Imagine combining the educational experiences of traveling abroad and becoming immersed in intense scientific research.
This summer, three students—Will Towler of King George, Va., Annelise Gorensek of Aiken and Nadia Shamsedin of Columbia—don’t have to imagine. They are living it.
The trio is currently in France to participate in a 12-week summer research program at the Pasteur Institute in Lille. The unique program brings together 11 students from five universities to conduct biomedical research at the Institute. The other participating schools are Louisiana State, Florida, Morehouse and Wilkes.
The first-year project is being funded through a $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The French Ministry of Higher Education and two major French research universities are also taking part.
As a prelude to the trip, Gorensek, a chemistry major, Towler and Shamsedin, both biology majors, completed a year of research on campus.
“You gain all the same benefits as a study away program. You become immersed in another culture,” said John Wheeler, Director of Integrative Research in the Sciences for Furman. “And our students are able to work with international leaders in their fields of study.”
The chemistry professor said the Pasteur Institute is a hub for scientific research that attracts top faculty throughout Europe. Wheeler is also visiting the Institute in France this week to manage a conference that will include presentations by Towler, Gorensek and Shamsedin.
U.S. faculty, including Wheeler, French graduate research students, Chateaubriand Fellows (U.S. graduate students completing research in France), and representatives of the French Ministry of Higher Education and French Fulbright Commission will also make presentations. Plenary addresses by internationally recognized scientists Isiah Warner (LSU) and Camille Locht (Pasteur de Lille) are also a featured part of the conference.