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University of Iowa News Release


April 21, 2008

Photo: University of Iowa student Natalie Adams receives congratulations from UI President Sally Mason during the UI Spring Undergraduate Research Forum as she is honored for receiving the UI Arts and Humanities Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award.

UI undergraduate students honored for research excellence

Four University of Iowa undergraduate students were honored for their research at the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Spring Undergraduate Research Forum Saturday, April 5.

University of Iowa President Sally Mason and Vice Provost Tom Rocklin provided opening remarks. UI Associate Vice President for Research Richard Hichwa presented the Vice President for Research's 2008 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Awards at the forum.

These awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in scholarly investigation, artistic creation or performance by an undergraduate student in four fields: arts and humanities, mathematics and engineering, natural sciences and social sciences. The selected students are juniors who have excelled in their work with faculty mentors. Award winners receive a $1,000 travel allowance to attend a conference in their area of study for the next academic year.

These students represent the outstanding quality of undergraduate researchers at the UI, said Jordan Cohen, UI interim vice president for research.

"One of the unique features of great state universities like Iowa is the opportunity to challenge the best of our students to go beyond their classrooms to explore new frontiers and discover new solutions to major societal issues as they mature into the next generation of leaders," Cohen said. "Research experience at the undergraduate level introduces students to these new ways of thinking and stimulates many to pursue advanced education."

Forty-four undergraduates working in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Carver College of Medicine, the College of Engineering, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Education, and the College of Public Health presented their research at the forum. In addition to the presentations, outstanding poster awards and participation prizes were awarded. The forum is hosted by the ICRU. For more information on ICRU or to view a list of student presenters at the forum, their majors, research projects and mentors, visit

EDITORS: This release includes information about a research award for a student in your readership area. The students are listed alphabetically according to hometown, with Iowa towns listed first followed by other states.


NEW LIBERTY:  Natalie Adams earned the Arts and Humanities Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. A junior majoring in horn performance, Adams worked with Jeffery Agrell in the UI School of Music in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Her research project created a modern performing edition of a piece of music by François-René Gebauer (1773-1845).

URBANDALE: Alexandra Keenan, a UI junior who is pursuing a triple major in biomedical engineering in the UI College of Engineering, biochemistry in the UI Carver College of Medicine, and international studies in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and International Programs, received the Natural Sciences Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Keenan's research examines the identification and characterization of a vaccine. Her faculty sponsor is Mary Wilson in the UI Department of Internal Medicine.


ORLAND PARK: Danielle Theriault, a junior psychology major in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, received the Social Science Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. She worked with Kevin Duff in the UI Psychiatry Department in the UI Carver College of Medicine on the research project, which seeks an understanding of the cognitive impairments of Huntington's disease.


WIND LAKE: Stacy Sommerfeld, a chemical engineering student in the UI College of Engineering, received the Engineering and Math Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award for her work designing aerosols that fly well into the lungs. Jennifer Fiegel with the UI Colleges of Engineering and Pharmacy was Sommerfeld's faculty mentor on the project.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Lois J. Gray, 319-384-0077,