Frimpong will conduct research at SRI International in Menlo Park
Cañada College student Ernest Frimpong has been chosen to participate in the prestigious Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program at SRI International in Menlo Park.
Frimpong was one of eight undergraduate students from colleges and universities across the U.S. chosen to participate in ongoing research projects at SRI for a 12-week period beginning at the end of May. He will be working in the Molecular Physics Laboratory at SRI.
The Molecular Physics Laboratory includes approximately 20 professional scientists and eight postdoctoral associates. Their work covers a wide range of topics in the areas of atomic, molecular, and biological physics as well as many areas extending into chemical physics, physical chemistry, and solid state physics. A wide variety of experimental and theoretical projects are available for undergraduate participation, including studies of atmospheric chemistry, energy transfer in molecular collisions, materials science, trace species detection, ion physics, laser diagnostics, biomedical optics and biophysics. Many of the projects involve the use of lasers for detecting and analyzing atoms, molecules, and surfaces.
Frimpong, 29, graduated from high school in Ghana but won the U.S. Green Card Lottery in 2008 and moved to East Palo Alto to live with his grandfather, a former veterinary doctor. Frimpong wants to earn a degree in biomedical engineering and plans to transfer to UC Davis, UC Irvine, or CSU Long Beach after he graduates from Cañada.
“Cañada has helped me in so many ways,” he said. “When I arrived at Cañada, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in medicine but I wasn’t sure what path to take.” Last year, Jeanette Medina, professor of chemistry, suggested to Frimpong that he apply for the summer internship in biomedical research at San Francisco State University. He applied, was accepted, and found he was interested in cellular biology and biomedical research.
“If you know what is happening in individual cells you can begin to treat particular diseases,” he said.
The problem for Frimpong was his struggles grasping some of the concepts in cell biology. That’s when Nathan Staples, professor of biology, stepped in to work with Frimpong. “He really helped me understand cell biology,” he said. “He’s been a great mentor for me.”
Frimpong said the personal attention he has received in and out of the classroom at Cañada has helped him find the perfect academic path. “The staff and faculty are passionate to help students,” he said. “There are tutors and professors available to help you with homework. The staff helps identify internship opportunities and scholarships to help pay for school. It’s been the perfect school for me."