Pay it forward

A cornerstone of HSCI’s strategic commitment to training future generations of stem cell researchers is the HSCI Internship Program (HIP). Through a competitive application process, the program provides talented undergraduate students from Harvard and other national and international universities with a 10-week, focused and challenging summer research experience in an HSCI-affiliated stem cell laboratory.

This year, for what will be HIP’s sixth year, HSCI received directed funding from the Perkin Fund and the Brooke Ellison Foundation to help support the program. These gifts are catalysts for students considering a career in research, and help plant the seeds for a next generation of stem cell researchers dedicated to moving the science forward.

Alexandra Wiberg, a trustee of the Perkin Fund founded by her grandfather, Richard S. Perkin, advocated for support of the HIP program because she feels “very strongly that stem cell research is crucial to medical research and its clinical applications. The capacity in which this research can be utilized seems practically limitless.”

In October 2009, Kristian Stiles organized a memorial fundraiser in honor of her sister, Ashlye, whose untimely passing at the age of 30 was due to complications related to diabetes. The proceeds were directed to the Brooke Ellison Foundation and Ellison, who has collaborated with HSCI on a number of programs, chose to direct the funds to HSCI for training the next generation of stem cell researchers.

“HSCI is the nexus of unparalleled talent and immeasurable opportunity, so when considering meaningful projects and avenues into which to channel our efforts, we could think of no more worthwhile place than HSCI to help cultivate future researchers,” Ellison said. “Helping to support the summer undergraduate internship program, through funds raised in memory of Ashlye Stiles, was an ideal way to bring our message of education into the hands of those best able to disseminate their knowledge and those best able to receive it.”