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NIH Record

Undergrads Get Early Sampling of Research

Nearly 100 junior and senior undergraduates presented their NIMH-supported research findings, and listened to Harvard University researchers present their work at the 16th annual Career Opportunities in Research Education and Training Colloquium in Cambridge, Mass., recently.

NIMH's Career Opportunities in Research (COR) education and training program has been helping prepare students from predominantly minority colleges and universities for graduate study in the mental health arena since 1975. "Our aim in COR is to give undergraduate students from minority institutions a taste of graduate level work," says Dr. Dina Birman, who administers the COR program at NIMH, "and to help them get first-hand research experience at an early point in their education."

A highlight of this annual event is the presentations by the undergraduates. This year's participants spoke on a range of topics from basic neuroscience to broader clinical research. COR student S. Bibiana Adames, from Hunter College, discussed a study of HIV risk factors in Mexican and Puerto Rican women. Michel Mendes of the State University of New York at Old Westbury presented findings from his study "Opioid Involvement in Behavior Changes of Male Mice Infected with Trichinella Spiralis." Darnika C. Graham of Hampton University examined how some inner-city youths emerge unscathed after witnessing violent events while others are permanently affected and suffer symptoms of severe anxiety and depression.

The colloquium participants, from 13 universities across the nation, heard lectures by prominent Harvard faculty and toured many university neurobiological research facilities including the sleep and neuroimaging centers and the brain laboratory.

COR alumni also addressed the latest crop of students. Among them, Dr. Phyllis Ford-Booker, assistant professor of psychology at North Carolina A&T State University, discussed her research and offered advice about how to survive undergraduate and graduate school and achieve professional goals in the mental health research field.

"The 4-day meeting left the students with renewed enthusiasm for their present studies and their future careers," said Dr. Delores Parron, NIMH associate director for special populations. "Several left the colloquium with the intention of applying to Harvard."


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