We welcomed 60 STAR (Scientific Training and Research) program students to Pharmacology so they could see what it’s like to be in a research lab and to meet real scientists!

STAR program students had their first ever field trip to UNC to let them get an actual experience inside a research lab and to talk to scientists who do interesting research every day.  Many of the students have a misconception of who scientists are, and so exposure is very important!

Natalie Hewitt Valentin and Lucas Aponte-Collazo, graduate students in the pharmacology department, founded the Scientific Training and Research (STAR) program in 2018. They are currently in the pilot year of their program. This week’s field trip involved 60 students ranging in age from 4 yrs old to middle school age.

STAR students in the Dohlman Lab

The goal of the program is to provide hands-on scientific training by performing experiments with the students every month at their school — the ACA ( Adventist Christian Academy) in Raleigh. The students get to do experiments with Lucas and Natalie monthly but the goal for their field trip was to expose them to science and research at a young age rather than just reading about it in textbooks. Their overall goal is to let the students in the program see that truly anyone can be a scientist one day!

The students visited the Dohlman lab in the Pharmacology Department and the lab of Sharon Campbell in the Biochemistry and Biophysics department. The students also visited the Caron lab and the Microscopy core. The students also heard short presentations by graduate students from various departments.

Kudos to Lucas and Natalie for organizing this STAR program and field trip!

Here are some more pics from the field trip.  Click to enlarge.