WSU Program Nurtures Budding Research Scientists

9/12/11Follow @XconomyDET

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Detroit-area student Charlotte Winston says she was inspired by the IMSD program to pursue a career in science. After receiving her undergraduate degree in psychology, she spent a few unfullfilling years as a social worker for a state agency. She found herself contemplating a graduate degree, but was unsure she could afford to stop working. The IMSD program offered a small salary, which helped the 44-year-old decide to return to school.

“I always knew that I wanted to go to college—that was a dream of mine,” Winston says. “But I figured that I would get my bachelor’s degree, go into the workforce, and that would be it.”

Instead, she enrolled in graduate studies. As part of the IMSD program, she did research on anti-depressant drugs at WSU, and did separate research for the Karmanos Institute. Winston cites Dunbar and the IMSD program, along with her grandmother, as being her chief motivators to continue with her education. Winston is now pursuing a phD in sociology, and expects to graduate in 2012. Her goal is to become a college professor.

Dunbar says Winston’s story in some ways is typical of a IMSD program participants, in that their perception tends to change as a result of their everyday involvement with science and faculty members who have made a career out of it.

“They see what’s possible,” Dunbar says, “and they discover ‘I can do this too.’”

Sarah Schmid is the editor of Xconomy Detroit. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET

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