Receiving Ph.D. program acceptance letters from major research institutes was just a dream for 2010 mechanical and aerospace engineering graduate David Stout. “I knew I wanted to earn a Ph.D. and be a leader in a research field, but I didn’t know where to start or whom to talk to,” he shared.
Stout’s future began to take shape after one of his friends told him about CSULB’s Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program. “When I found out about the program I quickly applied and hoped that I would get in,” Stout said. At the same time, Stout was chosen by NASA to conduct research in nano-sized satellites. After Stout returned from NASA, he found out that he was chosen for the McNair Program.
“The McNair program has helped immensely in my preparation for grad school. They gave me the tools that I needed to successfully apply and gain acceptance to a Ph.D. program.” Through the program, Stout had an opportunity to take GRE prep classes; receive coaching on making presentations, writing personal statements and preparing articles for publication; and obtain financial assistance with travel expenses and graduate school application fees. “Since I was in the McNair Program, I took advantage of all the resources they offered in hopes that I would get into a Ph.D. program.”
During spring 2010, Stout was invited to interview for several Ph.D. programs. At NYU, he was one of only six students interviewed for the Biomedical Imaging program out of more than 100 applicants. At Brown, he was one of only six from a pool of more than 150. “I was excited to learn that I made that cut.”
Stout was accepted to multiple programs with full financial support and packages. “I was so excited to find out that I was accepted to just a single Ph.D. program, but more than one...I couldn’t believe.” When the decision had to be made, Stout chose Brown University’s biomedical engineering Ph.D. program. At Brown, Stout will work in the Nanomedicine Laboratory, which designs, synthesizes and evaluates nano-materials for cardiovascular, nerve and orthopedic implant applications. Stout hopes to use his aerospace education on a multidisciplinary approach to investigate new biomaterials for the cardiovascular system in hopes of helping pediatric patients who are born with heart defects. “I couldn’t have been given this great opportunity without the McNair Scholars Program and the many mentors, professors and friends helping me along the way,” Stout said.