Students in UTSA Stokes minority participation program attend state conference

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UTSA students attend conference at UT Arlington

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(Sept. 29, 2011) -- The UTSA Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program sent 10 undergraduate students to compete at the UT System Annual Statewide Conference Sept. 15 at the University of Texas at Arlington. Each student presented a poster, which outlined research projects they developed during the 10-week UTSA Summer Research Academy.

The LSAMP fellows were comprised of five UTSA students, three San Antonio College students, one UT Brownsville student and one student from UT El Paso. The 10 students participated in research with UTSA faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

"The LSAMP Summer Research Academy is a wonderful experience for undergraduates. It gives them an opportunity to work alongside prominent research faculty and get exposed to the wonders of research," said Darrell Balderrama, director of outreach programs and LSAMP director in the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives. "Each of the research fellows was dedicated to a program and exhibited a wonderful desire to pursue their education into graduate school, and I'm excited to see what the future holds for these students."

This year's participants included seven engineering students, two science students and one mathematics student. Each student was required to work at least 30 hours per week in the selected research labs and complete a poster to be showcased at the conference to compete against other LSAMP fellows from across the UT System.

First-, second- and third-place awards in the poster presentations went to students in the categories of science and engineering. UTSA's LSAMP program won first place in the science competition and second in the engineering competition.Gerardo Rosas,a senior biology major at UT Brownsville, presented a poster of his work alongside Richard LeBaron and Clyde Felix. Rosas' poster was titled, "BIGH3: A Novel Agent That Induces Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells."

Cole Meyers, a sophomore engineering major at San Antonio College, presented his poster on the work he did alongside Xiaodu Wang titled, "Effect of Polarity and Hydrogen Bonding Ability of Water on the Mechanical Behavior of Bones."

"My summer experience at UTSA was something that made me, in many ways, more independent and mature, both personally and at work," said Rosas. "My goals include getting published in more papers and gaining entrance into pharmacy school. I would like to specialize in neuropharmacology. My summer LSAMP experience has helped in the sense that it allowed me not only to gain a different scope in research but also helped me realize what I am capable of."

As part of the LSAMP program, this year's summer research academy participants were offered an opportunity to apply competitively for a trip to the World Science Forum in Budapest, Hungary. This year's winners were Peter G. Reyes, senior in the UTSA College of Engineering and Daniel Hernandez, senior in the UTSA College of Sciences.

The 2011 LSAMP SRA cohort at UTSA pursued research on an array of topics, working with faculty mentors in the UTSA College of Sciences and UTSA College of Engineering.

Students and their faculty research mentors at the conference were:

  • Rodrigo Frausto, UTSA Engineering (Sazzard Shafique, associate professor of civil engineering, and Drew Johnson, associate professor of civil engineering)
  • Daniel Hernandez, UTSA Biology (Mathew Gdovin, associate professor of biology)
  • Ariel Larson, San Antonio College Engineering (Anand Ramasubramanian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering)
  • Melissa Martinez, UTSA Engineering (Medhi Shadaram, Briscoe Distinguished Professor of Engineering)
  • Second-place winner: Cole Meyers, San Antonio College Engineering (Xiaodu Wang, professor of mechanical engineering)
  • First-place winner: Peter G. Reyes, UTSA Engineering (Harry Millwater, professor of mechanical engineering)
  • Gerardo Rosas, UT Brownsville Biology (Richard Le Baron, associate professor of biology, and Clyde Felix, associate professor of biology)
  • Adan Sanchez, UTSA Engineering (Hung-Da Wan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering)
  • Jonathan Tavarez, UT El Paso Engineering (JingYong Ye, assistant professor of biomedical engineering)
  • Shahla Zahroony, San Antonio College Math (Sandy Norman, associate professor of mathematics)

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The UTSA LSAMP program enrolls new participants each semester and will accept applications beginning Nov. 1 for Summer Research Academy 2012. To learn more, contact Darrell Balderrama at 210-458-2697.