August 25, 2000

Opportunities await new graduate students

Featured Image

Opportunities await new graduate students

It’s a program that keeps on growing. The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) will welcome its largest class ever — 81 new students — next week.

“This class is a sign of the success of the program built by Roger Chalkley,” said James G. Patton, Ph.D., associate professor of Biological Sciences and director of the IGP. Chalkley, senior associate dean for Biomedical Research Education and Training, launched the program in 1992 with 53 students. The average number of students for the first five years of the IGP was 48.

The increasing number of graduate students entering the program coincides with the growth of the research enterprise at Vanderbilt, Patton said.

“There are so many quality labs that can provide a student with solid training in top-notch facilities, run by renowned faculty,” he said. “These students will have new opportunities, facilities, and faculty that have never before been available to IGP students.”

The IGP recruits and educates graduate students who are interested in biological and biomedical research.

The program is responsible for organizing the training of these students during their first year at Vanderbilt. Subsequently, the students choose a mentor and a department to pursue their studies.

The IGP includes the seven basic science departments of the Medical Center, the department of Medicine, the Neuroscience graduate program, and the department of Biological Sciences in the College of Arts and Science. This year’s large IGP class resulted from a record-breaking recruiting year.

“The IGP and participating faculty did a great job convincing students to come to Vanderbilt once they agreed to visit us,” Patton said.

Of the 81 new students, 12 are from under-represented minority groups. In previous years, the average number of minority students was three. Patton noted the impact of the Minority Bridges Program, directed by Louis J. DeFelice, Ph.D., professor of Pharmacology, on attracting minority students.

Changes in the program this year include conversion of the first year core course to an internet-based course in which students get all of their schedules, lecture notes, handouts, and messages on the Web. In addition, students will start laboratory rotations within the first few days of entering the program, rather than after seven weeks as in previous years.