National Institutes of Health Awards Clarkson University ESTEEMED Grant to Advance the Diversity of the Bioengineering Workforce

May 9, 2023

A new pathway for students to learn about bioengineering research is coming to Clarkson University.

a student in a lab coat and glasses uses lab equipment under red lighting
A student working in the lab.

Clarkson has been awarded $660,475 by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health as part of its Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Educational Diversity (ESTEEMED) Research Education Experiences program.

With this grant, the university will launch the Bioengineering Research Education to Accelerate Innovation in STEM (BOREALIS) Scholars program aimed at preparing a diverse cadre of students for careers in biomedical research. The program will be led by Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering Laurel Kuxhaus, Assistant Professor of STEM Education, Melissa Richards, and Associate Professor Ali Boolani.  

“This is a fantastic opportunity for students in the North Country to consider a career in biomedical research or bioengineering, and to learn how engineering skills can be used to directly improve quality of life for people in our regional community,” said Kuxhaus.

Three students per year will begin the program and will receive intensive mentoring, a hands-on introduction to laboratory research, and paid research experiences as first- and second-year undergraduate students. The BOREALIS Scholars Program will educate, encourage, and support the students to enter the bioengineering workforce by creating a pathway to bioengineering graduate study. Students will also be provided a series of educational experiences including a summer bridge program, first and second academic-year activities, and paid summer research experiences at the interface of engineering and medicine.

“A key strength of this program is that students will receive training in research methods from both a clinical and engineering perspective,” said Boolani. “This will prepare them to think holistically and develop practical solutions to real-world clinical problems.”  

A distinguishing feature of the BOREALIS Scholars program will be comprehensive training on the science of effective mentoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) for both the students and mentors.

“This program will build upon Clarkson’s strong history of welcoming sociodemographically diverse students to campus and ensuring that they have the necessary mentoring support and engineering skills to pursue their life’s work. I look forward to working with these Scholars on campus,“ said Richards.

Clarkson University is a proven leader in technological education, research, innovation and sustainable economic development. With its main campus in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the Capital Region and Hudson Valley, Clarkson faculty have a direct impact on more than 7,800 students annually through nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate STEM designated degrees in engineering, business, science and health professions; executive education, industry-relevant credentials and K-12 STEM programs. Alumni earn salaries among the top 2% in the nation: one in five already leads in the c-suite. To learn more go to
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