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May 13, 2004

Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Pre-College Research Program at ULM

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program at the University of Louisiana at Monroe is pleased to announce the participants for its 2004 Pre-College Research Program that will take place on the ULM campus this June. These positions have grown highly competitive with over 140 of Louisiana's top students competing for 48 slots this year. The program is intended to provide students firsthand experience in all aspects of research, from hypothesis formation through data collection/analysis to conclusions, and to encourage them to consider career opportunities in the biological, medical or health sciences.

In making the selections for this year's program, Director Frank Pezold says the selection committee placed special emphasis on the student's personal interest statement, high school GPA, and teacher recommendations. Other factors like ACT scores, coursework, and related extracurricular activities were also considered. Students chosen earn three hours of college credit in Biology 103 (Introduction to Scientific Research), a $1000 stipend, and, if they are from outside of Ouachita Parish, free housing and meals. In addition to the student participants, 8 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. Four high school seniors who participated in last year's program will be returning to serve as mentors for new students. Peer-mentors will be staying with students in the dorms and also receive a $1,500 stipend, plus free housing.

For four weeks, June 7th thru July 1st, 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. This year's projects (and faculty) are: "Microclimate Variation and Plant Distribution Patterns," (R. Jordan and A. Ouchley); "Effects of Temperature and Hormones on Embryonic Development of Selected Turtle Species," (J. Carr and K. Tolson); "Investigating Cell and Molecular Biology," (A. Findley and J. Taylor); "Explorations into Growth and Foraging Strategies Among Fishes," (P. Aku and A. Hill).

While the participants will be coming from all around the state, the majority of the students are representing schools in northeast Louisiana. Students selected for June 2004 are (listed alphabetically by school): Block High School- Glynda Butts, Valerie Craven; Bolton High School- Neelam Shah; Carroll Magnet High School- Cornesha Broadway, Ira Hogg, Zuri Oliver; Crowville High School- Cody Sasser; Harrisonburg High School- Ethan Boothe, Joseph Huff; Jena High School- Jeffrey Kendrick, Mary Catherine Tweedy; Lake Providence High School- Shynequa Powell; Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts- Colby Landrum, Dianne Nguyen, Shirley Okereke, Nicole Welch; Many High School- Megan Troha; McCall High School- DeNetra Griffin; Monterey High School- Travis Barlow; Neville High School- Kristen Lewis, Andrea McConnell, Dominique Player; Ouachita Christian School- Christina Hughes, Thomas Jacobs, Ben McIntire; Ouachita Parish High School- Enyonam Aku, Brooke Brown; Richwood High School- Spencer Stanley; River Oaks School- Carolanne Marx, Ginny Mills; St. Frederick High School- Chastity Johnson, Jodi Phillips; St. Thomas Aquinas Academy- Otto Keiser; Sterlington High School- Shannon Darmstaedter, Kaleb Hamby, Michal Meade; Vidalia High School- Patrick Golden, Amanda Morris, Casey Winborne; West Monroe High School- Mindy Bass, Tara Bostick, Matt Lay; West Ouachita High School- Jessica Africa, Taylor Harper; Winnfield High School- Sharita Flowers, Maggie Richardson; Winnsboro High School- Sara Lowe, Emily Thornhill.

Teachers selected are: Brenda Grover (Richwood High School), Jametria Griffin (Winnsboro High School), Stacey Knox (West Monroe High School), Debbie Lee (Ouachita High School), Chad Mashburn (Ouachita Christian School), Allen Parker (Winnfield High School), Janiece Smith (Monterey High School), and Ester Walls (Richwood High School).

Students returning as this year's peer-mentors are: Shonda Butts (Block High School), Brittany Mothersbaugh (Ouachita Christian School), Nick Parchum (Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts), and Jamal Smith (Richwood High School).

For additional information on the program, contact Sami Recoulley Owens, Program Coordinator, at: 109 Garrett Hall, University of Louisiana at Monroe (71209), 318-342-1885 or

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