Aspiring Scientists Program Accepting Applications for Summer 2010

Posted: February 22, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: February 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm

By Marjorie Musick

Mason’s Aspiring Scientists Program (ASSIP) is currently accepting applications for its summer 2010 session. Students can learn more about the program and download the application, which is due March 1, at

ASSIP provides high school juniors, seniors and college undergraduates interested in exploring science and medicine the opportunity to work alongside the university’s faculty researchers. Participants spend eight 40-hour weeks at Mason’s Prince William and Fairfax Campuses working on real-world science projects related to global challenges such as cancer, HIV, biodefense and climate change.

Founded in 2007 by cancer researchers Lance Liotta and Emanuel Petricoin III, codirectors of Mason’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, the program is now in its fourth year and has nearly doubled in size to 45 participants.

Since the program offers exposure to levels of science that many aspiring researchers will not see until they enter the workforce, those who participate will likely enjoy long-term career benefits.

Eleven students from previous sessions have had their work published in scientific journals or presented at professional conferences. Temple Douglas, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology and a 2009 participant, submitted a patent for early diagnosis of Lyme disease and was recently named as a finalist in the Intel Science Talent Search Competition.

“The reason I believe ASSIP has been so successful is that we have enrolled highly talented, creative and hard-working students who have contributed to very important projects,” says Amy VanMeter, Mason research specialist and ASSIP director.

“The experience and training sets them apart from other candidates for both job and college applications. For example, prior participants have been accepted to medical school and top universities, and others have won competitive lab positions. It’s really a win-win situation for the students and our researchers.”

Students 16 years and older from around the nation who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in proteomics, genomics, neuroscience, biochemistry, biodefense, bioinformatics, nanotechnology and environmental science are encouraged to apply.

The 2010 ASSIP program begins on Monday, June 21, with orientation and laboratory safety training. It concludes on Monday, Aug.17, with a scientific poster session at which students will present their findings.

“We have extremely dedicated faculty and staff who mentor, guide and teach our future scientists,” says VanMeter.

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