The TCU Pre-Health Professions Institute has launched the Experimental Projects to Impact the Community (EPIC) Grant, which aims to foster a culture of giving, strengthen communities, and provide students with opportunities to develop cultural humility, leadership and teamwork skills. The grant provides up to $2,500 to support student-led projects, which can be a one-time event or a long-term program. Recipients will work alongside a team of fellow students in collaboration with representatives from TCU’s Office of Community Engagement and a community partner to complete the project. Students are required to present their final projects at the annual Michael and Sally McCracken Student Research Symposium.
Recent graduates Brian Niebuhr, Caroline Wade, Phat Do, Sarah Nagel, and Sophia Cosmich received the EPIC Grant to complete their project to create an Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Awareness Week at TCU. The students partnered with UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute, and Fort Worth Adolescent Young Adult Oncology Coalition to organize the week on campus and connect with TCU students.
Cosmich, former biology major, said, “Our group partnered with Moncrief Cancer Institute and the Fort Worth AYA Coalition in order to host an AYA cancer week on campus. Because the majority of the TCU student body falls into the AYA age group, we felt that it was important to connect students with the information and resources provided by these organizations.”
The leadership team created different community partner events both on and off campus, including kickball games, mix and mingles, and life-size pong tournaments. They also tabled during the week and shared their results with the community, ultimately reaching their goal of raising awareness about adolescent and young adult cancer.
Matt Chumchal, director of the Pre-Health Professions Institute and professor of biology says he has always admired pre-health students’ commitment to service. “I am so excited about the EPIC grant because it will empower students that identify a need in the TCU and Fort Worth communities to make a difference. As they execute their projects these future doctors, dentists and physician’s assistants will develop leadership teamwork, communication and project management skills that will serve them well in their careers,” Chumchal said.
When asked about the importance of the EPIC Grant, Cosmich said, “The EPIC Grant is unique in that it requires a team of students to work with a community partner in order to create a project that will leave a lasting impact not only on TCU but on the Fort Worth Community as a whole. For me, the most important aspect of the grant is that it is a team effort with the community partner. It was a privilege to be able to work with these institutions that are recognized nationally for the amazing work they do for the AYA community.”