So AXE, the deodorant company and not the chemistry fraternity, teamed up with Space Expedition Corporation, a private aerospace company developing a miniature space shuttle, to send a few people from around the world to outer space. The United States gets two seats. One of them was assigned with a sweepstakes during the Superbowl. The other one will be determined at a later date. The competition I’m in would allow me to get a chance to get that other seat. I am basically in a popularity contest: the top two spots with the most amount of votes move on to attend Space Camp. The two winners will join eight others chosen from other sweepstakes to go to Space Camp. The last seat for space travel will be chosen from people attending. Space Camp itself should be fairly exciting: it covers a ride in a fighter jet, a microgravity flight, and simulator space flight. I am currently in 24th place in that popularity contest. I’ve been dressing up as an astronaut everyday at George Mason University (just doing everyday things like doing hw, eating, going to class, etc…) and I’ll do the same at U of I when I visit March 8-10. That’s during my spring break so I’ll also have time to hand out flyers/pamphlets. The school newspaper there is going to run a story on me fairly soon.
For my graduate studies, I am pursing a Master’s degree in chemistry. My advisor is Paul Cooper and he specializes in the chemistry of planetary ices. The research I am conducting involves elucidating the mechanism behind methanol formation in irradiated ice. Water ice is the most dominant ice in the solar system and that ice is constantly bombarded by high-speed electrons, protons, and ions. This can lead to the creation of new and more complex chemical species if the ice contains other primordial chemical species like methane or carbon dioxide. My experiments involve shooting high speed electrons at water ice laced with methane. We identify various products using IR spectroscopy and mass spectroscopy. The exact mechanism or mechanisms of formation will be identified by using deuterium that will replace the hydrogen atoms in either the methane or water so that we can trace the movement of the hydrogen atoms.
Ryan Kelly, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Plant Biology at the University of Illinois, is the winner of the 2012 Deevey award for his presentation: “Pushing the limits of the boreal-forest fire regime: recent changes in a 10,000 year context.” His presentation was coauthored by Melissa Chipman, Philip E. Higuera, Linda B. Brubaker, and Feng Sheng Hu.
His research reconstructed 10,000 years of boreal-forest fire history from analysis of macroscopic charcoal accumulation in sediment cores from Alaska. He presented evidence that the boreal fire regime has been changing through fuel depletion. Mr. Kelly completed a Bachelor of Science in Integrative Biology from the University of Illinois in 2005.
Women In Science (WIS) needs new officers for 2013! We have positions open for both graduate students and undergraduates.
This is a great opportunity to get involved in a growing organization, network with women in other departments and improve your CV!
Nominate yourself or a friend for one of the following positions:
• President: Oversees officer meetings, long-term and event planning for the organization (Grad Student)
• Vice President: Assists the president in planning for the organization (Grad Student)
• Treasurer: Presents the budget at officer meetings and reviews the organization’s finances on a regular basis (Grad Student)
• Secretary: Keeps minutes at officer and general meetings, distributes minutes, and keeps records (Grad Student)
• Outreach Coordinator: Initiates and coordinates outreach opportunities in campus and the community for WIS members to participate in (Grad or Undergrad Student)
• Fundraising Coordinator: Plans and oversees fundraising efforts by the organization (Grad or Undergrad Student)
• Webmaster: Updates the organization’s collegiatelink and facebook pages, advertises events (Grad or Undergrad Student)
• Departmental Representatives: Promote visibility of WIS and participation in WIS in the representatives’ home department (Grad and Undergrad Students—we will be accepting nominations for any department/major in science, technology, engineering or math)
Nominations are open October 11-November 5, and voting will begin at our general meeting at 4 pm on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the heritage room of the ACES library.
For more information or to nominate yourself or a friend, please email WIS President Courtney Leisner (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please join Women in Science as we hold our first panel discussion of the fall semester!
Topic: Alternative Career Paths in the STEM Fields
This panel is meant to help women of all levels, from undergraduates to professionals, make informed decisions at every stage of their career.
Joan Huber –Coordinator, Professional Science Master’s Program
Barbara Hug –Clinical Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction
Cristina Beldica –Senior Project Manager, Blue Waters Sustained Petascale Computing
Alex Wild –Free lance photographer
Date: Tuesday October 30th
Place: ACES Library Heritage Room
Thank you, and hope to see you there!
This is a testimonial from Matt Grobis, one of our outstanding IB Honors students who just earned a Fulbright Grant to study in Germany next year. Take a look to learn about what he is going to be doing and how you can follow his lead!
To those who haven’t heard of the Fulbright grant, a Fulbright is funding to do research or teach English for one year in a foreign country. Because everything is paid for, you can imagine it’s fairly competitive. (For more info, go to http://us.fulbrightonline.org)
I was lucky enough to be selected for one. Next year, I’ll be carrying out a Fulbright research grant at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, in Germany, studying the intersection of great tit personality and social behavior. One of the projects I’m looking forward to working on is examining how birds of different degrees of boldness rely on conspecifics to find food. One application of this is ensuring beneficial human-animal interactions; understanding how knowledge about foraging sites travels through groups can help us predict native bird populations’ responses to anthropogenic habitat change, for example. I will be working with Dr. Niels Dingemanse, a researcher at the MPIO and also a professor at the Ludwig Maximilian University, in Munich. The Institute is located a forty-minute train ride south of Munich and I’m very excited to explore the city and learn about German culture. Hopefully a year of German at U of I is enough to let me get by, though I’ll be keeping a dictionary close by!
