EWU Mathematics major Cezar Sanchez gained valuable research experience this past summer in a STEM internship program at California Polytechnic State University. Through the 9-week paid STEM Teacher and Researcher (STAR) Program, Sanchez researched DNA mutations.

Sanchez worked with Ed Himelblau, PhD, a cell and molecular biologist with an interest in plant genetics. Himelblau is also focused on developing tools for genetics education. Alongside other STEM members, Sanchez extracted DNA from a mutant variant of Brassica rapa—a plant consisting of various widely cultivated species including the turnip, napa cabbage, and bok choy—in order to map the location of the albino mutation. The team was able to map the mutation to a small region on chromosome 10, and with further research the exact location of the mutation can be located and modified.

Cezar Sanchez, EWU mathematics student

When Sanchez returned to EWU in the fall, he shared his research experience with fellow Noyce Scholars. The Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program supports and encourages talented STEM students to pursue teaching careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The STAR Program, according to its website, aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice.