The Dyson College of Arts and Sciences’ Biology and Health Sciences Department has been on the forefront of research over the years and students like biochemistry major Neil Patel ’13 are taking advantage of collaborations with faculty researchers to gain critical skills in the lab and in the field.
“You have a one-on-one connection with the professor. You can pick a mentor and someone you want to conduct research with,” he says. Patel’s mentor, Marcy Kelly, PhD, associate professor of biology and health sciences, has helped him with lab techniques, performing experiments, writing scientific reports, and the hands-on research experience he was seeking.
“Most students don’t get involved in research until their junior year, but at Pace I was able to engage in research at the end of my freshman year, beginning of sophomore year,” says Patel. “Graduate schools want to see that you’re participating in a research program or a research position for longer than a six-month period.”
Early preparation paid off for Patel, who was awarded both an Undergraduate Research Initiative grant and the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) 2011 Undergraduate Research Fellowship, an elite opportunity presented to the brightest rising young scientists. The ASM award is currently helping fund tuberculosis research that Patel and Kelly have been working on since fall 2010—research that Patel hopes will help make progress in the treatment of the disease. He will travel to San Francisco in June to present his findings to more than 8,000 microbiologists from around the world at the General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.
In addition, Patel recently founded and is President of the Pace University Pre-Medical Society, which he hopes will provide opportunities to students interested in pre-med. He is also talking to Career Services about ways they can expand their reach. “We want to connect students with career and research opportunities and also connect Pace with the outside. We want to have a career fair that exposes the skills of Dyson College to different parts of the scientific community and show students that Pace can help them get somewhere,” Patel says.