This Spring, the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute put out a call for applicants for a new summer research program. Our aim with the program is to provide students the opportunity to immerse in rich and innovative mentored research experiences focused on autism. Though, according to CDC statistics, autism is similarly prevalent amongst people of all races, the field of autism research is far less diverse. By opening up this research opportunity to undergrads, the Institute hopes to help inspire a more inclusive future for autism research.
For this inaugural program, we’ve accepted two summer scholars, Maya Shanker and Kayleigh Ostberg. Maya is a rising Junior at Rutgers University, majoring in Psychology on a pre-medical track, with a minor in cognitive science. She’ll be working in the Life Course Outcomes research program. In her free time, she enjoys dance, and doing graphic design for the Rutgers pre-health magazine, The Examiner. Kayleigh Ostberg will be working with the Modifiable Risk Factors research program. She’s a Bioinformatics student studying in the College of Science and Mathematics and Thomas Bantivoglio Honors College at Rowan University. In addition to her studies, Kayleigh is the Social Media Coordinator for Steminist Squad, a nonprofit community built to educate, empower and inspire young women to choose a career in STEM, as well as a mentor in Rowan’s GetFit program, an initiative to improve the fitness and wellness programs for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This summer, Kayleigh and Maya will get a hands-on education on the scientific process, from idea conception to presentation of results. With the guidance of Institute mentors, they’ll be getting an introduction to research that includes structured experiences that will provide practice in writing, problem-solving, technical, collaboration, and presentation skills. The scholars will get a broader experience contributing to ongoing research projects, while also developing a more focused investigation on a topic that will culminate in a research poster presented to the staff and faculty at the Autism Institute.