Rider announces first MacMillan Scientific Research Fellowship recipients

Wednesday,May 18, 2022

The new program provides stipends for summer research and beyond

by Diane Cornell

Rider University has announced the first recipients of The MacMillan Scientific Research Fellowship, an award that provides funding to undergraduate students conducting research in science and technology.

This academic year’s recipients are seniors Eric Eaton, a computer science major researching traffic data using artificial intelligence; Hailey Senior, a health science major exploring laboratory techniques to assess carotid blood flow; and Stessie Chounone, an environmental science major studying tree ring measurements to explore climate change in Southeast Asia.

The students will each receive a $3,000 stipend for research conducted over the summer term and a $1,500 stipend to work on their research during the academic year. They were selected by a committee of faculty members including Drs. Alexander Grushow, John Guers and Gabriela Smalley.

“This fellowship allows our students who have not had an opportunity to conduct research to focus solely on their research project, without the burden of an additional student job or other financial concerns,” says Dean Kelly Bidle. “Lack of funding is a top reason students cite for not continuing their research. Undergraduate study is enriched by working in the lab early and often.”

Rider announces first MacMillan Scientific Research Fellowship recipients

At Rider, undergraduate science and technology students have the opportunity to conduct independent research under the guidance of expert faculty. Students gain knowledge and experience using advanced techniques that are typically not introduced until graduate study.

Rider students may begin to work in professors’ laboratories as early as their first year. This type of hands-on experience fosters critical thinking and further develops analytical skills, broadening and deepening classroom learning.

“By working directly with professors in faculty classrooms and research labs, our students have co-authored research papers and presented findings at national professional meetings and conferences,” says Bidle. “We are proud that such opportunities enable our students to be admitted into graduate programs of their choice.”

In the last several years, Rider students have gone on to further study at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Brown University, Princeton University, Vanderbilt University, the Scripps Research Institute and Harvard University, among others.

The MacMillan Scientific Research Fellowship was established with a generous gift by the MacMillan Family Foundation, Inc.

“We believe scientific research is key to discovery and improving lives, and we are pleased to offer talented students at Rider this unique research opportunity,” says Nancy MacMillan ‘77, who received her MBA from Rider.

Her family’s foundation, set up by Nancy and her husband Duncan MacMillan of Princeton, supports projects in health care, human services, medical research, the arts and higher education.

The foundation’s support to Rider also included funds for the purchase of scientific equipment, including the University’s SynDaver, a life-sized model of the human body where students can remove organs, perform dissections and visualize structures and connections of major body organ systems. The model, which is located in the newly expanded and renovated Mike and Patti Hennessy Science and Technology Center, replicates the feel and appearance of human tissue. Rider is the only four-year college or university in New Jersey to own a full-body SynDaver.

The University prepares students for success by offering small classes, collaborative relationships with professors and research opportunities. Rider offers 17 science programs, including new bachelor's programs in computer science, cybersecurity and exercise science and an online master's program in cybersecurity.

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