by Bill Snyder
Last month, the Aspirnaut STEM pipeline for diversity and wellness at Vanderbilt University Medical Center celebrated its 15th anniversary with a daylong scientific symposium, followed by a feature on the program broadcast Aug. 2 on NBC Nightly News.
The pipeline is designed primarily for underresourced and underrepresented rural high school and undergraduate students.
Dressed in white lab coats, 20 participants in this summer’s high school program delivered formal oral presentations of research ranging from the potential of a mitochondrial enzyme to limit the spread of cancer to the use of photoactivatable probes to study the COVID-19 virus in the body.
Sixteen were rising juniors and seniors at high schools from as far away as Deer Island, Maine, and Hector, Arkansas. They also included recent high school graduates who have been admitted to Columbia University and North Carolina’s Davidson College, and a rising sophomore at Stanford University.
That is par for the course for the Aspirnaut
pipeline, co-founded in 2007 by Julie Hudson, MD, MA, her husband, Billy Hudson, PhD, his brother, Johnny Hudson, and his sister, Ann Kincl.