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UNI students selected for research program

March 31, 2003

Carl Thurman, program coordinator and UNI associate professor of biology, (319) 273-2276
Vicki Grimes, University Marketing & Public Relations, (319) 273-2761

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Five University of Northern Iowa students have recently been selected to participate in a research program funded by an award from the Merck/AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) Undergraduate Science Research Program.

Each student will be mentored by two or three UNI faculty members in biology, chemistry, physics or geography on an interdisciplinary project during the year-long program. The students will do extensive reading this semester to prepare for hands-on research they will be doing with their mentors for ten weeks this summer. Students will also participate in a fall seminar on their research experience.

Students participating in the program include: Jeff Fisher, a senior geography major from Cedar Falls, whose mentors will be David Mercer, UNI assistant professor of biology, and Ramanathan Sugumaran, UNI assistant professor of geography.

Jason McIntosh, a junior chemistry major from Honey Creek, whose mentors will be John Schoer, UNI assistant professor of chemistry, Mike Roth, UNI assistant professor of physics, and Carl Thurman, UNI associate professor of biology.

Michelle Healy, a senior biology major from Muscatine, whose mentors will be Darrell Wiens, UNI professor of biology, and Kirk Manfredi, UNI associate professor of chemistry.

Jacob Becker, a junior biology major from Spencer, whose mentors will be Kavita Dhanwada, UNI assistant professor of biology, and Duane Bartak, UNI professor of chemistry.

Sherrie Elzey, a junior chemistry major from Sully, whose mentors will be Shoshanna Coon, UNI associate professor of chemistry, and Dale Olson, UNI professor of physics.

The purpose of the program, according to Carl Thurman, program coordinator and UNI associate professor of biology, is to promote interdisciplinary research experience among undergraduate students in the College of Natural Sciences.

This is the second year UNI has received the award. If a school's program is successful, the award is given for two additional years. The program is funded by the Merck Company Foundation, a private, charitable foundation established by Merck & Co., a pharmaceutical manufacturer, and administered by the AAAS, the world's largest federation of scientific and engineering societies. UNI was one of fifteen U.S. colleges and universities to receive an award last year.