University of Virginia
University of Virginia

The LSAMP Project at Bennett College for Women

An Oasis: Defining Education & Celebrating Knowledge


In keeping with Bennett College for Women’s initiative: Educate, Celebrate, Oasis, the LSAMP Program at Bennett College for Women can optimistically say, that in all of its great challenges and successess,  it has truly kept such a wonderful motto clutched firmly in its grasp.


The LSAMP Project at Bennett is indeed an Oasis.  It is safe haven where young women of color can flourish in their education as well as in their efforts to become brighter and bigger “women” leaders; which is a celebration in itself.  The many accomplishments of this year’s program and its participants have been great.  We have successfully provided scholarship to 19 students who are clearly on their way at conquering the great challenge before us all: to increase the quality and quantity of minority students, who are pursuing degrees in the STEM field.  These scholars have effortlessly met the demands of being an LSAMP Scholar, as well as being a true Bennett Belle. 


  • The LSAMP Project offered a plethora of activities, each with one goal in mind: to expand the scientific knowledge of our STEM students beyond the heights of their imagination.  Hosting this year’s STEM Fair, gave LSAMP an opportunity to bring this goal to fruition.  Over 80 high school students were able to partake in a journey of the STEM field through lecture, Peer-to-Peer Networking, experiencing the GeoDome, and by participating in science workshops/experiments that ranged from making shampoo to solving crime mysteries through forensics. Through colloquiums and symposiums, the LSAMP Project also exposed its scholars to the knowledge of “science greats” such as Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Oliver Smithies (Excellence Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, who developed a technology used to create animal models of human diseases in mice also known as “knock-out” mice and invented the gel electrophoresis) and Dr. Tyler Volk (Science Director of the NYU Environmental Studies Program & Associate Professor of Biology, also author of the book  CO2 Rising: The World’s Greatest Environmental Challenge).  Dr. Adem Ibrahim, an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Norfolk State University visited Bennett on September 8th when he presented different applications of computational science in current research.  And lastly, Ms. Cortina McCurry, a PhD candidate at the MIT, Department of Neurosciences, presented a lecture entitled “Neuroscience at MIT: Peering into the developing brain” this past November 20th. Ms. McCurry, a young African American scientist about to receive her PhD, shared not only her research but also her history from high school in Alaska to the MIT program.
  • In the Fall of 2008, LSAMP Scholars also participated in the Graduate Research Day at Virginia Tech (two juniors) and the Diversity Career Day at the University of Virginia in October (all nineteen scholars). In the Spring of 2009, they traveled to Virginia Tech for the VA-NC LSAMP Research & Alliance Day, and visited/toured the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC (a world class research hub where collaborative science will lead the charge for great discoveries in nutrition, health and biotechnology research). Our LSAMP scholars also participated in various Bennett sponsored events, such as the Inter-Disciplinary Research Day where LSAMP participants presented both poster and oral presentation of their own science research and Bennett’s Award Ceremony where 85% of our scholars were recognized and received awards for their outstanding academic achievements.  Two of our scholars maintained a 4.0 GPA, while another was elected the 2009-10 Ms. Bennett College. 


Lastly, the summer offered a collage of great opportunities to our scholars in the form of research and internship. The following internships were awarded: 


Lanisha Brown

Organization for Topical Studies Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program (Costa Rica)


Charmel Holland

Univ. of Alabama Minority Health International Research Training (Hanover Jamaica)


Ashley Barham, Shadae Bass, Shontae Robinson, Taler Jefferson

Duke University School of Nursing “Making a Difference in Nursing” Summer Program


Tonisha Coburn, Shoteria Pearson, Ebonita Boykin

DUKE University Prostate Cancer Research


Katrina Dix

California Institute of Technology MURF Summer Program


Ebonie McNeil

Army Missile Defense Command (Summer Research Breast Cancer Research)


Charnee Pearson-Starling

Internship at Dr. Gail Kirkland Briscoe Dental


Taler Jefferson

Global Ministries in Korea


Tiffany Johnson

Friday Harbor Laboratories (UNCF/Mellon Program)