Samford University student Edgar Flores of Boaz, Alabama, has been accepted into the prestigious Big Data Analytics Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Summer program at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The program will pay Flores $5,000 to spend 10 weeks building his computational skills on a bioinformatics research project this summer.
“This opportunity will help me to obtain knowledge and research experience in that interest, which will help me to understand if bioinformatics is a topic I would like to pursue in graduate school,” Flores said.
Flores is a student in Samford’s STEM Scholars program, which uses a grant from the National Science Foundation to help community college students turn their two-year experience into a four-year science or math degree from Alabama’s top private university. He came to Samford from Sneed State Community College, and found a way to combine his interests in biology and computer science, and work with faculty on research projects. He said that opportunity and the personal attention of his professors are helping him achieve his academic goals.
“The people involved in this program really want to see me succeed,” Flores said. “Before Samford, I never had the opportunity to experience research, so I thought the process of being accepted into a summer research experience would be harder on me. Because of this program, I had the mentoring and recommendations I needed.”
In addition to earning a place in the REU summer program, Flores was recently named a Samford STEM Scholars Ambassador and STEM Honors Scholar for 2017–18. The latter award provides a $250 book allowance for each semester in the 2017–18 academic year, and gives Flores the opportunity to serve as a mentor and tutor for incoming STEM scholars.
Sean Flynt is executive director of external relations for Howard College of Arts and Sciences.
Tamika Braxton is administrative coordinator in Samford’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences.