What is PRISM?
The Program for Research Initiatives for
Science Majors (PRISM) at John Jay College provides an opportunity for
Forensic Science students to engage in the process of scientific
research while completing their degree.
Early in the program, students attend seminars and training programs to better prepare them for research. At the beginning of their sophomore year, students are matched with a faculty mentor. Our PRISM mentors work in a variety of research areas – from biochemistry to environmental science, forensic science, molecular biology, and toxicology. Every effort is made to match students with advisors working in their particular area of interest.
In addition to direct research experience, PRISM students are eligible for monetary stipends for their research, travel grants for conferences, GRE preparatory help, and counseling on graduate school applications and career planning. They can also look forward to guest lectures and informal seminars with research faculty, scientists, and other professionals.
PRISM research experiences go beyond the traditional training students receive in the classroom. They include instruction on literature searches, project design, implementation, experimental sampling, data analysis, and scientific writing/presentation, as well as providing a community in which students are able to flourish. These experiences help to demonstrate that science is not exact, but an iterative process of questioning the world around us, and provide students with the skills necessary to succeed in science beyond the classroom, joining the community of researchers around the globe.
Why do research?
Research is more than just learning about
your specific topic area. It’s also an opportunity to learn about
yourself and the world around you. Conducting research teaches you how
to gather and analyze information on a topic, ask answerable questions,
and discover paths to solving problems – tools that everybody can use.
Research experiences through PRISM will help you learn to use proper laboratory techniques, understand data analysis and interpretation, and conduct literature searches. As importantly, though, it will help you to develop good teamwork and time management skills, and teach you how to communicate proficiently.
All of these skills are as important in your everyday life as they are in scientific and academic settings. They are expected by graduate schools admitting students to their programs, as well as employers considering applicants for jobs. Regardless of the direction your career takes, building your skills in analysis and problem-solving will help you in every aspect of your life.
How do I get started?
To apply for PRISM, complete the PRISM Application Form [pdf]. Take some time to review the program requirements so that you know what is expected of students. The “What can I expect?” section offers a year-by-year review of the program, highlighting the different activities that take place at each stage the program. If you are interested in speaking with students already in the program, email us and let us know what type of research you might be interested in. We will do our best to connect you with a student who can best answer your questions.
Keep in mind that the program continues to grow in popularity, which means it is becoming more and more difficult to enroll students after they have started their third year in the Forensic Science major. For this reason, students are encouraged to contact the PRISM Program Coordinator, Dr. Ron Pilette, as soon as they think they may be interested in taking part.