Alecia Eubanks, a senior at Frostburg State University, will be spending the summer of 2004 in Cape Town, South Africa, researching AIDS intervention. She is one of only nine students to be selected into Pennsylvania State University’s Minority International Research and Training (MIRT) program.
“The Pennsylvania State University Minority International Research and Training Program is very competitive to be accepted [into], but is well worth the effort,” Eubanks says.
Eubanks is a psychology major and has been studying AIDS under the guidance of Dr. Chrismarie Baxter. Eubanks is also a member of the McNair Program, which is designed to help under-represented students get into graduate schools. Through the McNair Program, she spent six weeks this past summer at the University of Maryland College Park researching and writing about AIDS. She has presented a paper on her findings, “The Effects of the Mode of Transmission of AIDS on Social Distance Among College Students,” at FSU, PSU, the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Research Conference and UMCP.
Eubanks found out about the MIRT program through the McNair program. Applicants for the MIRT program must be juniors, seniors or graduate students, have an interest in public health or international studies and have a cumulative grade point average of 3.4 or above.
Students in the program will leave on May 20th to attend an orientation in Philadelphia for two days. Then they will spend a week in Paris meeting the other students in the program before heading to their separate research locations. The program places students in Paris, France; Tanzania; Geneva, Switzerland and Cape Town, South Africa.
Eubanks will work with other students and professors at the University of Cape Town, taking her previous research to a new level. They will study AIDS prevention since the AIDS epidemic is severe in South Africa.
When Eubanks returns from Cape Town at the end of August, she will move to Illinois, where she has been accepted into the doctoral program at Southern Illinois University. She will study psychology and work with faculty there to continue her AIDS research, thanks to opportunities presented to her at FSU.
“I encourage all students to take advantage of available opportunities. They’re once in a lifetime experiences that will definitely enhance your academic and social skills.”