EAST?LANSING - Cassandra LaMarche, a 2013 Gladstone graduate and 2011-12 Rotary Exchange Student to France, was recently named a 2014 REPID Scholar at Michigan State University.
REPID Scholars receive an introductory course in biomedical research followed by a summer of full-time, paid research experience under the one-to-one guidance of an established, nationally-recognized biomedical researcher. They are also provided with their own lab equipment, including a microscope. At the conclusion of their summer of research, they are expected to present the research at a science conference of their choosing and are provided with travel expenses.
The REPID Program, which is led by Elah Crockett, Ph.D., M.S, is supported by The National Institutes of Health, and The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHI-NHLBI).
Its purpose is to provide research training and enrichment experience for Michigan State University undergraduate/graduate/medical health professional students from underrepresented, minority, and disadvantaged (URMD) groups.
Due to the high poverty levels and lack of resources for educational opportunities in the Upper Peninsula, students in the UP are educationally disadvantaged and underrepresented in the health research professions. The REPID program hopes to encourage students such as these to pursue health related research careers focused on cardiovascular, pulmonary and hematologic disciplines in order to increase diversity in these fields.
"It really empowers students to feel comfortable and do the work," Crockett said. "Two years later, of the 36 scholars, 27 have jobs in scientific fields, or have been accepted into graduate or medical schools."
Cassandra was inducted into the program on Nov. 21. She will soon be given a list of the mentors and their research and will have the opportunity to select the research that best suits her interests. She will begin her introductory research course following Christmas break. The REPID program also provides opportunities for scholars to job-shadow physicians.
The daughter of Gary and Laura LaMarche of Escanaba, Cassandra attends Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University and hopes to pursue a medical degree.