Manchester Magazine Fall 2017 - Page 5

MU| N e w s N ews MU adds online PGx program Visionary science meets visionary educational technology in January when Manchester University adds an online dedicated master’s degree in pharmacogenomics (PGx). The online component, which can be done in as little as two years, will enable non-traditional students and working students with families to earn a degree in the cutting-edge science of PGx without having to relocate or disrupt their everyday lives. Manchester’s on-campus PGx program, the first of its kind, graduated 10 students last May. The degree they earned enabled them to land jobs literally from coast-to-coast at children’s hospitals, genetics labs, precision medicine companies and software companies specializing in PGx information. PGx is an emerging science that uses an individual’s DNA to personalize their response to medication. VIDEO See the video at “(The online program) is really going to open a market that’s out there that otherwise wouldn’t be able to pursue a degree,” said David Kisor, director of pharmacogenomics education. MU gets $646,000 NSF grant Manchester has received a $646,134 grant from the National Science Foundation to help academically talented students with high financial need pursue science degrees. MU’s STEM Pathway s Academy has created a learning community in which students take classes together and work with professional, alumni and student mentors. Yearly seminars will focus on preparation for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Grant funds will provide site visits to science employers and graduate schools, rich internship and research experiences, and specialized classes designed for hands-on learning. The first 13 participants started in the program this fall. The academy is under the direction of Kristen Short, assistant professor of biology, and Kathy Davis, associate professor of chemistry. “Through this program, we will design classes and programming that support student success in STEM fields. The goal is to take what works best and expand those practices to other students studying the sciences and across all disciplines at the University,” Short said. More than half of the first academy cohort is made up of women, which is in line with Manchester’s strong tradition of women in the sciences. Women make up more than half of the MU students in STEM-related areas of study, and nearly half of those professors are female. The group is ethnically and culturally diverse. About 10 students will be recruited for a second academy cohort to begin in the fall of 2018. Manchester STEM graduates report an impressive success rate, with 97.7 percent of 2016 graduates in the sciences reporting being employed or furthering their education within six months after graduation. Manchester | 5