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Biology faculty receives national recognition for supporting undergraduate research

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March 16, 2018

Associate Professor of Biology Rachelle Belanger, Ph.D. is the 2017 recipient of the early career mentor award in biology from the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR).

“I am humbled and honored that my peers and undergraduate students nominated me for this national award and that I was selected,” said Belanger. “I am lucky to be here where I can provide undergraduate students an authentic, hands-on research experience early in their undergraduate career.”

Belanger was recognized for her commitment to one-on-one mentoring and providing a learning laboratory environment.

Students in her lab learn about the entire research process from forming a hypothesis, designing experiments, analyzing data, writing results and submitting publications.

“Many students graduate as published authors,” said Belanger.  “Since Detroit Mercy is primarily an undergraduate institution, I am able to provide a research experience that many other institutions can only offer at the graduate level.” Belanger has recently published three peer-reviewed research articles with undergraduate students that have worked in her research laboratory as coauthors. Additionally, her students present at local, state, and national conferences with several of them having received awards. Most of her research students have also continued on to professional and graduate programs.

Students in Belanger’s lab are grateful to the early career mentor and experience that she provides.

“I will attend medical school this fall,” wrote Lauren May in a letter of support. “I achieved my personal and educational dream, owing a great amount of success to Dr. Belanger and her unconditional encouragement, compassion and guidance.”

Noor Abraham, an alumna of Belanger’s lab and current student in Detroit Mercy’s Dental School, echoes May’s sentiment.

“Dr. Belanger’s passion for research is inspiring and it has motivated me to continue research,” said Abraham.  “I truly believe that Dr. Belanger is a remarkable asset to Detroit Mercy and the students are fortunate to have her as a mentor.”

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