SUNY Oswego’s Summer Scholars program is one of many avenues funding and making research available for students. And students like Cliff-Simon Vital enjoy the opportunities.

“SUNY Oswego was one of the first schools I applied to in early October my senior year of high school,” said the junior biology major. “I really loved the lake. I really loved the building structure in Shineman (the college’s state-of-the-art science building). The campus actually spoke to me.

“Everybody in my family is either associated with or in the medical field,” Vital added. “So there’s a lot of influence especially in my immediate household. My mom’s a nurse, my grandma’s a nurse, my aunt’s a doctor. … So I’ve grown up just loving science.”

Vital is in his second year of the Summer Scholars program on campus. “It’s basically a program that funds summer research,” he explained. Under a National Science Foundation grant, which allows him to work and earn a stipend, “which is pretty awesome,” he said, he works with Dr. Poongodi Geetha-Loganathan looking into the effect of music stimulation on chicken embryos.

“Right now we’re doing a lot of quantitative analysis to see how chickens reacted to that sort of exposure to the music,” Vital said. “Chickens have a homology genetically to humans, so whatever modifications that we do on a chicken embryo we can infer will be a possibility on humans.”

Vital spoke from the Shineman Center, pointing out the Fusion Cafe, “where I eat most of my meals, and we’re in the Nucleus area where a lot of people study.”

His unit has “a large lab space, we have I think two and a half bench spaces, and that’s a lot. We split up that lab space into a lot of different parts,” Vital said, including areas for quantitative analysis, project areas, storage and more.

“With this opportunity, I’m able to work in the histology lab,” which studies the microscopic structure of tissues, he said. “I’ve worked in microscope labs, I’ve worked in animal development labs, so I have a lot of different exposure, with that too.”

With an eye toward the future, that means Vital’s work already has gained notice from some impressive colleagues.

“What that means for my career, it means I have scientific exposure,” he said. “I’m already in the community. I’ve gotten emails from doctors around the world asking me questions around my research.”