The National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) presented Gladys Alexandre, professor and head of the UT Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology, the 2022 NTID Co-op and Career Center Outstanding Employer Partner Award for the department’s program, “Undergraduate Research Experiences for Deaf Students in Systems Biology and Molecular Signaling: How Cells and Organisms Make Decisions.”
This NSF-funded research experience is co-directed by BCMB and the UT Center for Deafness. It has provided Deaf and hard-of-hearing biology and chemistry students from across the US, including NTID, unique research opportunities.
“The partnership has been an eye-opening rewarding experience,” Alexandre said.
To become eligible for the award, employers must consistently hire deaf or hard-of-hearing co-op students or graduates.
“Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are some of the most underrepresented groups in STEM fields,” said Alexandre, who has worked with deaf and hard-of-hearing students from NTID at the Rochester Institute for Technology in New York since 2016.
Since the beginning of the initial project Alexandre and her colleagues gained successful partnerships with other colleagues from different departments at UT to help with the program. Nicole McFarlane, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, wrote a proposal for a similar project for engineering, which was funded earlier this year.
“I find it remarkable that UT is now host to two programs that hopefully will help address the leaking pipeline of deaf and hard-of-hearing students in STEM,” Alexandre said. “I am looking forward to working with Dr. McFarlane and other faculty across campus to make UT a friendly place for these individuals.”
Alexandre and BCMB submitted a proposal to continue funding the “Undergraduate Research Experiences for Deaf Students in Systems Biology and Molecular Signaling: How Cells and Organisms Make Decisions” program.
–Story by Jessica Foshee