's a good opportunity," she said. "I'll be doing research with professors in an area that I choose, probably in social psychology or child development."
Herring said UNCP psychology Professor Dr. Patrick Cabe encouraged her to apply for the program.
"It was a long application process, but I'm glad I did it," Herring said. "Dr. Cabe said he thought it would be good for me, and that I would represent UNCP well."
Revels looked at other summer opportunities, but MEDIC-B looked like the best option.
"I am very interested in the immune system," Revels said. "I hope to be able to study how cells communicate."
MEDIC-B pays all costs and a stipend too, but Santos, who plans to go to graduate school, said the experience is priceless.
"The research experience helped me a lot," she said. "At UNCP, labs meet once a week, but going to a research university, you get in-depth exposure, like graduate school."
UNCP is one of seven universities in the MEDIC-B program. Chemistry Professor Dr. Len Holmes coordinates the MEDIC-B program at UNCP.
"This program with Indiana University has been very good for UNCP," Dr. Holmes said. "Over the past six years, a dozen deserving science students have had the benefit of participating in the important field of biomedical research."
"This opportunity is highly competitive, and it is indeed a mark of distinction for UNCP, Angelie, Aleesha and Korey," Dr. Holmes said.
Herring is active in several campus groups. She is a Student Marshal, an Ambassador for the Office of Admissions and a Peer Advisor for the Office of Advisement and Retention.
Santos and twin sister, Angelin, are Student Marshals. Angelie is a member of Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society, TriBeta Biology Honor Society and the Health Careers Club. She was named to Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
From the Philadelphus community near Pembroke, Revels graduated from Purnell Swett High School. He is a member of the Health Careers Club and plans to go to medical school.
"MEDIC-B is more for undergraduates who will enter Ph.D. programs, but there is a lot I can learn about lab techniques and science," Revels said. "I am seeking the knowledge. I enjoy that, so I'm going to take full advantage of this opportunity."
MEDIC-B is funded by the National Institute of Health's General Medical Sciences' Division of Minority Opportunities in Research, through their Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) Branch.
The major goals of MEDIC-B are to prepare students for graduate school and future careers in research. Each year 34 undergraduate students are selected to participate.
MEDIC-B affiliate institutions include Alcorn State University, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, New Mexico State University, Spelman College, Xavier University of Louisiana and UNCP.