It was something that hit close to home for Wright State University neuroscience major Aston Waite III.
Waite, a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar, works in the lab of Clintoria Williams, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology, helping research the effects of zinc on the kidney. He has come to see how a lack of zinc plays a role in hypertensive effects and many other life-threatening diseases.
“I have known these instances to be an ongoing problem in the African American community and even my family,” Waite said. “Making that connection has allowed me to become more aware of why we do what we do when it comes to our research and helped me become optimistic in knowing that the research, we do can be beneficial to many people.”
The LSAMP Leadership and Academic Enhancement Program, named in honor of late Ohio Congressman Louis Stokes and active at Wright State since 2014, is a National Science Foundation-funded program that supports historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields. Enrollment in the program is reserved to a select and highly committed group of students majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
Waite learned about Wright State’s LSAMP opportunities, benefits and STEM-related campus activities at a college fair while attending Sinclair Community College.
After graduating from Sinclair with an associate degree in biology, Waite transferred as an LSAMP scholar to Wright State, attracted by the quality education offered at an affordable price and the many research opportunities and tools.
“I plan to use all that I have learned through research to pursue a career in medicine and continue the family legacy set forth by my mother, Dr. Jilian Waite, who graduated from the Boonshoft School of Medicine in 1996,” Waite said. “I believe legacy matters, especially at Wright State.”
Rob Cowles, coordinator of Wright State’s Pre-Professional Health Program, acts as a liaison to the Wright State grant and the Ohio LSAMP Alliance. Megan Rúa, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Nathan Klingbeil, professor of mechanical and materials engineering, represent Wright State on the LSAMP grant and work with faculty interested in serving as mentors in research labs.
Students and faculty who are interested in learning more about the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program at Wright State should contact Rob Cowles at firstname.lastname@example.org.