Senior Gift Campaign
Funding Sponsored Research Awards for MCB Students
By Kirsten Mickelwait
If I were to narrow it down, the coolest thing I’ve done so far in the lab is to design my own experiment protocol as lead researcher,” says Anna Rios, a senior studying molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in medical physiology, now working in the Ritchie Lab. Rios, along with Estephannie Alvarez and Marvin Miller, received a sponsored undergraduate research stipend from the MCB Class of 2021’s senior class gift campaign.
In surveys of graduating MCB students, many cite their time working in departmental research labs as the most impactful and inspiring experiences of their undergraduate years. That’s why, as its class gift, the MCB Class of 2021 used -crowdfunding to raise funds for the research stipends.
“As a Salvadoreña from a low-income background, I’m the first in my family to pursue a medical career,” says Alvarez, a senior studying molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in cell and developmental biology who’s working in the Hayes lab. “Receiving the stipend was a blessing because it allowed me to
experience research in a different way, further fueling my passion for this academic discipline.”
Each $1,000 stipend enables an MCB undergraduate to work in the lab of a faculty member for one semester. In the selection process, priority was placed on students who were undertaking research for the first time, had a financial need, or were from underrepresented backgrounds.
"Without these research experiences, my understanding of biology topics would have been limited to the concepts I’d only heard or read about,” Miller says. “I consider my involvement in actual research studies as eye-opening opportunities that will lead me to my bigger career goals.” Miller is a senior studying molecular and cell biology with an emphasis in cell and developmental biology, currently working in the Vázquez-Medina lab.
“Being presented the MCB research award was more than a nod to what I’ve accomplished,” Rios says. “It’s a celebration of who I’m capable of becoming.”
Now the Class of 2022 is undertaking a new campaign raising funds to empower the next generation of students with sponsored research awards. Join the effort to create a lasting legacy, both for MCB and for the careers of future biologists! Learn more: https://crowdfund.berkeley.edu/project/31800
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