Thomas Landefeld: Being Mentored and Mentoring Prepares Students for Biomedical Careers
Thomas Landefeld, professor of biology, presented a talk titled “Succeeding on Your Path in the Biomedical Sciences” at the 18th Annual Student Research Symposium at the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey in August.
As the former director of the Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U*STAR) program, Landefeld worked to provide CSUDH students with research and networking opportunities typically unavailable to aspiring minority scientists. He describes how the influence of a mentor is key in the development of scientists.
“Having a mentor is the most important aspect of a student’s development as a person and certainly as a scientist,” he says. “Mentoring works if it is personalized and individualized, as all students are different. Taking the time to recognize and work with those differences is what makes mentoring effective. For those reasons, students mentoring other students is equally, if not more so, important.”
Planning a successful path to a career in the biomedical field takes research and commitment, according to Landefeld.
“Being able to identify what career path one wants, whether in research, medicine, dentistry, comes from researching the necessary training as well as the opportunities available,” he says. “This is best done by gaining direct experience through an internship, working in a medical or dental setting, and of course, being exposed to research. Second, one must be committed to doing their best to attain admission to their program of choice. These programs are very competitive so the student has to be dedicated and committed to staying the course. Finally, the student needs to take full advantage of the resources and networking opportunities that are made available to them. For example, at the Cayey Symposium, the speakers were all very valuable resources for the students to tap into in preparing for a career.”
Landefeld is the former program director of the Bridges to the Baccalaureate program, which prepares minority science students from community colleges to transfer to California State University, Dominguez Hills and earn their bachelor’s degree in the sciences.
- Joanie Harmon