University of Virginia
University of Virginia


Bennett College for Women logoThe LSAMP Project at Bennett College for Women

Conducting Scientific Research: A Necessity, not an Option !



Lanisha Brown, biology major and junior at Bennett College



Lanisha Brown, LSAMP biology scholar and junior at Bennett College, conducting research under the REU program's Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica.






As we continue the journey with our fellow VA-NC LSAMP Alliance members to increase the number of under-represented students in graduate schools, we have risen to the challenge of emphasizing scientific research to our scholars at Bennett. We know that the aim of a valuable internship is to conduct clearly defined research with an experienced investigator.

For the LSAMP African-American women scholars at our institution, conducting such research is a prerequisite - not just an option - for their educational and professional success.

We at Bennett have focused on encouraging the pursuit of research internships. In the summer of 2009, eight Bennett scholars secured and completed such opportunities across the United States and abroad (see details below). Bennett's LSAMP program also sponsored a colloquium entitled "LSAMP Scholars in Action - A Glance at Summer Research". The eight students who completed these summer projects participated in a panel before our Provost, Dr. Esther Terry, and other STEM faculty and staff, to discuss candidly the challenges and rewards of their internship experiences.

The panelists offered advice and encouragement to their peers about how the research experience contributed to their knowledge base, professional direction, and academic discipline. They also emphasized the importance of applying early, writing an impressive personal statement, and taking advantage of opportunities for research abroad. The colloquium was attended by over 80 faculty members and students.


Bennett LSAMP scholars also presented their research in poster and in person at SNCURS, the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium, at the University of Wilmington. It was rewarding to see many of our former poster session participants take on the challenge of presenting their work orally. Many attributed their newfound sense of confidence to the LSAMP project and to the mentors with whom they worked over the summer.

Bennett also hosted the 2010 NE Alliance Day (Friday, January 29, 2010) and will host the VA-NC Alliance 2010 Alliance and Research event on April 12-13, 2010. Bennett LSAMP participants will present their research once again at each of these home-based conferences.






Bennett Alliance students

left to right: front row:

Siebidi Mills, Lanisha Brown (with poster), Usha Satish and Taler Jefferson

left to right, back row:

Shoteria Pearson, Katrina Dix, Charmel Holland and Tonisha Coburn





In conclusion, we believe that participation in summer research opportunities is one of the most meaningful aspects of being a sucessful VA-NC Alliance scholar, and a STEM major.

For too many years, African American women have been encouraged to pursue more traditional roles in the professional realm; the Alliance has dispelled the myth that pursuing a Ph.D. is far from reality for our young women. With adequate preparation, optimism, and a sense of undeniable possibilities, Bennett LSAMP scholars have made reality out of what was once only a dream.

Please join us in celebrating the scientific research of the following students:

  • Ashley Barham (junior / biology major): The Decision Making Process When Coping with a Child with Terminal Illness - Duke University Medical Center, Intensive Care Research Unit
  • Lanisha Brown (junior / biology major): Damage and Mortality of Leaflets in the Lomariopsidaceae (Boston Fern family) - Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), Organization for Tropical Studies, Costa Rica.
  • Tonisha Coburn (junior / biology major): The Differential Effects of Carbohydrates versus Calories on Prostate Cancer Tumor Growth in a Xenograft Murine Model - CARE Program (Collaboration Around Research and Education), Duke University
  • Katrina Dix (senior / chemistry major): Determination of Affinity Values for pH Dependent Fc/FcRn Binding Using Surface Plasmon Resonance - MURF Program, California Institute of Technology
  • Charmel Holland (junior / biology major): Accidental Poisoning in Children - University of Alabama Minority Health International Research Training, Hanover, Jamaica
  • Taler Jefferson (senior / biology major): The Creation of the BSAS (Bedside Shivering Assessment Scale) Used for Neurological/ Intensive Care Unit Research - Duke University Medical Center, Intensive Care Research Unit
  • Tiffany Johnson (senior / biology major): The Growth and Development of Sea Larvae Exposed to Single and Multiple Fluctuating Salinities - University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories, San Juan Island, Washington State
  • Shoteria Pearson (junior / biology major): Does Alcohol Consumption Oncrease the Risk of Being Diagnosed with Prostate Cancer? - - CARE Program (Collaboration Around Research and Education), Duke University

Ms. Pearson and Ms. Holland have each been invited to present their findings at the New England Science Symposium this February at the Harvard Medical School. Check back here for updates on their participation in this prestigious event !