A SHIP has Launched at Montclair State

New science honors program provides opportunities and support to top students

Photo: Mike Peters

The Montclair State University College of Science and Mathematics' SHIP program leaders and students pose with representatives from Merck and Roche.

Some of the best and brightest aspiring student scientists at Montclair State University's College of Science and Mathematics (CSAM)  presented their research and thanked their funders at a Science Honors Innovation Program (SHIP) Funders' Breakfast on November 3. The SHIP program, made possible through generous grants from Merck and The Roche Foundation, offers undergraduate students an unparalleled opportunity to become involved in the research community, get a head start on graduate school, and to compete for awards, fellowships, and admission into top PhD programs.

Directed by Philip Yecko, associate professor of mathematical sciences, SHIP is a two-year honors program for junior-year students with a focus on research and innovation, and with one-on-one mentoring from faculty members. SHIP also provides financial support for student research, travel to conferences and workshops, and summer stipends.

“The SHIP program is just over two months old and we’ve already made some major progress,” Yecko told the visitors. “We have twelve excellent students, all at various stages of their research. We also have a sequence of four courses—which are now moving through curriculum committee—with “SHIP” as a moniker. So this will appear on their transcripts indicating a serious commitment on the students’ part.”

The representatives from Merck and Roche were given the opportunity to see and hear first-hand how their funding was being used as five of the SHIP students discussed their research. With research topics ranging from “The Effect of World Trade Center Dust on Human Lung Cells,” presented by Sung H. Choi, to “Phytoplankton and Algal Bloom Management,” by Stephanie Lear, the breadth and significance of the student’s research was apparent.

Also presenting at the breakfast were Michael Cohrs (“Oscillations, Auto-rotation and Energy”), Anita Trajkovska (“Investigating the Source of Sediment in New Jersey Streams”), and Daniel Traum (“Analysis of the Effect of Theaflavins on Herpes Simplex Virus – 1 Infection of Cultured Vero Cells”).

Although a highly competitive program, CSAM Dean Robert Prezant expects enrollment in SHIP to grow. “The initial cohort is 12 students, all juniors,” he said. “Next year we’ll have a cohort of 24, 12 juniors and 12 seniors. We are looking forward to this program being a long term success story.”

More information about the program and biographies of current SHIP students are available at SHIP.