On many campuses, undergraduates rarely have access to substantive research experiences much less to the labs of eminent faculty, federal agencies, or major corporations. For Meyerhoff Scholars, these experiences are an integral part of the program.
All scholars are exposed to research early on in order to gain hands-on experience and to develop a clearer understanding of what studying science entails. Program staff use an extensive network of contacts to arrange summer science and engineering internships, opportunities at UMBC and such partner institutions as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health. Many internship hosts become continuing mentor to students. Students also are encouraged to participate in professional meetings and associations, presenting their research findings alongside the faculty members.
This research is not just cutting-edge, it is truly discipline-shaping. Meyerhoff Scholars helped to solve all three of the HIV virus’s structural proteins identified in UMBC’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute lab. Chianna Paschall, Ph.D. (M4) at University of Pennsylvania, modeled the first key component of the protein, and her work was featured in a cover story for the Journal of Molecular Biology. She was and the first Meyerhoff to work with Dr. Michael Summers, UMBC Howard Hughes Medical Investigator. Chelsea Stalling, M.D./Ph.D. (M7) at University of Pennsylvania, who solved the third and final structure of a key HIV protein, co-authored a paper published in Science.