Twenty students gain research experience, a scholarship and a paycheck
ST. LUCIE COUNTY -- Indian River State College and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies have launched an innovative new work-study internship program that engages students in cutting-edge bioscience research while they earn a paycheck and receive a $1,250 per semester scholarship at the same time.
The 20 students selected for the introduction of the program are biology majors who are assigned to work on specific laboratory experiments combating diseases under the direction of a scientific mentor.
"The opportunity to participate in ground-breaking research is extremely valuable for our students, giving them an unprecedented advantage for employment and graduate school," said Casey Lunceford, Dean of Arts and Sciences at IRSC. "To earn a paycheck and scholarship as well is truly exceptional, and we are very thankful for Torrey Pines' support."
Student salaries and scholarships are funded by Torrey Pines, with students earning $10 per hour and working 19 hours per week. The scholarship provides tuition for a semester, fees or textbooks. New students are selected each semester and students can also reapply on a semester-by-semester basis.
"I was fortunate to have had work-study opportunities during my education." said Dr. Richard Houghten, founder of, CEO and President of Torrey Pines Institute. "My work-study experiences profoundly influenced my future pathway as a scientist. We are extremely pleased with the quality of IRSC work-study students currently receiving hands-on experience in our biology and chemistry laboratories. We were able to match each student's interests with the many different areas of research being conducted at Torrey Pines Institute."
"It was an amazing opportunity, and I couldn't have asked for anything better," said Jennifer Davis, 21, of Hobe Sound.
A junior majoring in biology, Davis is working in Dr. Gregg Fields' lab on peptide synthesis related to the study of multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Eric Dorn, 28, of Fort Pierce, a sophomore interested in a nursing career, is developing insight into the causes of Alzheimer's through study of the plaques that cause the disease in the laboratory of Dr. Madepalli Lakshmana.
Melissa Williams, 23, of Port St. Lucie, is working with cells under the direction of Dr. Akihiko Ozawa to understand how cancer is caused by different types of proteins in the body.
"It's awesome to take what I have learned in college and use it here in the lab - I'm always learning," Ms. Williams said.
Students selected for the program must be at least 18 years old, have reliable transportation, and must complete specific biology and chemistry courses with a C or higher before applying. They should also submit a written letter of recommendation from a full-time IRSC Biology or Chemistry faculty member and complete an employment application for Torrey Pines Institute of Molecular Studies. For more information, contact the Arts and Sciences Depart at IRSC at (772) 462-7503.