VISITING STUDENTS 'PLUNGE IN' TO HOPKINS RESEARCH By Christine A. Rowett When Kellie McCants first came to Hopkins to do research, she was not a big fan of rats. "But now they're not so bad," said McCants, a senior at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. "They're actually very tame." McCants, a visiting research student, is working in the Psychology Department on three projects, including one that tracks the effects of certain drugs on learning and memory in rats. "The first day I was there, they had me plunge right in," McCants told six other student researchers during a weekly discussion session. "There are so many different projects in my lab, so much work going on." In one project, the rats are infused with oxytremarine and studied to gauge memory retention while under the influence of the drug. "If it works at all, then we'll be able to test dosage," McCants said. The seven students are part of this summer's research program, which was designed to encourage minority students to consider graduate school. They receive a stipend during their 10 weeks here, and room and board if they do not live in the area. The program is funded by the School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Medicine. By inviting students from other colleges and universities to study at Hopkins, Shin Lin, associate dean for Graduate Studies for the School of Arts and Sciences, hopes to get them interested in graduate school. "And," he said, "hopefully they will come here." William Dash, a 19-year-old junior biology major at Morehouse College in Atlanta, had never even been in a research lab before he started his stint at the School of Medicine, where he is doing research using frogs' eggs to study mutations in bacteria. "I want to go to medical school," Dash said. "I was told it could help if I studied this summer." Coppin State junior Kim Bass is collecting data for a 12-year-old study that has tracked the lives of 838 Baltimore city students. Each year, participants are offered $20 to complete the detailed questionnaire. "We're getting into people's personal lives," Bass said. "One student said he dropped out of school in the 11th grade because it was too violent." Bass, who has a 14-year-old son, said she has learned a lot working on the study, which includes inquiries about morality, employment and sexual practices. "These questions really make you reflect on your life," she said. Sociology professors Karl Alexander and Doris Entwisle head the study, which is currently the only research of its kind in the country. "We certainly got a great deal of work from Kim," Dr. Alexander said, "and it's been a great opportunity for her to participate in a real-life research study." The remaining participating students are Yale freshman Tracey Brooks and Morris Brown College senior Marshall White, who are both studying psychology; Coppin State junior Lenora Powell, who is working in the Anthropology Department; and Morehouse senior Damon Lombard, who is studying physiology. In addition to their research, the students are encouraged to become involved in the Johns Hopkins community. They often meet with other Hopkins students for discussions. The university also provides opportunities for them to attend various cultural events. "Some people may wonder why we're spending money on students who are not from Hopkins," Dr. Lin said. "Our primary goal is to get minority students interested in graduate work."
Go to Gazette Homepage