The ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) positively impacts students, sparking their interest in microbiology and helping them achieve success. But it’s not just students who benefit from the URF program – faculty who mentor URF students report increased productivity in their labs, greater funding success, and a honing of their mentoring skills.
Sameer Shaikh was helping his mother, a physician, transcribe notes in the clinic when he learned about a patient with cystic fibrosis who was suffering from an infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. He didn’t know what this bacterium was, and his mother explained that it’s ubiquitous in nature. “Ok,” Sameer thought, “If it’s everywhere, then why isn’t it affecting me?” His curiosity about microbiology was sparked, and with his mother’s encouragement, he started to read about cystic fibrosis, Pseudomonas, and immunology.