Amgen Scholars Program alumni living and studying in the Northeast gathered at the Boston Marriott Cambridge on March 20 for a dinner hosted by the Amgen Scholars Global Program Office, housed at MIT. The event welcomed more than 60 attendees and featured a keynote presentation by Elazer Edelman, the Thomas D. and Virginia W. Cabot Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT and director of the Harvard-MIT Biomedical Engineering Center.

Launched in 2007, the Amgen Scholars Program is an internationally recognized research initiative that invites undergraduates to conduct faculty-mentored research. Funded through a 12-year, $50 million commitment from the Amgen Foundation, the program is currently hosted at 17 key research institutions in the United States, Europe, and Japan. Since 2007, more than 2,500 undergraduates have participated.

The value of involving undergraduates in research was a common theme throughout the program. “Science without translation is self-indulgent. Without students … sterile,” Edelman said in his remarks. Other speakers, including Sam Guhan, site head for Amgen Massachusetts, and MIT Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Julie Norman, also highlighted the importance of nurturing today’s young scientists and engineers.

“Overall, the event was an unqualified success,” Norman noted. “It was gratifying to hear program alumni describe Amgen Scholars as such a positive and transformative experience.” Suan Tuang, currently a first-year MD/PhD student at Harvard Medical School, agreed. “Amgen Scholars showed me how to pursue a scientific career and my collegial interests. I really thank the program.”

A second Amgen Scholars regional alumni event is scheduled to take place on the West Coast later this year.