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.

As a private, national research university, Clarkson is a leader in technological education and sustainable economic development through teaching, scholarship, research and innovation. We ignite personal connections across academic fields and industries to create the entrepreneurial mindset, knowledge and intellectual curiosity needed to innovate world-relevant solutions and cultivate the leaders of tomorrow. With its main campus located in Potsdam, N.Y., and additional graduate program and research facilities in the New York Capital Region, Beacon, N.Y., and New York City, Clarkson educates 4,000+ students across 95 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, the arts, education, sciences and health professions. Our alumni earn salaries that are among the top 2% in the nation and realize accelerated career growth. One in five already leads as a CEO, senior executive or owner of a company. To learn more about Clarkson University, go to
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