IMSD program nurtures young scientists

Weekly seminars are part of the Emory Initiative to Maximize Student Development (IMSD) program, aimed at the professional development of undergraduate and graduate students in STEM fields. What sets this program apart is its commitment to increase diversity in the biological, biomedical and behavioral sciences by nurturing students who may be underrepresented in these fields. IMSD’s associate director Amanda James says the program includes some of Emory’s strongest students.

The two-year, NIH-funded research program has three main goals: preparing undergraduate students for doctoral programs in STEM fields, nurturing graduate students during their matriculation into Emory’s PhD programs and increasing diversity through mentoring. They accomplish these goals by connecting undergraduates and graduates through mentorship, seminars, and career coaching, says Keith Wilkinson, IMSD director and vice-chair of the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Wilkinson is a faculty member of the BCDB and CB programs and immediate past GDBBS Director.

The program focuses heavily on mentorship and relationships between the students and program leaders, Emory faculty, and IMSD alumni. Graduate students are frequently paired with a small group of undergraduates for breakout sessions during seminars and many of them mentor their undergraduate counterparts. “Everyone who succeeds has a good mentor,” says Pat Marsteller, undergraduate director of IMSD. IMSD is dedicated to “improving mentoring cultures and nurturing talent from under-represented student groups,” says graduate director Eddie Morgan. Dr. Morgan is a faculty member in the MSP program.

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