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NMC, PSS and NIH-NIDDK collaborate to bring STEP-UP to the CNMI (April 8, 2011)

The Northern Marianas College, CNMI Public School System and the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) have teamed up for the first time to bring the Short Term Education Program for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) to the CNMI.

STEP-UP, a national summer long program, selects seniors or those who have successfully completed their junior year, from various high schools in the U.S. and Pacific Region to conduct scientific research projects in universities or community college laboratories in their areas.

After a year of collaborative meetings between NIH -NIDDK, University of Hawaii, the PSS, and NMC, the project will finally be happening this summer.

“We are very excited about this collaboration with PSS, NIH-NIDDK and the UH Medical School. We look forward to providing this extraordinary opportunity to the students of the CNMI and a continuation of the STEP-UP program for our area,” said Barbara K. Merfalen, Dean of Academic Programs and Services at NMC.

NMC will be providing the space, the equipment and the mentors to aid the students in the preparation of their scientific research projects from June to August. The students will be conducting their research on Saipan, Tinian, or Rota at NMC facilities, in collaboration with Cooperative Research Extension and Education Service (CREES).

This year there are seven students from Marianas High School, Kagman High School, Rota High School, and Tinian High School.

At the end of the internship in August, some of the participants will get the opportunity to represent the Pacific Island region at the Annual High School Scientific Session and Research Presentations in Washington, D.C.

“Now the students of the CNMI have a chance to participate in STEP-UP and receive exposure to scientific research and possibly pursue it as a career,” said Vina Saures, PSS STEP-UP Program Director.

The UH Medical School in collaboration with NIH-NIDDK through the Pacific Island High School Summer Research Program sponsors STEP-UP for the Pacific region. The NIH directly funds STEP-UP.

For more information on STEP-UP contact Vina Saures at 237-3066 or email her at [email protected].

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