La‘a Gamiao ’25 hopes to get a head start on his master’s degree at Purdue University, where he wants to eventually pursue a doctorate in ecology. His first step toward this goal was to accept an eight-week, Undergraduate Summer Research Program at Purdue’s flagship campus in West Lafayette, Indiana.
“I leave on June 2 and I have orientation on June 4,” said Gamiao, who will be among the five student-research participants from across the country. “I’ll be conducting research on Aquatic Ecology, studying predator-and-prey interactions in response to chemicals.”
Gamiao is among a group of Chaminade students who have been able to kick-start their graduate studies, thanks to agreements between Chaminade University and fellow esteemed institutions of higher education.
“Chaminade is a member of The Leadership Alliance, a consortium of 32 academic institutions dedicated to addressing the shortage of diversity in graduate schools and academia,” said Amber Noguchi, Ph.D., Chaminade’s Program Director with the Undergraduate Research & Pre-Professional Programs. “Through the program, we’ve built partnerships with universities that want to admit our students into their summer research programs.”
In the past, Chaminade students have participated in programs at Harvard, Yale, Purdue and UCLA—to name just a few. This early exposure to research is invaluable and greatly enhances a student’s graduate school application, particularly for medical schools.
This summer, Alexandra Boyce and Kaila Frank will both participate in Michigan State University’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). According to the MSU website, the SROP is a gateway to graduate education at Big Ten Academic Alliance universities. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue graduate study and research careers. SROP also helps prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities. Boyce and Frank also plan to take short courses in various subjects prior to the start of the research portion of the program.
“We also have at least one student, Tia Skaggs, who will be participating in the Cancer Research Experience for Undergraduates (CREU) program at the University of Colorado Anschutz,” Noguchi said. “This program is focused on projects related to cancer, whereas Purdue and MSU offer a wide range of disciplines and faculty expertise.”
CREU’s primary goal is to engage scientific curiosity in the next generation of scientists, challenging qualified college undergraduates to consider a cancer-related career in the future. Only 23 college undergraduate students have been selected to spend 10 weeks in the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus’ laboratories.
“Our office encourages students to apply for experiential opportunities like summer research both here at Chaminade and at other institutions,” Noguchi said. “We also encourage our pre-health students to apply for clinical experiences and also pre-health enrichment programs.”
This summer, two pre-health juniors were accepted to the Summer Health Professions Education Program: Joshua Dumas ’24, a pre-med student, who will be attending the UCLA program; and Alexis Martinez ’24, an aspiring dentist, who has a choice between UCLA and Western University of Health Sciences.
To expose students to clinical experience, Chaminade works with the COPE Health Scholars Program at Adventist Castle. Through COPE, students are able to gain 280 clinical hours by volunteering in various departments at the hospital. Students enrolled in healthcare programs require these hours to demonstrate that they understand the field they plan to pursue, and it also helps them be competitive applicants when they actually apply.
“Many Chaminade students—who have pursued health careers in medicine, dentistry, physical therapy, nursing and others—have participated in COPE,” Noguchi said. “We currently have Kelsey Nakagawa ’23, a nursing major, who started the program last year, and has risen to a leadership position there. We also have Kobe Young ’23, a recent Biochemistry graduate, who will be starting this summer.”