BUILD PODER program fosters growth in biomedical research


BUILD PODER scholars Roxxette Zepeda (public health) and Katie Gonzalez (psychology) present their research project, “A Pilot Study Examining Mindfulness Practice for Mothers and Caregivers of Children with Autism” at the 2016 CSUN Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium. (Also appearing in the photo is one of the principal investigators of the grant, psychology professor Carrie Saetermoe). Photo Courtesy: BUILD PODER

Jessica Herrera

The undergraduate biomedical research training program is looking to recruit 75 new students for BUILD PODER, a program that offers research training, faculty mentorship and financial assistance for immersing students who wish to pursue careers in biomedical research.

Hansook Oh, the communications coordinator of BUILD PODER, said the goal of the program is to increase the representation of the underrepresented groups in biomedical research and to help give participants research experience.

“It’s all about potential. Maybe students don’t know what research is but want to find out,” Oh said. “They will be taught how to do research.”

The program, which stands for Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research, also pays for 60 percent of the participants’ tuition, grants priority registration and provides money for research, travel, tutoring and prep courses.

BUILD PODER’s Fall 2016 cohort gather for their first general meeting of the year. Photo Courtesy, BUILD PODER

Oh explains it as a pipeline to graduate education.

Carrie Saetermoe, a principal investigator of the program, said with BUILD, students get a sense of themselves as researchers and gain skills for their careers.

“We challenge students to link research to social justice and solving local problems,” said Saetermoe.

BUILD PODER aims to have students focus on social justice and critical change. Students in the program have been able to make direct impacts in their communities.

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Public Health major Victoria Villagomez, a 1st year BUILD PODER Scholar, presents her research on healthy eating and attitudes at the 2016 CSUN Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium. Photo Courtesy, BUILD PODER

“Through BUILD, I was able to assist a principle investigator in her five-year study on Hispanic children learning basic scientific concepts at the Chicano Studies Institute at the Gervitz Graduate school of Education in UCSB in the summer of 2016,” Gabriela Rivera, a senior, said.

Rivera also recently presented her mentor’s research at the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research in Nevada where she showcased findings on lesbian, gay and bisexual experiences after completing their coming out process.

Adriana Mendez, a senior, said she has been able to achieve a lot academically since joining BUILD PODER and has met diverse groups of academically inclined people in the program. She now considers them life-long friends.

“I’ve had the chance to present findings at several conferences within my first year being in BUILD,” said Mendez. “Recently, I was accepted to present findings at the upcoming American Psychology Law Society conference in Seattle. I’m excited to meet and connect with people who are working close to my field of study, which is forensic psychology.”

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Psychology major Jordy Penagos, a 1st year BUILD PODER Scholar, presents his research on home childcare at the 2016 CSUN Annual Student Research and Creative Works Symposium. Photo Courtesy, BUILD PODER

CSUN will be hosting a Symposium, which will be held on Friday, April 7, where many BUILD students will be presenting.

To be eligible for application, students must have at least a 3.0 and be majoring in biological and life sciences, engineering, health professions, physical science, computer science and mathematics and statistics. The deadline is March 3rd.