The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN sciences receive $1.9 mil

Cal State Northridge has received a four-year grant worth $1.9 million from the National Institutes of Health to support students specifically interested in pursuing a career in the sciences.

“The grant’s main purpose is to prepare especially underrepresented students, those of color – particularly African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Pacific Islanders, and Alaskan Natives – for careers in biomedical research,” said Steven Oppenheimer, associate director of NIH’s Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement program.

CSUN’s RISE program obtained the grant because of its good performance in the past and excellent administration, Oppenheimer said.

“Jerry Stinner, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, and Harry Hellenbrand, provost and vice president for academic affairs, were the key reasons why RISE was awarded the nearly $2 million grant … it was their support with money not blabber,” Oppenheimer said.

RISE is a program administered by NIH that is currently made up of about 20 CSUN students who range in majors from biology and chemistry to kinesiology and psychology.

It’s open to everyone, but RISE targets underrepresented students because one of its sole purposes is to increase the number of biomedical research within that community, Oppenheimer said.

There are several components to RISE, which include reading and writing workshops and summer math tutoring generally geared to incoming freshmen. RISE also gives students the opportunity to gain research experience as well as participate in biomedical workshops learning biomedical techniques.

The grant will further finance RISE’s objectives with the ultimate goal of “increasing the interest of science” in students, Oppenheimer said.

“The national security, national health and welfare are heavily dependent on producing creative scientists,” he said. “If we don’t have good scientists, the whole world will fall apart.”

RISE’s newly attained grant will also provide support to non-science majors who share any remote association to science and scientific research.

“Some components of this program will enhance all students, not just underrepresented or targeted students in NIH,” Oppenheimer said.

Students had ideas for how the grant will help their work in the college.

“Hopefully, the grant will fund advisers who are readily available for students because it would be beneficial to have someone there during the semester whenever you need them,” said mathematics junior Tyler Guizon. “I’m left to do much of my educational planning on my own, which is difficult because it’s hard to keep track of the all requirements.”

Oppenheimer reaffirmed Guizon’s concern about the unsatisfactory advisement situation in his college.

“As a math major, I don’t have required advisement, so when I feel I need some academic guidance, I have to set up an appointment ? it would be easier if there were more advisers, so I could just walk in and be advised when I need it,” Guizon said.

“The grant will help pay for improvements to the current advisement conditions,” Oppenheimer said. “The grant will also fund tutoring that specifically affects math and science majors taking both lower and upper division courses.”

It will supply students with mentors throughout their college education, provided that their studies will expectantly lead to a career in the sciences, Oppenheimer added.

“Since I’m doing research, the grant will probably provide (me) with (the) equipment and lab supplies I need,” said biology senior Lourdes Luna.

Math, psychology and any other majors that bear any relation to the sciences will benefit directly from the grant, Oppenheimer said.

“These kinds of grants for student training and research or scholarships are absolutely vital and essential to this college ? I’m delighted to support them,” said Jerry Stinner, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

“Because the NIH program received the grant, (it will) draw more attention to NIH and influence more people to pursue a career in science,” Luna said.

It will also make people more aware of the opportunities that are available to do scientific research, she concluded.

Melissa Chua can be reached at

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