May 01, 2007

Undergraduate researchers win awards

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Undergraduate research students from Southern Illinois University Carbondale cleaned up at the annual St. Louis Area Undergraduate Research Symposium, taking home half of the prizes awarded there.

SIUC students won four of eight awards for their research presentations at the daylong competition, held April 21 at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand & Suites Hotel. Washington University sponsored the two-year-old event.

The wins come on the heels of similar success during last year's inaugural competition, during which SIUC students won three prizes, the most of any public institution. This year, SIUC won the most of any institution, public or private.

"This is great news," said John A. Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school at SIUC. "This just shows our students can do wonderful things when given the opportunity."

Jo Nast, research project specialist and director of the REACH program at SIUC, said colleges and universities are emphasizing undergraduate research more than ever.

"It gets the students hands-on experience and transcends the classroom," Nast said.

Along with SIUC, institutions competing in the event include Washington University, Webster University, St. Louis University, the University of Missouri-Rolla and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Students earning prizes were:

• Jeremy L. Pierce, senior from Mount Vernon in psychology and son of Clifton H. and Brenda L. Malone, won first place and a $500 cash prize in the poster competition. Michael R. Hoane, assistant professor of psychology, acted as mentor.

• David J. Dalzotto, senior from Edwardsville in forest hydrology and son of Kerry L. and Connie E. Dalzotto, won second place and a $250 cash prize in the poster competition. Sara G. Baer, assistant professor of plant biology, acted as mentor.

• Brett A. Timmons, senior from Terre Haute, Ind., in zoology and son of Douglas L. and Glenna J. Timmons, won third place in the poster competition. Anita Kelly acted as mentor.

• Sean Z. Goodin, sophomore from Red Bud in physiology, philosophy and political science, won first place and a $500 cash prize in the oral presentation competition. April D. Strader, assistant professor of physiology, acted as mentor.