The Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) program at Georgia State University is an undergraduate research education and training program grounded in several of our research-focused STEM departments. Funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the goal of MARC is to help prepare students from underrepresented groups for careers in biomedical research, starting with undergraduate research and moving directly into Master’s and PhD programs in related fields. The program pays tuition and a stipend, includes funding to conduct research at Harvard or Vanderbilt during the second summer in the program, and requires taking specialized honors courses.
- Lauren Ekeleme
- Jacob Holmes
- Javier Palacios
- Tuyen Tran
- Constance Wilson
- Full-time, baccalaureate degree-seeking student at Georgia State University
- Major in Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science (Public Health), Neuroscience, Psychology, or Biomedical Science and Enterprise (BIS) – Pre-med students are not supported by MARC
- GPA of 3.5 or higher, in the Honors College or eligible to join the Honors College
- Motivated to conduct research with a faculty member, although prior research experience is not required
- Expected graduation with bachelor’s degree in Spring 2022
- U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or permanent resident
- Individuals from demographic groups underrepresented in STEM fields are especially encouraged to apply (including those who identify as African American/African descent/Black, Hispanic/Latino/Latina, Pacific Islander, Native Hawaiian, or Native Alaskan, individuals with documented disabilities, students receiving Pell Grant financial aid, and/or first-generation college-bound students)
- All applicants must be hard-working, collaborative, persistent, and curious, with high attention to detail and good time management skills
I had so many dreams but had no idea how to achieve them. Then I found the CASA. I interviewed for a fellowship called MARC, and I earned a spot! Everything changed. I started receiving support ranging from mentor relationship-building to the graduate school application process. I am sincerely grateful to everyone in the CASA for their time and dedication to helping students achieve even their loftiest ambitions. Now, all those dreams I had are goals I am set to attain in the coming years. Thank you, CASA! – Jacob Holmes, MARC
2020 MARC Research Assistant: Jacob Holmes
CASA: What motivated you to get involved in undergraduate research?
Jacob Holmes: Getting into undergraduate research seemed like a great way to get involved, meet other students interested in similar topics, and figure out if research was something I wanted to do as a career
CASA: In layman’s terms, tell us a bit about your research project. What is your general field? What research questions are you asking? What kinds of methods are you using to answer those questions? What are your preliminary results, if you have any so far?
Jacob Holmes: I am working towards my BS/MS in Neuroscience, and I study a specific type of neuron implicated in several deficiencies that patients with schizophrenia suffer from. To investigate these neurons, I work with mice and watch the neuronal activity in real-time using a humongous two-photon microscope! So far, we have found that a specific type of interneuron, somatostatin-positive interneurons (SOMs), plays a crucial role in detecting unexpected environmental cues. Detecting these unexpected stimuli can pose processing issues for patients who have schizophrenia.
CASA: What are some challenges or roadblocks you’ve faced while conducting research?
Jacob Holmes: Learning to write scientifically has been an essential yet difficult challenge I have faced while conducting research.
CASA: Which advanced degree are you pursuing? (Master’s, PhD, MD, JD, PA, etc.)
Jacob Holmes: The CASA has helped me in deciding that my goal is to enter a Medical Scientists Training Program (MSTP) to earn a dual MD/Ph.D. I love working with people and also want to continue to engage in research, and finding out that working clinically and behind the scenes in research was an option was a pivotal moment in my life.
CASA: What is your biggest achievement so far? Or something that’s challenged you?
Jacob Holmes: The MARC Fellowship I was awarded by the CASA is my greatest achievement. I earned a spot in a Harvard (yes, that Harvard) summer program through MARC, I have presented at a thesis pitch competition, and I completed an honors thesis all thanks to the help and support afforded to me by the CASA.