New paid undergraduate opportunity for sciences

Students majoring in behavioral, biomedical or any health advocacy areas have a new option to help them find a career with the partnership of Build Poder at Pierce.

Build Poder stands for Building Infrastructure to Diversity and Promoting Opportunities for Diversity in Education and Research is a paid undergraduate program from CSUN that prepares students for their careers in the field. The program focuses on helping students of low-income and ethnic backgrounds get hands-on experience and work directly with a mentor on research projects related to health.

Daniel Mulato, a recruiter for the program, gave information to students about Build Poder at an informational session on Oct. 4 in the Great Hall.

“The experience that you gain here at Build Poder is extremely valuable. You get the experience you typically get at a masters program learning through research, learning the lingo,” Mulato said. “How to gather that data, how to present that data on a poster board and presenting that at conferences and networking with other professionals already in the field.”

They’re currently working with five community colleges: Pierce, Pasadena, Valley, Mission, and East Los Angeles College.

According to Yadira Hernandez, another recruiter, they started with12 students a year ago when the program first launched and now have more than 100 students enrolled.

“It’s a very intense program, students are doing research nine hours a week, and on top of that, they have to balance their class work,” Hernandez said. “As community college students, they’re not used to balance, so time management can be the hardest as they’re conducting research, but we definitely provide a lot of help like tutoring and professional development.”

The program is funded by National Institutes of Health (NIH) so any student enrolled while attending a community college will receive $734 in monthly funds from the program so they’re able to focus on their research as if they had a part-time job to support them. If students wish to continue the program at CSUN, their monthly funds will increase to $1,250.

Students will also be able to travel to national conferences to showcase their work all over the country. According to Mulato, students have traveled to Massachusetts, Hawaii and Texas at no personal expense.

Angel Belden, professor of psychology, attended the session and shared more information about what they have to offer. She is working with the program and counseling students at Pierce.

“We can’t send people internationally, but that’s the sort of thing we’re working on,” Belden said. “It depends on your mentor and what they think is appropriate, they may suggest here are some local, regional, national conferences.”

A two-hour session with a personal mentor and nine hours of research work is expected weekly from students enrolled. A student must also maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above to be eligible.

Although it’s not an obligation to transfer to CSUN after participating in this program at Pierce, those who do you will have benefits such as priority registration, a personal tutor, access to a private computer lab and 60 percent of tuition paid at the university.

“We really want our students to be focused on learning and not having to worry about work or money,” Mulato said.

For students interested in getting more information about the program, there will be two more informational sessions in the Great Hall on Nov. 29 from 11 a.m. to noon and on Nov. 30 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Applications for enrollment will be open from Jan. 1, 2017 to March 3, 2017.