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April 26, 2007

Biology major chosen to present research poster at Capitol Hill

Todd Spears, a ULM senior biology undergraduate major, was one of only 80 undergraduates from across the nation to present his research poster at the Council on Undergraduate Research Posters on the Hill in Washington DC Wednesday, April 25.

Spears, who was chosen out of almost 400 competing applicants, joined others in presenting the results of independent research in science, mathematics and humanities to members of Congress, federal agency funding officers and invited guests. Spears’ poster is entitled, "Monitoring Pollutants Via the Catfish Olfactory Response: Determining LC50 Values and Swimming Behavior in the Presence of Pollutants."

His project was funded by the ULM-Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program, the National Institutes of Health-IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Program, the ULM Emerging Scholars Program, and the Louisiana Governor's Office of Environmental Education. Faculty sponsors for this project include ULM’s Ann Findley, professor of biology, and LSU’s John Caprio.

According to the CUR, “the nation's technological infrastructure requires well-trained scientists and engineers, but studies show that the number of students selecting these fields will not keep up with demand. Participation in research projects represents one of the most effective ways of engaging students actively in the learning process, and a significant majority of students electing to pursue advanced degrees in the physical and life sciences engage in undergraduate research.

Students participating in original research projects graduate from college at higher rates than those who do not. Posters on the Hill offers students the opportunity to share their personal stories and the excitement of their discoveries with members of Congress and professional scientists.”

CUR is a national professional association representing faculty and administrators at nearly 1000 academic institutions, facilitating collaborative research by students and their faculty mentors. Along with CUR’s governmental and private partners, they work to provide students with a wide range of opportunities to learn science by application and provide faculty with opportunities to integrate research into their teaching.

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