|“We want to attract the best students we can,” says Colón. Too often, he says, students have to make their decisions based on paper or what they see on the Internet. “The idea was to bring them here so they can experience what it is to be at Rensselaer,” he says. “We all felt that would be a very effective recruiting strategy.”
Their efforts have caused a ripple effect as fellow faculty in the biotechnology center take undergraduate interns into their laboratories with the goal of identifying potential graduate students before the formal application process.
“This has been a wonderful thing that they’ve done,” says Linhardt. “I had two students in my laboratory last summer. Both had very successful projects and I expect I will publish papers with both of them as co-authors.”
For the students themselves many from Puerto Rico or historically black colleges a fascinating and challenging new world awaits, as the internships give them direct experience with the realities and the demands of experimental research all with the goal of attracting them to careers in the sciences.
Exposing students to the life of a researcher in the sciences is the first step toward expanding the pool of young people who choose careers in these fields. “We hope that we tempt them to take research paths,” Linhardt says.