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$20,000 Bristol-Myers Squibb Grant Expands Student Research Opportunities

Jul 05, 2018

A tube containing a sample of saliva from a therapy dog named Trixie.
Credit: Delaware Valley University. Kelly Gruber ’18 holds a cortisol sample from Trixie, a therapy dog. Gruber examined stress levels in therapy dogs to help improve the experience for the animals as part of DelVal’s Student Research course. 

Bristol-Myers Squibb, a leading biopharma company, has awarded a $20,000 grant to Delaware Valley University to fund Student Research. In DelVal’s Student Research course, undergraduates spend a semester exploring a topic of their choosing under the guidance of a faculty mentor. They form and test hypotheses and present their results to the University community.

“We are grateful to have a company like Bristol-Myers Squibb investing in tomorrow’s STEM leaders,” said DelVal Professor Dr. Cynthia Keler. “Hands-on, real-world experiences like student research help students gain the skills they need to achieve their dreams. The experience from this course is valuable for graduate school, professional school or, a career in academic or industry research.” 

While the course is open to all majors, the grant funding will go to students with projects related specifically to biology, chemistry, agriculture, animal biotechnology and conservation, environmental sciences and animal science. The grant will allow students to explore projects that would otherwise be too costly, covering expenses such as materials and equipment, and will allow more students to participate. 

Student Research is a special course offered through DelVal’s Experience360 Program, which focuses on providing students with a chance to apply concepts they’re learning about in the classroom through hands-on experiences. Through a variety of activities offered through the E360 Program, 100 percent of the University’s undergraduates gain real-world experience before they graduate. 

Enrollment in the Student Research course has grown substantially since it was first offered the fall of 2010. During the 2017 to 2018 academic year, 62 undergraduate students (22 in the fall and 40 in the spring semester) participated in the course. The grant will allow for even greater participation by undergraduates in student research.

“Without Bristol-Myers Squibb’s generous support this growth wouldn’t have been possible,” said Dr. Keler. “This support is helping DelVal students experience scientific research firsthand.”

"Bristol-Myers Squibb is proud to support the students of Delaware Valley University to help foster a passion for science and research," said Dr. Luisa Salter-Cid, head of Discovery Biology Immunology, Immuno-Oncology Small Molecule, and Genomics at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Through providing hands-on, inquiry-based research opportunities to undergraduates, our goal is to motivate students with diverse experiences to consider STEM careers as they make choices for their future.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s philanthropic support of science and technology education focuses on hands-on, inquiry-centered and experiential learning activities that help students better understand and apply advanced scientific concepts. The 2018 grant brings the company’s total funding of undergraduate research at DelVal to $160,000.