ROUTES Welcomes First Student Cohort

On January 19th, ROUTES introduced its first full cohort with a welcome lunch for students, faculty, and staff associated with ROUTES.

ROUTES (Research Opportunities for Undergraduates: Training in Environmental Health Sciences) is a Northeastern University Co-op program that offers undergraduates from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds a paid research experience within the field of Environmental Health. The first cohort consists of eight students conducting environmental health research in five different Northeastern University labs. For the next six months, students will work on a full-time basis with faculty mentors, graduate students, and postdocs to complete high-level research. For many students, this is their first time doing high-level research.

ROUTES Scholars, Faculty, and Staff
From left to right: Nicole Taylor, Diandra Grinage, Dr. Penny Beuning, Dr. Akram Alshawabkeh, Bolanle Akinsulire, Dr. Phil Brown, Nick Chaves, David Berroa, Dana Munzner, John Lambert, Minerva Teli, Dr. Philip Larese-Casanova, Lura Slowinski, Savannah Gregor, Dr. Lily Rajic

David Berroa, ROUTES’ first Scholar, discussed the opportunities his research co-op presented. He worked with ROUTES Co-Director Dr. Akram Alshawabkeh of PROTECT to research groundwater remediation techniques, with a focus on Puerto Rico’s karst region. Berroa, whose grandfather lives in Puerto Rico, implored his peers to remember that their work is meaningful. Environmental Health issues disproportionately affect lower income and underrepresented communities, and by conducting this research, Berroa said, they were giving those people a voice.

Dr. Beuning presentingSeveral ROUTES faculty members also presented their research, which bridges multiple scientific disciplines. Dr. Alshawabkeh approaches Environmental Health from an environmental engineering background. Other ROUTES mentors include ROUTES Co-Director Dr. Helen Suh (health sciences), Dr. Phil Brown (social sciences), Dr. Penny Beuning (biology), and Dr. Philip Larese-Casanova (chemistry).

In addition to conducting research, ROUTES Scholars will participate in local workshops and training events, including the Environmental Health Experience Week, an alternative spring break at Northeastern University. For one week, ROUTES Scholars will join with other undergraduate Northeastern students to compose and conduct a research study on water contamination around Boston. In addition, each ROUTES Scholar will receive funding to travel to a national conference or lab of their choosing.

Please visit our Students page to learn more about the first cohort.