Millersville University’s MUSE award winner, Faith Carranza.

In Greek mythology a muse is a source of artistic inspiration who symbolizes the arts and sciences. Last year’s Millersville University (MU) Mentored Undergraduate Summer Experience (MUSE) award winner, Faith Carranza, is someone who falls under that definition. Carranza’s published research on how temperature and the steroid hormone dafachronric acid control when a parasite activates earned her the award. The work was recently published in a top-ranking international peer-reviewed parasitology journal, with Carranza as a co-author. 

MUSE is a fellowship to foster collaborative creative, academic activities between an undergraduate student and a faculty mentor. Carranza was mentored by Dr. Jonathan Stoltzfus, assistant professor of biology. 

Faith Carranza’s work.

“Her work would not have been possible without donor support and the MU-MUSE award that she received is acknowledged in the funding sources of this paper,” says Stoltzfus. 

The MUSE award is $5,000 in support of a 10-week long intensive student-faculty research or creative experience. Students from all colleges and majors are encouraged to apply, and students from all disciplines and majors are supported. Recipients of MUSE awards are required to register for a minimum of two independent study credits during the summer. 

“MUSE was a really great opportunity for me to get comfortable sharing my research,” Carranza says. “Being able to present your project to someone with no knowledge on the topic is a great way to reinforce what you know, identify areas you need to learn more about,  and why the questions you are trying to answer as a researcher are important. It also provides a great opportunity to get constructive criticism and new ideas for experiments. 

Carranza also found her experience with MUSE helped her further her educational path, “Publishing was very exciting. I decided very late in my academic career that I wanted to go to grad school and pursue a research career, so I felt like I was playing catch up on learning how research works,” she explains. “I really learned a lot about the publication process, how to present your data in a way that will make sense to others, and how to tell a story with your data.” 

To read Carranza’s complete research paper, visit https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-020-04035-z 

After graduating in May of 2019 Carranza finished the MUSE program and then went on to work as a research technician in a Molecular Neuroscience lab at the University of Pennsylvania last August. “The summer experience last year provided me with some very useful skills I use frequently in my new position,” Carranza shares.  

MU-MUSE Fellowships are competitive and awarded to eligible students who have submitted an outstanding proposal. The stipend can be used for any expenses related to program participation including tuition, room/rent, meals, transportation, etc. Given the intensive nature of this experience, awardees are discouraged from enrolling in other summer courses or employment during the duration of the Fellowship period.  

To learn more about the MU-MUSE program, visit https://www.millersville.edu/spra/undergraduate-research-awards/mentored-undergraduate-summer-experience.php. 

 

This article has 3 comments

  1. Congratulations! One of Millersville’s strengths is the opportunities it offers to undergraduates to engage in research with faculty members. This has helped launch Faith on an exciting career.

  2. The MUSE award and opportunity provided a great experience for Faith and with a super mentor in Dr. Stolztfus, outstanding publications and contributions to science could be made. Congratulations to Faith Carranza and to Dr. Jonathan Stoltzfus and colleagues for their work.

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