Young women from Bridgeport public high schools to study at residential science camp this summer at Fairfield University
(Posted on June 30, 2010)
Dr. Shelley Phelan, associate professor of biology at Fairfield University, has been awarded two grants totaling $35,000 to host a one-week residential science camp this summer called BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education) for 24 female students from Bridgeport public high schools.
The camp, funded by Bank of America and the Maximilian E. and Marion O. Hoffman Foundation, will run from Sunday, July 11, through Friday, July 16. Participants will be housed in residence halls for the week under the supervision of undergraduate counselors. All lodging, food, and supplies are provided by the grant.
During the day, the students will have the opportunity to work in groups on one of six scientific research projects, led by female science faculty. They will present their findings on the last day of the camp.
Dr. Phelan, the Elizabeth DeCamp McInerny Professor in Health Sciences, who has mentored more than 40 undergraduate students in her laboratory at Fairfield, said, "There still exist stereotypes, cultural biases, and other barriers that hinder the success of women in science, technology, engineering and math, especially amongst underrepresented groups. It is so exciting to be able to provide this hands-on program that will give these gifted young women a good sense of how interesting and challenging the sciences can be."
The students, who submitted applications and were selected for the program, are from Bridgeport's three public high schools - Harding High School, Central High School, and Bassick High School - as well as the vocational Aquaculture school. Fairfield held this camp as a day camp once before in 2007.
Dr. Phelan is currently conducting research on the regulation and function of the peroxiredoxin family of antioxidant genes in cell proliferation and cancer. At Fairfield, she was a key player in the founding of the Peer Learning Group program for general biology students and helped start the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics residence hall floor.
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