New Centra partnership encourages Sweet Briar student research in technology or medicine

Centra has announced it is establishing an annual $500 award to a student researcher from Sweet Briar College for a completed project in the areas of science and technology or science and medicine.

“In this way, Centra can recognize and support work of students from a local institution, advance technological innovation and medical applications of student research, and create an evolving partnership with Sweet Briar College,” according to a statement describing the new Centra Award for Excellence in Student Scientific Research and Collaborative Innovation.

Centra, based in Lynchburg, is a regional health care system serving more than 380,000 people throughout Central and southern Virginia.

“This award signifies the true collaborative efforts between a community health care system and an outstanding local academic institution,” said Dr. Les Reed, president of Centra Medical Group. “Excellence in science, technology and medicine will improve the fund of general knowledge and eventually the clinical care we deliver to the people of Central Virginia.”

The application process for the award will be administered through Sweet Briar’s Honors Program, with calls for proposals beginning immediately. Juniors and seniors with completed projects will be eligible to submit proposals; sophomores with exceptional recommendations are also eligible to apply.

A selection committee will evaluate the proposals, and a Centra member will present the award in late January or early February. Reviewers will consider the project’s ambition; scientific relevance for current or future areas; attention to scientific methodology; depth of bibliography; and the proposal’s readability by non-specialists.

Special weight will be given to projects that show potential for future exploration, development, or application in the fields of medicine or technology, and to those that exhibit multidisciplinary collaboration or interaction.

In addition to outlining the purpose, methodology, results and conclusions, each proposal must reflect on what the student learned from the project and how it fits into the her long-range research trajectory.

“This program rewards our students’ research activities in a way that helps them connect what they are learning to the real world,” said Pam DeWeese, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs.

“Seeing how their work can be applied or how others will build on it will get them excited about doing research. We are grateful to Centra for creating this opportunity.”