Johns Hopkins Gazette: August 8, 1994

By Ken Keatley

Next month, David Yue will add a computer simulation model to
junior-level biomedical engineering physiology courses, even
though he hasn't found the time to develop it.
    "It wouldn't have gotten done if I didn't have help,"
said Dr. Yue, an assistant professor of biomedical
engineering. "It takes a considerable amount of work. I'm
glad to have had someone to do it for me."
    That someone is John Elfar, a rising junior majoring in
biomedical engineering who has spent the summer working as an
assistant to Dr. Yue. Elfar is one of seven engineering
undergraduates at Johns Hopkins and Morgan State University
whose work is being funded this summer by the Undergraduate
Engineering Research Opportunities Program. 
    "I don't think there are many physiology courses out
there that can claim they have a tailor-made computer model
to support the teaching of that course," said Elfar, 20, of
Hackensack, N.J. "And I have a vested interest in making it
good. I'll be taking the class."
    Last month, the General Electric Foundation renewed its
three-year, $75,000 Faculty for the Future Program grant to
Hopkins, which will again invite Morgan State to be a
co-sponsor. The program is open to undergraduates in
engineering, and preference is given to women and
underrepresented minorities in order to encourage them to
pursue doctorates and academic careers.
    Clifford V. Smith Jr., president of the
Connecticut-based GE Foundation and a Hopkins graduate, said
that 19 academic institutions are currently participating in
Faculty for the Future. 
    "Our reports about the Hopkins program are very
encouraging, and we are pleased to be able to fund it for the
next three years," Dr. Smith said.
    To date, the Hopkins/Morgan program has offered more
than 50 students the opportunity to work on independent
research projects under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. 
    "From talking to students, I find that it's really
changed their attitude about their careers," said Ross
Corotis, associate dean for academic affairs in the Whiting
School of Engineering. 
    "They find they can do more than the problems in the
back of the book, that they are capable of doing research.
It's given them a lot of confidence in themselves."
    Now that he has finished the computer model project
ahead of schedule, Elfar will spend the rest of the summer
doing lab work involving the study of ionic channels, an area
of electrophysiology.
    "This program has gotten me so much more interested in
my field," Elfar said. "If I hadn't gotten this, I would be
doing what poor kids in Hackensack do for work in the summer.
It definitely wouldn't have been in science."
    Students are eligible for $250 grants in an academic
semester ($200 during intersession) for research equipment
and materials, plus additional funds as judged to be needed.
In the summer, students may be selected for research jobs
that pay stipends of $1,200 per month plus up to $400 for
    Participants may also earn up to six credits per year.
    Application forms for Hopkins engineering undergraduates
are available from Carole Weiner at 120 New Engineering. She
may be reached at 516-7395. Deadline for the fall semester
has passed, but openings are available for the winter
intersession and the spring '95 semester.

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