The results are in! How the Howell Foundation’s partnership with the California State University Program for Education and Research (CSUPERB) is advancing women’s health.


“The experience that stands out most to me was the opportunity to attend a Howell luncheon and meet Dr. Howell and the other members of the Foundation. The experience was so inspirational and it meant so much to be able to share that opportunity with my mentor, Dr. Doran. It was truly an honor to be in the presence of so many proponents of women’s health.”  – Erin Fletcher (San Diego State University, 2013 Scholar)
This year marks the 15th anniversary of a partnership that was only logical:  two great organizations aligned to advance women’s health research through education, and provide opportunities for students who otherwise would not have access to careers in the biomedical research field. 

“CSUPERB believes that the best way to engage, recruit and retain students in life science careers is to provide access to and opportunities in real-world biotechnology research settings. We know that these experiences are particularly effective at engaging and retaining students who are the first in their families to attend college or are from communities underrepresented in the life sciences. By working with CSU faculty in the classroom and on research problems, students build a solid foundation for successful life science careers”, comments Susan Baxter, Executive Director, CSUPERB, and liaison between Cal State and The Doris A. Howell Foundation.

The Doris A. Howell Foundation grant allowed me fully immerse myself in my research rather than divide my time between research and a part time job. It allowed for a flexible research schedule amid my classes. It also had an enormous impact on the level of confidence I have regarding my research skills. After this experience I definitely feel capable of pursuing and succeeding in a career involving medical research.”      
– Kenya Covarrubias (CSU Fresno, 2013 Scholar)
Have you ever wondered how Howell Scholars are doing? Who are they?  In the last report to the Board of Directors of the Howell Foundation, Susan Baxter presented these key findings:
  • Howell Scholars are continuing on to careers in biomedical research and   healthcare:  89% of the 55 Howell Scholars who graduated between 2008 and 2014 were accepted into a graduate research program, medical school, professional healthcare program, or took a related job in the life science industry.
























  • 98.7% of Howell - CSUPERB Scholars (2008 – 2014) graduated or continued in their degree programs – 2.6 times greater rates than the average CSU STEM persistence and graduation rates. Considering that 91.3% do not have family members or close friends who work as a biotech, clinical or biomedical professional, the results of the Howell Scholars are exceptional!  


“I simply want to say thank you to my donor. You granted me an opportunity that would have been impossible without you. Your generosity will never be forgotten. Thank you for allowing me to participate in a research project which I could present at a conference, as well as help with funding my education.”
-
 Ashley Moran (CSU Long Beach, 2013 Scholar)
"The great opportunity that we offer our scholars resides in the students having the resources to continue engaging in their fields of studies --vs. finding a job -- and to experience hands-on laboratory research", comments Dr. Carole Banka, Chair of the Doris A. Howell Foundation

“… I was able to gain experience in the lab setting that I never would have obtained through my undergraduate studies alone. By participating in research, I have learned how to work with others as a team, how to read publications and apply the information to my own experimentation, and how to handle situations where experiments do not work as planned where it is necessary to apply other methods. I was able to attend research symposiums where I was able to learn about others’ research all over the state and the world. By working as a research scholar, I have become a better student, a better scientist, and more of a well-rounded individual.” - Samariah Bautch (CSU Fresno, 2014 Scholar)
By working alongside faculty and peer researchers, Howell Scholars learn the habits of mind and practices of biomedical researchers. In addition to running experiments, what do Howell Scholars do during their time in a research laboratory?















CSUPERB Scholars that graduated are working/practicing at:
  • University of Michigan, 
  • Camp Casco (a nonprofit organization, Howell alum is CEO), 
  • Stellar Biotechnologies, Inc., 
  • Medix, 
  • VAPA Health Care System, 
  • Zymo Research Corp., 
  • Scripps Research Institute, 
  • Indiana University School of Medicine, 
  • Bloch Chiropractic Wellness & Sports Medicine, 
  • Nanosys,
  •  Arizona Department of Public Safety Crime Laboratory, 
  • Agilent Technologies, 
  • Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, 
  • Eppendorf, Brooklyn NY (Palliative Care), 
  • Eurofins/ Air Toxics


A partnership that produces results.


 “Fifteen years ago, when the Howell Foundation and CSUPERB partnered to provide research scholarships, only a small number of undergraduate students had the opportunity to carry out cutting-edge biomedical research. Nationwide undergraduate research experiences are now considered ‘high impact practices’ linked to student engagement and persistence; as always – the Howell Foundation was ahead of the curve!” comments Baxter.
  
