Onorato will be working with at least 10 other students and Dr. Wessel from Brown University to study egg-sperm binding in starfish. Students will learn how to keep an ePortfolio to keep track of their experiment documentation and one student will be selected from the group to spend 10 weeks at Brown University’s Biology lab in Providence, Rhode Island, to continue research.
The project is funded by a three-year grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences to Brown University.
“I cannot stress enough the importance of this program,” Onorato said. “I strongly believe that enrichment of the science curriculum at the community college level will significantly contribute to the mending of the broken pipelines leading to underrepresented students achieving graduate degrees in the biomedical sciences.”
Oronato plans on introducing aspects of his research from this intensive program into his everyday biology class at LaGuardia Community College. He says that the program is not only beneficial to the students, but also extremely exciting for him as well.
“This is a unique learning opportunity for me,” he said. “Along with being mentored by Dr. Wessel, my students, who might know a bit more about the techniques than I, will be training me. This experience is removing the barrier of the faculty-student relationship by having the student become a fellow colleague and co-researcher.”