MINORITY FACULTY DEVELOPMENT | Volume 19 | Fall 2004
Project Success: Opening the Door to Biomedical Careers—A Vision of Success
By Angela Counts, MFS, Project Coordinator, K-12 Programs, Office for Diversity and Community Partnership
Since its founding in 1993 by Joan Y. Reede, MD, MPH, MS, Dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School (HMS), Project Success has had as its mission to encourage the biomedical research interests of deserving underrepresented minority and disadvantaged students living in the greater Boston area. Project Success students receive one-on-one mentoring by HMS scientists and physicians, while working full-time in laboratories at HMS and its affiliated institutions. During the eight-week, paid internship program, students work on research projects designed by their mentors. The program culminates in a day of formal research presentations.
To date, the program has served over 100 students, 99 percent of whom have gone on to college; several have also gone on to medical, dental, and graduate schools. In spring 2005, Karlene Boswell will become the first Project Success student to graduate from medical school; she first participated in Project Success in1994, at which time she was advised by Frederic Wondisford, MD, then of Beth Israel Hospital. Her other advisors were: David Wong, DMD, DMSc, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, in 1997; Joan W. Miller, MD, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, in 1998; Jessica Henderson Daniel, PhD, Children’s Hospital Boston, in 2000.
Some students like Glenn Hall (Project Success alumnus 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002), develop an enduring relationship with their mentors, as he did with his mentor, Robert Sackstein, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Dermatology, HMS. A recent graduate of Tufts University, Glenn has just matriculated at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.
This past summer, 20 Project Success students worked in research laboratories at HMS, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, Joslin Diabetes Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital, in areas ranging from environmental epidemiology and pathogenesis of bacterial infection to pathology of neurodegenerative diseases and genetics.
If by chance you had stopped by the Courtyard Café on the HMS Quadrangle for lunch one afternoon this past summer, you would have seen a group of young people eating, laughing and talking. If you had paused a moment longer, you might have glimpsed future doctors, dentists, scientists, educators, and leaders who, for a brief moment in time, were enjoying a carefree afternoon with friends.
That is the secret of Project Success: create the right environment for talented young people from underrepresented minority and disadvantaged backgrounds to learn about biomedical research and career paths in research and the health sciences. Provide them with caring mentors who are eminent physicians and scientists in their fields. Supplement the students’ research experiences with educational seminars, and you will be offering them opportunities to learn, thrive, grow, and achieve their dreams of success.
For more information call 617-432-4634