In partnership with the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the CASA offers the SLOAN Fellowship.
Through a pilot program funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the CASA-Sloan program places focuses on guiding STEM undergraduates into PhD programs and successful careers. The overarching goal of the CASA-Sloan program is to increase the number of Georgia State undergraduates who progress to PhD programs in STEM fields, ultimately diversifying the STEM professoriate and workforce.
- Tobi Quadri
- Mariana Holguin Lopez
- Jovany Louis
- Shyanna Lowers
- X-zavyer Smith
Through a pilot grant on innovative approaches to the recruitment of bright students in pathways toward research careers, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (www.sloan.org) provided five research opportunities for students already working on research teams. The project is managed in the new Center for the Advancement for Students and Alumni (CASA) at Georgia State University. Kyle Frantz and Lisa Armistead are Co-Principal Investigators
Nominated undergraduates must be…
1. in good standing, majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Geosciences, Mathematics & Statistics, Neuroscience, or Physics & Astronomy;
2. identifying with a demographic group that remains under-represented among STEM professionals (African American/Black, Native Alaskan/Hawaiian/American, Hispanic/Latinx, Pell Grant recipient, First-in-Family to attend college, and/or graduated from a rural or urban high school with no honors/IB/AP course options);
3. able to demonstrate a passion for STEM research and clear intentions to pursue a PhD soon after college;
4. already working on your team, ready to continue in a paid position with higher intensity, and not already paid through a different mechanism for this work;
5. available to continue work with you as an undergraduate through December 2019 (i.e. may be planning to graduate in December 2019, but not before).
Initially, I had been involved in research merely through my work with my Principal Investigator and mentors. However, this changed tremendously when I was accepted into CASA. Suddenly, I was surrounded by bright individuals, speakers, and professors all in the pursuit of the same thing; advancement of science and the advocates of it. I have had many experiences and have learned a great deal about what it means to be a scientist beyond the individual work. I would recommend CASA to anyone who has a genuine interest in furthering their understanding in academia. – X-zavyer Smith, CASA-Sloan Fellow
2020 CASA-Sloan Research Assistant: X-zavyer Smith
CASA: What motivated you to get involved in undergraduate research?
X-zavyer Smith: I wanted to immerse myself in the scientific field and one of the ways to do that was to pursue research. I also wanted to at least experience what research was and learn how it could further my own development.
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?
X-zavyer Smith: I am involved in a Neurobiology lab. I have been a protein channel (HCN2) and its trafficking peptide (SUMO) during chronic inflammation in neurons. Because HCN2 can affect the activity of neurons during inflammation, I wanted to see if the relationship between HCN2 and SUMO change during inflammatory periods. I am using immunoassays and microscopy to identify and quantify the levels of HCN2 and SUMO. Currently, I have found that one isoform of SUMO does not significantly change, relative to its control, 1-day post induced inflammation.
CASA: What are some challenges or roadblocks you’ve faced while conducting research?
X-zavyer Smith: The time dedication to research proved difficult to me in different facets of my life. Conflicts between studying and conducting research definitely presented often. I would also occasionally find the time dedication to research putting a strain on my social life, but it was trivial at best.
CASA: Which advanced degree are you pursuing? (Master’s, PhD, MD, JD, PA, etc.)
X-zavyer Smith: I am currently pursuing a MD, or possibly a MD/PhD.
CASA: What is your biggest achievement so far? Or something that’s challenged you?
X-zavyer Smith: I have recently completed my Honors Thesis. Working on this allowed me to incorporate all of the data I have acquired into a coherent.