Discovering a novel mechanism for cancer progression, identifying a target for stopping cancer, finding small molecules that could be designed as therapeutic agents are the typical kinds of research endeavors that engage undergraduate students of SUNY Old Westbury’s Institute for Cancer Research and Education (ICaRE). And, the students have been an integral part of ICaRE since its inception.
ICaRE’s research provides students with an opportunity to investigate cutting edge work with various Faculty. Our students are enthralled with the research inquiry process and discovery. They express the thrill of doing an experiment to find out for the first time results previously unknown. They excitedly repeat experiments again and again, confirming the results. They’ve learned to ask new questions and set up experiments to answer these questions. The explorations have led to students to identify in greater detail the molecular mechanisms that link obesity to prostate cancer, and the potential of nano molecular complexes for therapeutic drug treatment. Another laboratory is interested in mechanistic studies on enzymes that are important therapeutic targets in various cancers.
The students are amazed to find themselves growing from inexperienced learners to expert time managers, juggling classes, and clubs and meeting experimental timelines. They learn to work in teams that effectively expedite the project. They enjoy owning a project and taking responsibility for planning it.
They learn to communicate and present their findings in state-wide and national conferences, often returning to campus as the proud recipients of accolades and honors. Students are co-author on publications with their faculty mentors. Moreover, this experiential learning includes the option to earn course credits within their respective degree programs.
Throughout this exciting research journey at SUNY Old Westbury, our laboratories has also provided undergraduate students opportunities to gain leadership experience, as well by hosting high school students in the summer for an immersive research experience with various faculty. Undergraduate students get a chance to mentor the high school students and pass on the skills they have acquired in research and share their experiences as college students pursuing graduate school.