NSF Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program

I am happy to announce that Ms. Deborah Dorcemus, an IRE graduate student, was recently awarded the National Science Foundation’s prestigious LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Fellowship. The LSAMP program is funded by the National Science Foundation and focuses on strengthen the participation, representation and success of underrepresented minorities in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Fellows receive two years of funding under the program with an additional three years provided by their advisors.

After graduating high school in 2008, Deborah chose to attend the University of Connecticut for her degree in Biomedical Engineering. Throughout her four years of undergraduate work, Deborah was heavily involved with several organizations that promote the professional development and academic success of students and minorities interested in the STEM fields. Deborah also held the positions of secretary, vice president, and president of the UConn chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers.

Upon receiving her Bachelor of Science in May 2012, she decided to continue on her academic path and enrolled in UConn’s Graduate program for her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering with a focus in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine. With the support of her advisor, Dr. Syam P. Nukavarapu (IRE faculty member), she is nearing completion of her first year of graduate studies. In addition to her lab and school work, Deborah volunteers with the Engineering Graduate Dean’s Office, under the supervision of Aida Ghiaei, and works with students from technical high schools who come to UConn in hopes of becoming engineers. Deborah’s thesis work involves utilizing tissue engineering strategies to develop 3D matrixes that would regenerate osteochondral (functional bone and cartilage) tissue. In order to achieve this, she will use a polymer-hydrogel matrix to deliver growth factors that would cue the tissue to a specific formation. In the end, this structure will serve to replace damaged or arthritic tissue which is an area of great need among the elderly as well as athletes.