Bristol Myers-Squibb to help DelVal grow student research program

Sep 06, 2011

Bristol Myers-Squibb has awarded a grant to Delaware Valley College to fund student research. The grant will fund a student research course and two scholarships for students taking the course.

In DelVal’s student research course, juniors and seniors spend a semester exploring a topic of their choosing under the guidance of a faculty mentor. They form and test hypotheses and present their results to the college community.

The experience gained from this course is valuable for graduate school, professional school or a career in academic or industry research.

“Science is at the core of nearly everything we do at Bristol-Myers Squibb,” said Frederick J. Egenolf, the company’s director of community affairs. “As a leading biopharma company, we are committed to making the study of science and technology exciting for students who may one day help us discover the miracle medicines of tomorrow.”

While the course is open to all majors, the grant funding and scholarships will go to students with projects related specifically to biology, chemistry, agriculture, animal biotechnology and conservation, environmental sciences and animal science.

The grant will allow students to explore projects that were previously too costly, covering expenses such as materials and equipment, and will allow more students to participate.

For some, the grant not only opens up research opportunities, it will make affording a college education possible. The two scholarships are coming at a time when financial aid is more important than ever.

Scholarships will be awarded for the 2011-2012 academic year to rising juniors or seniors who propose research projects.  Recipients have not yet been named. Two DelVal deans and the chair of the student research committee will choose the recipients.

The first group to participate in the course, five seniors, presented their work in December 2010.
Kelly Michel, a biology major, spent her semester dissecting animals to answer her questions about evolution.

“I had a lot of fun dissecting specimens,” Michel said. “I learned a lot about the specimen I was dissecting. I got to see the effects of evolution and I was able to improve my dissecting skills.”
Paoul Martinez, a small animal science major, spent his semester swabbing dog ears and studying the bacteria inside them.

Kimberly Bergen, an equine science and management major, found herself confronting a dish of MRSA, a type of bacterium that has become resistant to certain antibiotics. Her research compared the effectiveness of herbal remedies and prescription antibiotics.

They gave 20 to 30 minute presentations on their findings and took questions from faculty.
Representatives from Bristol Myers-Squibb have been invited to attend future student research presentations.

“Hands-on, inquiry-centered and experiential learning activities such as Delaware Valley College’s mentored student research helps motivated learners better understand and apply advanced scientific concepts and prepares them for challenging careers,” Egenolf said. “With its emphasis on life sciences and applied learning, Delaware Valley College is an ideal educational partner for us.”