Cornell Initiative for Maximizing Student Development

Principal Investigator: Avery August

Department of Microbiology and Immunology
Sponsor: NIH-National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Grant Number: 3R25GM125597-03S1
Title: Cornell Initiative for Maximizing Student Development
Project Amount: $60,534
Project Period: May 2020 to April 2021

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): 

This supplemental funding is to develop a novel short course that focuses on Ideation. The Cornell IMSD aims to increase the number of both underrepresented minority students and disabled students, in biological and biomedical science graduate programs at Cornell, while also preparing them for successful future careers. Over the past 2 years of the programs’ existence, we have realized that students are seeking opportunities to move from undergraduate focused learning to graduate focused creativity. In particular, they are interested in the process of “ideation”, a creative process of generating, developing, and communicating new ideas. In addition, our students are interested in how they can continue to build on Cornell’s efforts to promote an inclusive research environment. Utilizing key elements of design thinking applied to STEM research, we will provide Cornell-IMSD Scholars with the tools to: Empathize (Understanding the human needs involved); Design (Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways); Ideate (Creating many ideas in ideation sessions), Prototype (Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping) and Test & Implement (Developing a prototype/solution to the problem). This novel interactive short course will be conducted over the summer (8 weeks, with follow up through the academic year) to comprehensively address all aspects of ideation. In order to challenge the students and the process Cornell IMSD scholars will be split into two teams that will work on the same research topic related to diversity and inclusion that is of relevance to biomedical science research, infrastructure, and accessibility. This course will provide Scholars with the tools to identify new ways to of enhancing diversity and inclusion in biomedical science research, infrastructure, and accessibility. At the same time, they will learn how to apply their current or future research to solve real-life challenges, while also embracing failure as a learning and growth experience from which to build. At the end of the course, Scholars will be able to foster collaborative research community-building, innovation, and intellectual innovation in emerging thematic spaces; encourage bold and disruptive research thinking across disciplines and develop roadmaps for future research design and implications, proposal development and submission.