Three undergraduate students from Africa arrived last week at Indiana University Bloomington to participate in an 8-week summer research program in the Department of Biology.
The three students—Erick Wabwire, Batula Robow, and Jonah Masika—are from Moi University in Kenya. They'll be working in the laboratories of Soni Lacefield, associate professor of biology; John Patton, associate professor of biology and Blatt Chair of Virology; and Claire Walczak, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.
Advanced academic research opportunities can be limited in Africa. IU's summer research program offers top-performing African students the chance to conduct research in IU labs to improve the competitiveness of their applications to graduate school.
The program, in its second year, was based upon a proposal from African graduate students at IU—including Maureen Onyeziri, a member of Professor Clay Fuqua's lab, and Gabriel Muhire Gihana, a member of Lacefield's lab and the founder of Afrisnet, a separate project that provides information and assistance to African students seeking academic opportunities or internships. Lacefield serves as the director of the program. Afrisnet volunteers Daniel Schwab, Annie MacKenzie, Ashwini Ramesh, and Gabriel Muhire Gihana will provide career development training throughout the program.
The summer research program was established with support from David Daleke, associate dean of the University Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education and medical sciences, and Greg Demas, professor and chair of the Department of Biology. It aims to host at least two students each year.