El Paso Community College (EPCC) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) student, Blessing Savusa, received an award for her poster presentation at the American Society for Microbiology Rio Grande Branch Annual Meeting in Socorro, NM.
Her research project was done in collaboration with Dr. Maria Castillo at New Mexico State University (NMSU). The title of her presentation was Identifying and Characterizing Cultivable Bacteria Obtained from the Intestine of Euprymna scolopes.
The goal of Savusa’s research project was to “create a ‘Pathogenic Model’ that compares the immune system responses to pathogenic bacteria versus the symbiont Vibrio ficheri.” Savusa said, “This information can provide critical information to help understand the role of the immune system in recognition of beneficial symbionts.” Savusa used the knowledge gained from being a student in the RISE to the Challenge Bridge program at EPCC to complete her award-winning yearlong research.
EPCC was the first community college to be funded by the National Institutes of Health’s RISE Program, now called RISE to the Challenge Bridge Program.
“The program offers paid year-round internships for EPCC students like Blessing to conduct scientific research and present their projects at regional and national scientific conferences.” Dr. Maria Alvarez, Professor, Coordinator of Biology and RISE and Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Program Director said
“The goal is to provide EPCC students with all the tools to be successful in their science and mathematics classes at EPCC, so they can transfer to a four-year university including UTEP and NMSU and graduate with a baccalaureate degree and, eventually a PhD.”
The opportunities from being a RISE to the Challenge Bridge student at EPCC has opened many doors for Blessing Savusa both academically and career-wise.
“Being in the RISE Program I was able to learn a lot of basic research techniques. Just knowing how to work with research instruments really sets me apart from other students.” Savusa adds, “With this experience, I can pursue a career in biomedical research. This program has put me a step ahead and it was a great experience.”