This fellowship is designed to strengthen the Department of Biology and attract more students.
Thanks to the $300,000 Summer Research in Biology Fellowship established by Professor Emeritus of Biology Lloyd Matsumoto and his wife, Terri, additional funding will be available for RIC biology students who take part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.
“This fellowship is designed to provide more opportunities for faculty and students,” Matsumoto says. “My ultimate goal is to strengthen the Department of Biology and attract more students.”
Each summer, student participants in the SURF program conduct faculty-directed research over a 10-week period and receive a stipend. They work under the guidance of a professor and alongside peers, reading scientific literature, designing experiments, engaging in troubleshooting and attending seminars and workshops.
$100,000 of the Summer Research in Biology Fellowship will be distributed to 2023 SURF students and an additional $200,000 will be distributed to SURF students over the next two years. Each recipient will receive a $5,000 stipend; however, the number of recipients will vary based on monies available.
Recipients must be biology majors and have a cumulative 3.0 grade point average. They must provide a short research proposal describing their summer research activities and be nominated by a tenured faculty member.
RIC Associate Professor of Biology Geoff Stilwell says that Matsumoto’s investment in the Biology Department has been transformative.
“Thanks to Lloyd and Terri Matsumoto, RIC students seeking internships and fellowships are able to have real-world experiences,” he says.
“I’ve always supported anything to do with student research,” Matsumoto says, “because I think there’s a great payoff for students in the future.”
He taught at RIC for 34 years and says he treasures his time at the college. “I hope I inspired both students and fellow faculty members. I believe in a close student-faculty relationship, not just in the academic sense but in a community sense. What happens outside the classroom is as important as what happens inside the classroom,” he says.
Matsumoto and his wife often invited students to dinner at their home, and he still corresponds with former students today, many of whom still live in Rhode Island.
This is the second fellowship for the Department of Biology established by the Matsumotos. In 2018 they founded the Lloyd and Terri Matsumoto Endowment for Biology, which awards grants to juniors and seniors engaged in faculty-directed research. Both fellowships are managed by the RIC Foundation.
“This is an incredibly generous contribution from Dr. Matsumoto and his wife Terri,” says Clark Greene, interim vice president for college advancement and executive director of the RIC Foundation. “It’s one more example of his enduring commitment to the Rhode Island College students. For more than 34 years, Dr. Matsumoto has given his time, talent and personal resources to advance the education and careers of countless students. These students, and the entire RIC community, owe him a great debt of gratitude.”