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Drake science students celebrate summer research, present findings

July 22, 2011
News Photo
Nine Drake students have spent the summer conducting individual research projects.

What does a pigeon do with its hippocampus? How does a hip replacement
influence mobility? What are scientists doing to treat influenza?

These questions -- as well as several other engaging topics --
comprise the individual research projects pursued by nine Drake
University students.
On Friday, July 22, the students will celebrate the
culmination of a summer of scientific inquiry with a public

The event, which is free, will be held from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. in room 206 of Olin Hall, 1344 27th St.

Thanks to grants provided by the Summer Undergraduate Research
Fellowship Program, funded by individual donors and organized by the Drake Undergraduate Science Collaborative Institute (DUSCI), the students have spent two months pursuing individual subjects of interest.

"From organic chemistry to the visual perception of the pigeon, the
students' project topics span the gamut," said Maria Valdovinos,
director of DUSCI. "They're doing phenomenal and complex work, and it's
been amazing to see the diversity of talents that our students possess.
Not only do they have the technical skills for conducting research, they
also excel when verbally explaining their work to others."

News Photo
Maria Valdovinos, director of DUSCI.

Students participating in the fellowship include:

*    Joshua Albrechtson, a senior astronomy major from Winona, Minn.

*    Grayson Bond, a sophomore student from Terre Haute, Ind.

*    Jason Farver, a senior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Yankton, S.D.

*    David Holcomb, a senior mathematics and computer science double major from Altoona, Iowa

*    Kaitlyn Kandray, a senior psychology major from Johnsburg, Ill.

*    Lingxiao Li, a senior actuarial science and finance double major from Suzhou, China

*    Jennifer Perry, a senior physics and mathematics double major from St. Paul, Minn.

*    Elizabeth Sommers, a senior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Hills, Iowa

*    Bradley Swan, a senior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major from Hudson, Wis.

The students applied in April for the opportunity to participate in
the summer fellowship, where they have worked one-on-one with Drake
faculty mentors to conduct research full-time.

"This experience is a great opportunity to work with a true
professional in the field," said Albrechtson, whose project analyzes
black holes. "Participating in the DUSCI program opens doors for

DUSCI launched in April 2005 to promote, support and coordinate efforts to fund undergraduate research in math and science.

For more information, contact Valdovinos at 515-271-2847 or

DUSCI Summer Research Fellowship Program Presentations

When: Friday, July 22 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Where: Room 206 of Olin Hall, 1344 27th St.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Contact: Maria Valdovinos at 515-271-2847 or