Johns Hopkins Gazette: July 25, 1994

By Christine A. Rowett

When Kellie McCants first came to Hopkins to do research, she
was not a big fan of rats.
     "But now they're not so bad," said McCants, a senior at
the University of Maryland Baltimore County. "They're actually
very tame."
     McCants, a visiting research student, is working in the
Psychology Department on three projects, including one that
tracks the effects of certain drugs on learning and memory in
     "The first day I was there, they had me plunge right in,"
McCants told six other student researchers during a weekly
discussion session. "There are so many different projects in my
lab, so much work going on."
     In one project, the rats are infused with oxytremarine and
studied to gauge memory retention while under the influence of
the drug.
     "If it works at all, then we'll be able to test dosage,"
McCants said.
     The seven students are part of this summer's research
program, which was designed to encourage minority students to
consider graduate school.
     They receive a stipend during their 10 weeks here, and
room and board if they do not live in the area. The program is
funded by the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of
     By inviting students from other colleges and universities
to study at Hopkins, Shin Lin, associate dean for Graduate
Studies for the School of Arts and Sciences, hopes to get them
interested in graduate school.
     "And," he said, "hopefully they will come here."  
     William Dash, a 19-year-old junior biology major at
Morehouse College in Atlanta, had never even been in a research
lab before he started his stint at the School of Medicine,
where he is doing research using frogs' eggs to study mutations
in bacteria.
     "I want to go to medical school," Dash said. "I was told
it could help if I studied this summer."
     Coppin State junior Kim Bass is collecting data for a
12-year-old study that has tracked the lives of 838 Baltimore
city students. Each year, participants are offered $20 to
complete the detailed questionnaire.
     "We're getting into people's personal lives," Bass said.
"One student said he dropped out of school in the 11th grade
because it was too violent."
     Bass, who has a 14-year-old son, said she has learned a
lot working on the study, which includes inquiries about
morality, employment and sexual practices.
     "These questions really make you reflect on your life,"
she said.
     Sociology professors Karl Alexander and Doris Entwisle
head the study, which is currently the only research of its
kind in the country.
     "We certainly got a great deal of work from Kim," Dr.
Alexander said, "and it's been a great opportunity for her to
participate in a real-life research study."
     The remaining participating students are Yale freshman
Tracey Brooks and Morris Brown College senior Marshall White,
who are both studying psychology; Coppin State junior Lenora
Powell, who is working in the Anthropology Department; and
Morehouse senior Damon Lombard, who is studying physiology.
     In addition to their research, the students are encouraged
to become involved in the Johns Hopkins community. They often
meet with other Hopkins students for discussions. The
university also provides opportunities for them to attend
various cultural events.
     "Some people may wonder why we're spending money on
students who are not from Hopkins," Dr. Lin said. "Our primary
goal is to get minority students interested in graduate work."

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