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Rensselaer Research Review Spring 2007 * Feature Articles Awards & Grants Recent Patents Accolades
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Inspiring Future Researchers

Colón and Bystroff are not only interested in creating scientific results, but also in nurturing the next generation of scientists.

Marta Manning began her career in Colón’s lab as an undergraduate volunteer and then was welcomed to stay on as a graduate student. “He is an excellent person to work with,” Manning says of her former mentor. “He is very friendly, great sense of humor, very open to students. He was an excellent mix of someone that let students work independently, but also offered support [when needed].” Manning is now doing postdoctoral work at Penn State.

Bystroff also inspires the next generation. “Chris always has a bunch of undergrads working for him,” Zaki says. “They go on to do Ph.D.s or master’s, either at RPI or elsewhere. From a training point of view, that’s a really great thing.”

A summer internship program seems a natural extension of this training mindset. Colón and Bystroff have taken the existing program — funded by an educational grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and directed by Acting Provost Robert Palazzo — to the next level. Not only are they seeking undergraduates who are interested in research experience, they are intent on reaching students who might otherwise have little exposure to academic science at a research institution.

“I have enjoyed working with Freddy and Chris on launching an important effort to recruit exceptional women and minority students to Rensselaer for an undergraduate research experience,” says Palazzo. “This program, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, provides support for a high-quality research experience for truly exceptional and gifted undergraduates from diverse backgrounds. Already some of these students have shown interest in applying to our own graduate programs and I am sure that many decided to attend graduate school somewhere after their experience at Rensselaer.”

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Unraveling Proteins
Wilfredo Colón and Rensselaer students
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