Hopkins Gains Renewal of Faculty for the Future Grant
In announcing the grant renewal, Clifford V. Smith Jr., president of the GE Foundation and a Hopkins alumnus, said Hopkins is one of 19 academic institutions participating in its Faculty for the Future grant program. "Our reports about the Hopkins program are very encouraging. We are pleased to be able to fund it for the next three years," Smith said.
To date, the Hopkins program, which is co-sponsored by Baltimore neighbor Morgan State University, has offered more than 50 students the opportunity to work on independent research projects under the guidance of a faculty sponsor. The program is open to undergraduates in engineering, and preference is given to women and under-represented minorities in order to encourage them to pursue Ph.D.'s and academic careers.
"From talking to students, I find that it's really changed their attitude about their careers," said Ross Corotis, associate dean in Hopkins' 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."
Students are eligible for $250 grants in a semester for research equipment and materials, plus additional funds as needed. In the summer, students may be selected for research jobs paying stipends of $1,200 per month plus up to $250 for supplies.
John Elfar, 20, of Hackensack, N.J., who will be a junior in biomedical engineering at Hopkins this fall, is spending the summer working with David Yue, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, on a number of research projects. He currently is studying ionic channels, an area of electrophysiology.
"This program has gotten me so much more interested in my field," said Elfar. "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."
In the past three years, a number of diverse research projects have been tackled by undergraduates selected for the Hopkins/Morgan State program. Examples include developing a domestic water use monitoring system suitable for large apartment complexes, examining the behavior of certain materials when exposed to earthquake-like conditions and the development of a speaker-independent speech recognition system.
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