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Two Students Receive Temple Summer Fellowships

Alexandria Martinez and Dr. Brinda Govindaraju
Alexandria Martinez, shown here working with Dr. Brinda Govindaraju,
will be a research fellow at Temple University this summer.


Solomon Kokolie
Solomon Kokolie

Alexandria Martinez and Solomon Kokolie have received Materials Science and Engineering Summer Research Fellowships from Temple University. Both Alexandria, a resident of Reading, and Solomon, who lives in Upper Darby, are biology majors.


According to the Temple website, the fellowship “will engage students in research projects spanning materials chemistry, physics, and engineering in a nine-week residential experience beginning May 16, 2016, and ending August 12, 2016.”


Students selected for the program receive a $4,500 stipend, on-campus housing, and a travel allowance. Housed in Temple’s College of Science and Technology, the summer research aims to support historically underserved students with limited opportunities.


“I was so excited when I heard I got the fellowship,” said Alexandria. “The different field (materials science) caught my eye, and I’ll have a chance to learn from a new group of mentors.”


A transfer from Reading Area Community College, Alexandria was studying science there and working part-time at Reading Hospital when she was offered a shadowing opportunity in the pathology department of the hospital’s lab. “Are you ready to get your hands dirty?” asked the scientist she was shadowing. Before she knew it, Alexandria was opening a gall bladder. “That’s when the light bulbs went off,” she recalls, and she knew that science was her field.


After a local position as a medical laboratory technician fell through, she began looking for accredited Clinical Laboratory Science programs close to home. She started at Neumann in the fall of 2014 and has impressed the faculty. Drs. Matthew Mastropaolo and Sandra Weiss wrote letters of recommendation to the Temple program for her, after Dr. Sylvia Riviello, head of the Math and Science Department, encouraged her to apply.


Now, Alexandria is ready to raise her sights even higher. “As I learned what I’m capable of at Neumann, I’ve opened my mind to the possibility of medical school.”


Solomon, too, admitted that he was happy when he got the news about his acceptance into the program. “The research has to do with physics, chemistry and engineering,” he smiled. “Those are all topics that interest me.”


A native of Liberia, he has been in the U.S. since 2013 and at Neumann since the fall of 2014. “When I asked about local universities that had good biology and chemistry programs, family and friends mentioned Neumann and the good student-teacher interaction there,” he remembers.


Solomon’s primary goal is to enter the medical field, but scientific research has always fascinated him, too. It’s one of the reasons he’s looking forward to the Temple fellowship. “I can’t wait for the hands-on experience,” he said.


“Undergraduate research opportunities are critical for today’s science majors,” said Dr. Alfred Mueller, dean of the Division of Arts and Sciences. “Not only do students learn important critical thinking and problem-solving skills under the guidance of faculty mentors, but they also develop the experience necessary to be competitive in graduate and professional school applications and in the job market. Alex’s and Solomon’s receipt of Temple University’s summer research fellowship is a testament to their preparation and skill and to the quality of our faculty and resources at Neumann University.”

To be eligible for the program, applicants had to be rising juniors or seniors, be enrolled in a traditional science major, and have a minimum GPA of 2.85. Requirements included a statement of interest, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a transcript.


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