By Jared Lindell
Community Foundation grants provide approximately $1.5 million each year and reach out to many different segments of the community. While most of these grants are awarded within Chautauqua County, there are cases where grants are awarded outside the county to benefit Chautauqua County students. Such is the case with Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Research Participation Program in Science for Young Scholars.
The Roswell Park Cancer Institute is widely known as a comprehensive cancer research and treatment center located in Buffalo, New York. The Institute’s goals are to provide state-of-the-art medical care and treatment to cancer patients, conduct research into the causes of cancer, the treatment and prevention of cancer, and to educate the public and the next generation of those who study and treat cancer. Looking specifically at the last part of these goals, the Institute has offered a program for over 50 years to provide summer science education for high school, college, medical and dental students.
The program, which is called the Research Participation Program in Science for Young Scholars, provides approximately 30 high school students, 25 college students, and 20 medical/dental students, each year, the opportunity to attend Roswell Park during summer break to develop skills, habits, and attitudes needed to conduct scientific research and assist in career planning. The high school level students attend the program for seven weeks and must be at least juniors, with a strong ability and interest in science. Once in the program, each student works on an independent research project under the guidance of Roswell Park scientific staff for four days each week and spends the fifth day attending lectures, classes and seminars. At the end of the program, all students must prepare critiques on the various lectures they have attended and present the research project results during a science conference, to justify what they have learned.
The bottom line with this program is that local students are receiving hands-on education in a very important field of study in cancer research. Additionally, Roswell Park has made a conscious effort to reach out to local students in hopes that they can foster these students, provide them with a certain level of knowledge and expertise, and uncover a passion within the medical/scientific field that can one day be used to help residents of Western New York.
To provide the opportunity for a student from Chautauqua County to attend this summer educational program, the Community Foundation made a Field of Interest Grant to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The granted monies will be used as a scholarship for a Chautauqua County high school student to pay for the cost of attending the summer program.
Roswell Park knows all too well the importance of cancer treatment, research, and prevention. However, they are also in impassioning and educating future cancer researchers, which is the next step in bringing quality care to Western New York and the local community. Educating local students has always been critical to the Community Foundation’s mission of “enriching the quality of life in the Chautauqua Region,” and this program goes a long way in providing a service for the next generation in need.
Published in the September 2 edition of The Post-Journal