Undergraduate research opens doors to prestigious opportunity

May 09, 2018
Undergraduate research opens doors to prestigious opportunity
Dr. Robert Green, assistant professor of chemistry at Florida Polytechnic University, makes his teaching personable, enabling students to open up about their feelings and helping them cope with difficult experiences.

Valinteshley Pierre knows how important undergraduate research is. Since coming to Florida Polytechnic University in 2015, he has taken advantage of every opportunity available to collaborate with professors on research projects. Now a senior, all of that experience in the lab is paying off.

Pierre is headed to the Johns Hopkins University Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences this summer, where he’ll join a select group of students nationwide taking part in its prestigious internship program.

The Bahamas native says he is grateful he made the decision to attend Florida Poly. He says the university offers an ideal environment for students to be able to access what can be difficult at other institutions.

“The small size is perfect for inspiring us as well the possibility for undergraduate research,” he said. “That’s a huge thing because at most other universities, those opportunities are reserved for graduate students. Here, undergraduates are very involved in research which is critical if they want to go into the workforce or graduate school.”

After taking a freshman course with his chemistry professor, Dr. Robert Green, it didn’t take long for the mechanical engineering major to know he really enjoyed Green’s teaching style and wanted to take part in research with him.

“Everything I’ve learned and all of the opportunities I’ve received are all thanks to Dr. Green,” he said.

During the 10-week long internship, from late May until early August, Pierre’s research will be focused on biomaterials containing stem cells and their application to tissue engineering.

After graduation, his career goal is to combine his engineering background with the biomedical field and use his skills to help as many as he can.

“I want to do something that has as much impact on people as possible, and at the same time help improve people’s lives,” he said. “I don’t want to just have an impact here in the U.S., I want to have an impact worldwide.”