Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) student Brandon Clark ’18 participated in the Amgen Foundation’s prestigious Amgen Scholars Program, an international summer program that provides undergraduates interested in careers in science with hands-on research experience in top organizations across the country.
During the program, students work on research projects under leading faculty in areas ranging from biochemistry and medical pharmacology to physiological psychology and toxicology. They also attend seminars and networking events, hear firsthand from leading scientists working in the industry and academia, and share their summer research projects with their peers. Clark was one of nearly 350 students selected from a pool of 5,600 candidates worldwide to work with 17 leading educational and research institutions across the United States, Europe, and Japan.
Clark, who is double majoring in chemical engineering and electrical and computer engineering, conducted research under Bradley Olsen of the chemical engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their work focused on bioinspired and biofunctional polymers, which involves chemically linking proteins and polymers to make them self-assemble into ordered materials in a solution. The premise of this work is useful in multiple biochemical processes, including catalyzing reactions.
A resident of Attleboro, Mass., Clark says the experience of being an Amgen Scholar has increased his independence, helped him make connections with peers who share similar passions and talents, and challenged his research.
“I feel that I have a very wide educational breadth after this summer,” says Clark, who will be a senior in the fall. “I also have tightened up my ability to be a confident, creative researcher in a lab environment. I think being at another university of such intellectual vitality has improved my motivation and dedication tremendously.”
Eduardo Cetlin, president of the Amgen Foundation, said the scholars gain practical experience that serves them well in future activities.
“Providing hands-on experience is critical to nurturing students’ interest in science and scientific careers. Fulfilling the promise of biotechnology to discover medicines that improve human health starts with excellent science education,” says Cetlin.
After he graduates in May 2018, Clark plans to attend graduate school and become a professor. “I would like to study alternative energy and bioremediation technologies,” he said. “I would also like to be part of a sustainable development organization in the future.”
In addition to his individual research experience, Clark and about 20 other MIT Amgen Scholars attended the U.S. summer symposium hosted at the University of California, Los Angeles, and at Amgen in July. This opportunity allowed Clark the chance to meet fellow scholars from other institutions, discuss their research projects, and learn more about biotechnology.
Since 2006, the Amgen Scholars Program has provided hands-on research opportunities under world-renowned faculty mentors to more than 3,500 undergraduate students. Ninety-four percent of the program’s alumni who have completed their bachelor’s degree are currently pursuing an advanced degree or career in a scientific field. For more information about Amgen Scholars, visit www.AmgenScholars.com.
About the Amgen Foundation
The Amgen Foundation seeks to advance excellence in science education to inspire the next generation of innovators, and invest in strengthening communities where Amgen staff members live and work. To date, the Foundation has donated over $250 million to local, regional, and international nonprofit organizations that impact society in inspiring and innovative ways. The Amgen Foundation brings the excitement of discovery to the scientists of tomorrow through several signature programs, including Amgen Scholars, Amgen Biotech Experience, and Amgen Teach. For more information, visit www.AmgenInspires.com and follow us on Twitter @AmgenFoundation.