FOSSI | 2023 FOSSI Scholar Xavier Thompson Shares His Experience With the Program

2023 FOSSI Scholar Xavier Thompson Shares His Experience With the Program

June 14, 2024

Xavier Thompson is an FMC FOSSI scholar and rising sophomore studying biomedical engineering at Delaware State University. During a recent interview, Xavier reflected on the benefits of the FOSSI program, his ongoing research projects and perspectives he has gained from learning about STEM in agriculture.

Xavier shared, “The resources and support offered by FOSSI provide valuable networking opportunities, mentorship and financial assistance to help me succeed in my academic and professional endeavors.”

Jason Coral, Discovery Ecotoxicologist at FMC and Xavier’s mentor, highlighted the mutual benefits of the program for mentors and scholars. He stated, “FOSSI offers an opportunity for interaction between highly motivated students and experienced mentors with a wide range of academic and industry connections. Students gain educational experience and plan for their future, while mentors learn about the students’ experiences and how that shapes their aspirations. Through conversations with Xavier, I’ve looked at mentorship through a more dynamic lens, based on what his interests and future goals are”. 

Read more in the interview below.

How did you first learn about the FOSSI program, and what made you interested in it?

I came across the FOSSI program while browsing through scholarship opportunities. What piqued my interest was its focus on supporting students pursuing STEM fields, particularly bioengineering. The program’s mission to foster diversity and inclusion in STEM resonated with me because it aligns with the importance of equitable access to education and opportunities.

What specific projects are you currently working on as a FOSSI Scholar, and how do they align with your STEM interests?

I’m currently working on a project that involves utilizing Python coding for 3D imaging analysis. This project aligns perfectly with my STEM interests, particularly in bioengineering, because it allows me to apply computational techniques to analyze complex biological structures. By leveraging Python coding, I can develop algorithms to process and interpret 3D imaging data, which is essential for various applications in biomedical research and healthcare.

My project specifically focuses on developing algorithms to analyze and visualize 3D images generated from medical imaging modalities such as MRI or CT scans. By applying advanced image processing techniques, I aim to extract valuable information from these images to aid in diagnosis, treatment planning and medical research. This project not only enhances my skills in scientific programming but also allows me to contribute to the advancement of healthcare technology, which is a central aspect of my passion for bioengineering. I’m excited to continue working on this project and explore other avenues where I can apply my skills and contribute to the future of STEM.

How have mentorship and the opportunity to engage with professionals in STEM careers been valuable to you?

Having a mentor like Jason offers me invaluable guidance and support. Jason's experience and knowledge in the industry provides a unique perspective and insights that complement my academic studies. His role as a mentor means I have someone to turn to for advice, encouragement and professional development, which is incredibly valuable as I navigate my STEM journey.

Through interactions with STEM professionals at FMC, I’ve gained a deeper appreciation for the intersection of science, technology and agriculture, as well as insights into different career paths, industry trends and emerging technologies. These engagements have broadened my perspective and allowed me to explore various opportunities within the STEM field. Connecting with STEM professionals has also provided me with networking opportunities, allowing me to establish relationships with individuals who can offer mentorship, advice and potential career opportunities in the future.

What insights on the industry have you gained through your exposure to FMC, and how has this knowledge influenced your perspective on your field of study?

Being connected to FMC through the FOSSI program has exposed me to new opportunities and experiences within the agricultural sector of STEM. Engaging with professionals from FMC allows me to learn about cutting-edge technologies, research initiatives and industry trends that I may not have encountered otherwise. One of the key insights I've gained is the significant role that innovation plays in the agricultural industry. FMC's focus on developing advanced agricultural solutions, such as crop protection products and precision agriculture technologies, has highlighted the importance of leveraging scientific advancements to address global food security challenges and promote sustainable farming practices.

This understanding has expanded my perspective on the potential applications of STEM in addressing real-world issues and has inspired me to explore interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving within my own field of study. While my primary focus may be on bioengineering, learning about FMC's work in agriculture has demonstrated the collaborative nature of STEM fields and the opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration.

Where do you see FOSSI heading in the future?

In the future, I see FOSSI strengthening its partnerships with industry leaders like FMC and other organizations to provide scholars with enhanced mentorship, internship opportunities and professional development resources. These partnerships will not only benefit individual scholars, but also contribute to the diversification and innovation of STEM industries. By amplifying the voices of underrepresented minority students and promoting policies and initiatives that support their success, FOSSI can drive meaningful change in the STEM community and beyond.

Learn more about Xavier. 

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