Dr. Kam Leads Collaboration with Brookhaven National Lab
For the past 12 years, Dr. Murty Kambhampati, a biology professor at Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), has taken students to the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, NY to conduct research. This collaboration between SUNO and Brookhaven provides minority undergraduate students with hands-on opportunities to learn about natural resource management while developing the foundations for graduate studies.
The fascinating part of the story is how the collaboration developed. Dr. Kambhampati, also affectionately called “Dr. Kam,” had a chance meeting with Noel Blackburn, manager of university relations and Department of Energy (DOE) programs at Brookhaven, during the Emerging Researchers National Conference in summer 2006. As part of his job, Blackburn is responsible for reaching out to historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s).
The day before the conference ended, Blackburn tried to convince Dr. Kam’s colleague and physics professor, Dr. Joe Omojola, to come to Brookhaven Lab. However, Dr. Omojola thought Dr. Kam would be a better fit. That conversation gave birth to the collaboration that continues today – 12 years later.
The first summer, Dr. Kam took two of his biology students to conduct research at Brookhaven Lab. This research provided the students with the scientific expertise they need for natural resource management as well as built their self-esteem and confidence and changed the manner in which they approached their schoolwork.
“Something as simple and nonscientific as successfully getting a bee into a collection vial can go a long way in boosting their confidence,” Dr. Kambhampati said in a recent article* written by Ariana Tantillo and published on the Brookhaven National Lab Web site. “Back on campus, they feel more at ease answering questions and interacting with their professors in the classroom and begin to explore other opportunities that will allow them to advance their skills.”
To date, 35 students have gone to Brookhaven. Nearly half of the 35 students have gone on to pursue master’s or doctoral degrees, which led to careers as research scientists, medical doctors, toxicologists, pharmacists, nurses and science teachers. Several students also have won national recognition and awards.
*See the full article at https://www.bnl.gov/newsroom/news.php?a=212989