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May 6, 2003

Local High School Students to take Part in Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Pre-College Research Program at ULM

A select group of local high school students have been chosen to participate in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. The 2003 Pre-College Research Program will take place on the ULM campus this June.

For four weeks, June 2-27, students and teachers will rotate through four different research projects set up explicitly for this program. Two ULM professors, one graduate assistant, and one peer/mentor will lead each project. The peer/mentors are high school seniors from last year's program who are returning to serve as mentors for new students.
This year's projects are: "Microclimate Variation and Plant Distribution Patterns," (Robyn Jordan and Amy Ouchley, instructors); "Effects of Temperature and Hormones on Embryonic Development of Selected Turtle Species," (John Carr and Kim Tolson, instructors); "Investigating Cell and Molecular Biology," (Ann Findley and Jeff Taylor, instructors); "Explorations Into the Growth and Foraging Strategies Among Fishes," (Peter Aku and Anna Hill, instructors).

"These positions have grown highly competitive with over 125 students competing for 48 slots. The program is intended to provide students with experience in all aspects of research, from hypothesis formation through data collection/analysis to conclusions. Another objective is to familiarize the students with regional research laboratories and career possibilities available to science graduates," said Sami Recoulley Owens, ULM and Howard Hughes Program Coordinator.

"In making the selections for this year's program, the selection committee placed emphasis on teacher recommendations of students, the student's personal interest statement, and high school GPA. Other factors like ACT scores, coursework, and related extracurricular activities were also considered," said Recoulley Owens.

Students chosen to participate earn three hours of college credit in Biology 103 (Introduction to Scientific Research), a $1000 stipend, and, if eligible, free housing and meals. In addition to the student participants, eight high school biology teachers are selected to participate. The teachers earn graduate college credit in Biology 515 (Biology for Teachers), a $2000 stipend, and if eligible, free housing and meals. In order to maximize the program's outreach, teachers also gain access to equipment trunks assembled for the purpose of carrying the research projects to their home institutions to use in their classrooms.

While the participants will be coming from all around the state, the majority of the students are representing schools in Northeast Louisiana. Selections for June 2003 are: Students: Stephanie Abascal (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts); Jeffery Anderson (Vidalia High School); Scott Baldelli (C.E. Byrd Magnet School); Lindsay Bashner (West Monroe High School); John Bradley (Crowville High School); Sa'Dava Bolds (Jonesboro-Hodge High School); Brett Brown (Neville High School); Shonda Butts (Block High School); Deborah Caldwell (River Oaks School); Jason Calhoun (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts); Cade Chandler (Winnfield Senior High School); Kanethia Daniel (Athens High School); Sheena Davis (Ouachita Parish High School); Ashley Duplissey (Caldwell Parish High School); Benjamin Duty (Ouachita Christian School); Jan Edwards (St. Frederick High School); Sarah Eich (Neville High School); James Halley (Lake Providence High School); Amanda Harlon (Sarepta High School); Mallory Herlevic (St. Frederick High School); Angelica Higgins (Winnsboro High School); Jeremy Icenogle (Ouachita Parish High School); Kirby Johnson (Harrisonburg High School); Queenie Kimbrough (Block High School); Caitlin King (St. Frederick High School); Tyler Kitchens (Oak Grove High School); Alexis LeDay (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts); Patrick Lee (Ruston High School); Connie Long (Sterlington High School); Kyle Lonigro (Ouachita Parish High School); Danielle McCartney (Winnfield Senior High School); Danielle McMurray (Winnsboro High School); Wesley Martin (Neville High School) Shelton Matthews (Carroll High School); Anna Miller (River Oaks School); Brittany Mothersbaugh (Ouachita Christian School); Nicholas Parchin (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts); Aja Phillips (Jonesboro-Hodge High School); Heather Price (Carroll High School); Britni Richard (Church Point High School); Halie Rowzee (Vidalia High School); Arie Shaw (Neville High School); Erika Smith (Carroll High School); Mary Smith (Block High School); Jamal Smith (Richwood High School); Leah Waddle (Sheridan High School [Arkansas]); M. Canaan White (Block High School); and Brandy Wright (Vidalia High School). Teachers: Melanie Anderson (Richwood High School); Patricia Beaudion (Natchitoches Central High School); Geneva Calloway (West Monroe High School); Melinda Hutton (Winnsboro High School); Danny Pennington (West Monroe High School); Keith Tyler (Hamilton Terrace High); Karl Williams (Tallulah High School); and Joseph Wood (Ouachita Christian School).

For more information contact Dr. Frank Pezold, Program Director at 318-342-1868 or, or contact Sami Recoulley at 318-342-1885 or

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