Physics & astronomy award to connect racialized students with researchers
The Physics & Astronomy Research Experience Award is for undergraduate Faculty of Science students who identify as racialized, Black and/or Indigenous and have an interest in research.
A new award in physics & astronomy will connect racialized students with the department’s renowned researchers.
The Physics & Astronomy Research Experience Award is for undergraduate Faculty of Science students who identify as racialized, Black and/or Indigenous and have an interest in research. Students will be paid a stipend to work alongside department researchers beginning in May 2022.
Graduate and undergraduate students in the physics & astronomy department suggested the award following June 2020’s Shutdown STEM Day of Action. The department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Committee acted on the students’ suggestion and made establishing the award one of their first priorities.
“Research experiences open up amazing opportunities for undergraduate students,” says committee member, university scholar and physics & astronomy professor Laura Parker. “Students connect with their peers and with faculty members who become mentors. The Physics & Astronomy Research Experience Award provides an additional avenue for racialized undergraduate students to make these connections and build a strong peer and professional network.”
The award was established by an anonymous donor whose contribution was then matched by the Office of the Dean within the Faculty of Science. Additional donations to the award can be made online.
“The more donations that are made to the award, the more undergraduate students we can connect with researchers and engage in research,” says Parker.
“I hope the donor knows how meaningful this contribution is to students and the impact it will have on their careers,” says Erica Dao, an EDI committee member and PhD candidate in radiation sciences, medical physics. “Students want to get involved in research because the work being done at McMaster is fascinating and it’s transforming our world.”
Dao, a recent GradFlix prize winner whose research is focused on breast tumour margin detection, began working in Michael Farquharson’s research lab in her second year as an undergraduate student.
“Working in Dr. Farquharson’s lab ignited my passion for learning and research and inspired me to continue my studies as a graduate student. My mentors in the lab encouraged and supported me in academic pursuits that I initially thought were beyond my abilities. Hands-on learning with great mentors has made a huge impact.”