I first learned of the Fulbright a year ago, when I was looking at graduate schools. I found a girl doing really cool research on tiger-human conflict in India and e-mailed her, asking if she had any advice for how she got to where she was. In her very helpful response, she mentioned her Fulbright year in India and how it’d helped her decide what to do for a PhD. Shortly afterwards, I met with the head of my research lab, Alison Bell, and asked for her help finding someone with whom I could do research abroad. Dr. Dingemanse’s research interested me the most, and after an e-mail that took me a few tries to write, I received a good response! We e-mailed back and forth over project ideas and came up with a tentative project. Meanwhile, I was working on my Fulbright application with the help of the National and International Scholarships Office at U of I (http://topscholars.illinois.edu). I’m very thankful to Laura Hastings and David Schug, who helped me through every step of my application. I would recommend to anyone even considering pursuing the Fulbright to fill out an application; the process of organizing your life up to this point and deciding what direction you want to go with it now was immensely helpful.
I was on the waitlist for ten weeks, so I feel very, very fortunate to be in this position. My advice to anyone considering applying for a Fulbright comes in four parts. First, start early! It’s crazy to think I started working on my Fulbright application over a year before I heard the final result. First drafts of essays are always terrible and it takes everyone a while to find an angle to their application. Keep pushing. Have friends, family, and professors give you feedback, and you’ll end with something you’re happy with. Second, find very good reasons why your Fulbright has to be in the country you chose. If you want to teach English in Ecuador, why not Colombia, Peru, Chile, Panama, or Spain? How is a neuroscience lab in Switzerland better than MIT or Cambridge? Outside of research, what can you offer Madagascar that you couldn’t to South Africa or Ghana? Third, be as specific as possible whenever possible. Anyone can write “I plan to volunteer while I’m in Vietnam” and get away with it. It looks much, much better to write “I have contacted this non-profit in the nearby town, which is ten minutes away by bike, and the head of the program, Mrs. such and such, has agreed that I can help on these projects.” Fourth, throughout the whole process, be humble and thankful. Your application needs to make you look awesome, true, but your success highly depends on the help of a lot of people. Say thanks to your letter of recommendation writers. Understand that the person you contact to do research with is taking a chance by responding to an e-mail from someone he or she has never met.
If you apply and you’re lucky, you will get to spend a year in another country learning from others and about yourself. But even if you don’t receive a grant, you will still learn from the experience and be better-prepared for selling yourself to graduate schools or potential employers. I wish you the best of luck! Send your applications to the National and International Scholarships Office before the July 1 priority deadline (if you can!), and please e-mail me if you’d like advice or another pair of eyes on your essays. email@example.com
Grant Hansen, graduate student in the new Plant Biology Professional Science Master’s program, has been awarded a 2012 Outstanding Volunteer Service Award, through the Office of Volunteer Programs, University of Illinois. Grant was recognized for his dedication to market research and business consulting partnerships with small businesses, which he conducts through ECI-SCORE, a CU student volunteer business organization. He was nominated for this honor by his SCORE mentor, Dr. Mel DeGeeter, who also attended the awards ceremony (inset).
Congratulations to Stephanie Klein, a junior majoring in Integrative Biology, who has been awarded a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB). Stephanie is one of fifteen students selected in the highly competitive national competition in 2012. She will receive a stipend and research funds to study “Auxin control of Medicago truncatula root development under elevated CO2” over the summer with Dr. Andrew Leakey, as well as support to travel to Providence, RI to present her findings at the annual meeting of ASPB next year.
Many of our Integrative Biology students choose to study abroad and conduct research in the field. Jeff Miguel, pictured to the right, spent the fall of 2010 in Ecuador and the Galapagos islands studying Marine Ecology by enrolling in the Galapagos program (GAIAS) at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.
Jeff spent the first month in Quito and the coast of Ecuador and the last three months on the actual Galapagos Islands. During his time there, he stayed with host families and got to know the locals quite well. This picture was taken on a regular day during his walk to class.
Yes, there was even coursework! Jeff completed five courses with a Marine Ecology focus in three week modules.
If you’re interested in taking your studies beyond the classroom, talk with an Integrative Biology Academic Advisor today!
Muhammed is working on an innovation called “In Case of Emergency” or I.C.E. This is a device that can call emergency services in case of major cardiac events that is affordable and non-invasive. He is also working on another project called Tabule, an instructor-student communication tool that is simple, efficient and ready to use on any smartphone or laptop. Tabule is currently in its beta-testing phase.
The winner of the prize will be announced and awarded the prize at a ceremony scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on March 7, 2012 in the auditorium of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA; 1205 W. Clark, Urbana), on the University of Illinois campus. The awards ceremony is open to the public, and will be immediately followed by a reception for all attendees. We’re rooting for you, Muhammed!
Please join Women in Science as we hold our first panel discussion!
Topic: What does it mean to be a Woman in Science?
We will be discussing what has been important in driving women forward in their scientific careers, and what advice would they give to others starting their careers in science. The panelists come from a broad range of backgrounds and stages of their careers:
Hannah Deberg (Physics, Graduate Student)
Courtney Sloan (Chemistry, Post-Doc)
Jennifer Fraterrigo (Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences, Assistant Professor)
Lisa Ainsworth (Plant Biology, Associate Professor)
Date: Tuesday March 6th
Place: 269 Everitt Lab
Light refreshments will be served.
Thank you, and hope to see you there!