Charles Bray ’22 has landed a summer internship within The McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program, which seeks to engage scientific curiosity, create research opportunities, and promote academic success in mental health research for promising young Black, Indigenous, and underrepresented students of color interested in pursuing a career in research or have not yet explored the possibility.
“To me this program is an answered prayer,” Bray says. “It affirmed that I can achieve great things.”
Bray says the past three years of working on his natural science major have been filled with many ups and downs, but with the encouragement of his family, friends, and mentors, he hasn’t wavered on his commitment to serving others and becoming a doctor.
“I’d been looking for a research internship to gain sustained experience in a lab, and bring me closer to potential mentors who are doctors and medical scientists who could guide me into that field, and this internship will give me all of that at a world class hospital. I’m so grateful to my academic advisor [Associate Professor of Chemistry Susan] Mitroka-Batsford, [Ph.D.,] who has really become a mentor for me, pointing me in the right direction and being willing to recommend me. I’m also grateful to the members of the McLean Mental Health Research Summer Program committee for providing me with this amazing opportunity.”
This 10-week (June-August) paid summer research program offers research experience to undergraduate BIPOC students currently in a two- or four-year college/university. The intensive experience involves three components:
- Mentored basic science or clinical research experience in a laboratory at McLean Hospital
- Workshops to teach and promote strategies for scientific success
- Outreach and community engagement in collaboration with McLean’s Brains Matter outreach program
Students also join workshops on how to use various data analysis and statistics software, such as Image J and Prism.
Bray is a biotech major with a 3.4 GPA. He is also an accomplished track athlete, a member of the Civic Corps project, and a resident assistant at WSU. And an R.A. he creates a healthy living environment, encourages residents to meet one another to form a close-knit community, and create inclusive programs that promote healthy relationships, diversity, and emotional stability.
The McLean summer interns are mentored by current principal investigators and research fellows who recognize the importance of cultural competency in science education and have experience working with trainees from populations underrepresented in STEM and higher education.
The McLean Summer Research program offers support so students may also attend and present their work at a scientific conference, such as the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science and the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. These conferences are an opportunity for students to present their research work at a scientific meeting and enhance their professional development skills. These meetings create a welcoming scientific community where students can be their whole self. Universities across the nation attend to recruit minority students to their graduate programs.
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