Yale Celebrates Ten Years of STARS with Support from Boehringer Ingelheim
For 10 years the STARS (Science, Technology and Research Scholars) program at Yale University, supported by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), has provided Yale students with an integrated experience in research, course-based study and development of mentorship skills.
STARS identifies and supports students in Yale’s natural sciences and engineering majors who come from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in science, including racial and ethnic minorities, women and physically challenged students.
Begun in 1995 with initial and continuing funding from HHMI as STARS I, a program for first- and second-year students, the program now includes STARS II for juniors and seniors. More than 100 students each year participate in the academic year and summer STARS programs, which have been led from the beginning by Iona Black, academic director and lecturer in chemistry at Yale.
The expansion from a relatively limited program to a comprehensive set of opportunities open to many Yale students has been due in large part to generous financial support from BIPI. They have also provided summer internships as opportunities for students in the STARS program.
According to Peter Salovey, dean of Yale College and Chris Argyris Professor of Psychology, “Such exposure to laboratory work at a leading pharmaceutical company further enhances the preparation that the STARS program provides. Moreover, these interns return to Yale with valuable experience and insights to share with their fellow students in the sciences.” Pamela George, assistant dean of Yale College, is the administrative director of STARS.
Beyond the lab and the classroom, STARS students participate in many broadly enriching activities. Special dinners bring together the students and scientists in multiple disciplines from Yale and other schools. Graduate and medical school panels mentor and provided guidance in career development, and STARS scholars are encouraged to attend national and regional science conferences.
According to a broad survey of STARS alumni graduating from Yale between 1999 and 2005, the scholars were particularly supported by the community of scientists and administrators and noted that the hands-on research experience of the program had a profound impact on their career paths and professional lives after college. Students who participate in STARS I and continue on to summer research fellowships and/or STARS II are almost seven times as likely as non-STARS students to continue in the sciences, when other factors are controlled.
“The impact of STARS is shown in the success of our scholars winning prestigious fellowships, advancing to the strongest graduate and professional programs and publishing research in top journals,” said Andrew D. Hamilton, Yale Provost and Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry at Yale. “We are grateful for Boehringer Ingelheim’s generous continuing support.”