Based on the growing student impact data from the Howell Scholars program, CSUPERB and CSU campuses across the state have worked diligently – even during tough budget years during the Great Recession - to increase the number of undergraduate research experiences in the STEM fields.

“However, as we’ve seen, community organizations like the Howell Foundation are uniquely suited to recognize the importance of supporting young scientists, echoing Dr. Howell’s belief that the training of scientists needs to be the responsibility of the entire biomedical community,” Dr. Baxter explains.  “With support and leadership from the Howell Foundation, our faculty at San Diego State University have met Dr. Howell’s challenge and have been ‘student-centered’ in their efforts to recruit and train the next generation of women’s health professionals.  The Howell Foundation support allows us to do this - and at the same time - provide a high visibility example of ‘what works’ to campuses and departments across the Cal State system”, she concludes.
 
From 2001 and up until 2014, the Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research and CSUPERB have jointly awarded scholarships to 141 CSU undergraduate researchers.   It is always encouraging to hear the impact we’ve had on these young professionals:  
  • Alicia Zamudio Montes de Oca (San Diego State University, 2013 Scholar) received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Honorable Mention. 
  • Charles Mordaunt (CSU Fullerton, 2013 Scholar) is now a PhD student in the in the Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology graduate program at UC Davis. 
  • Matthew Dalphin (CSU Fullerton, 2014 Scholar) is now a doctoral student in the biophysics program at University of Wisconsin, Madison. 
  • Matthew Siracusa (CSU Fullerton, 2014 Scholar) was chosen to present as a Glen Nagel Award Finalist at the 2014 CSUPERB Research Symposium and went on to present his work at the 2013 Experimental Biology Conference in Boston. 
  • Kenya Covarrubias (CSU Fresno, 2013 Scholar) was selected to carry out collaborative research with faculty and students in the Physical Sciences and Mathematics Departments at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. 
  • Laura McIntyre (San Diego State University, 2013 Scholar) is now a doctoral student in the cell and molecular biology program at UC Irvine.
What keeps on encouraging our work and strengthening our partnership are the experiences of our Scholars: 

“… investigating the affect of alterations in channels transporting calcium in cardiomyocytes, my knowledge of women’s health was enhanced. I am a woman and like many others I thought heart disease was something only a man had to worry about. In actuality, heart disease is the leading cause of death among American women. Now more than ever, I understand the importance of having female researchers investigate diseases that affect women. I want to be one of those researchers so that one day my research might help improve the quality of life of women.” - Amanda Brambila (San Diego State University, 2014 Scholar)

“The biggest and most valuable part of this experience has been my increase in confidence and self-efficacy. From coming up with creative solutions to problems we encountered to building my presentation and speaking skills, I feel like I have grown as a student, researcher and a person. I now feel confident in my ability to see the "big picture" idea of sexual health and see how it translates into education, clinical practice, social media, pop culture, and research...I feel confident in my ability to peer educate people my age, my ability to have serious discussions with other professionals such as my mentor, and to present my ideas and defend my research decisions with clinicians such as the Medical Director of the Health Center. My transformation from mentee to independent researcher in only a short semester has proven to me that I have capabilities that I never thought possible.” - Cassandra Porter (CSU Chico, 2014 Scholar)

“A memory that I will always remember during my time as a Howell-CSUPERB scholar was when I presented my data to my lab. The results were amazing and… the whole lab was blown away. My lab members gave me great compliments and my advisor, Roland Wolkowicz, said he had goosebumps at how good the results were. I was surprised at the lab's response and at that time I first felt like a real science researcher. I am very grateful to Howell-CSUPERB program for this amazing experience.” – Yen Luu (San Diego State University, 2014 Scholar) 
Congratulations to all the Howell-CSUPERB students! Hear, hear to many more success stories in women’s health research! 


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About the Doris A. Howell Foundation: 
The Doris A. Howell Foundation for Women’s Health Research is committed to keeping the women we love healthy, advancing women’s health through research and educating women to be catalysts for improving family health in the community.

The organization does so by funding scholarships to students researching issues affecting women’s health; providing a forum for medical experts, scientists, doctors, and researchers to convey timely information on topics relevant to women’s health and the health of their families through its Lecture and Evening Series, and by funding research initiatives that improve the health of under-served women and increase awareness and advocacy in the community. 

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