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Laramie’s Jessica Marsh Receives Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowship

December 16, 2015
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Jessica Marsh is one of nine Wyoming community college students who received Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowships to continue their studies at the University of Wyoming. (Jessica Marsh Photo)

When Jessica Marsh learned she had received a Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowship, she was ecstatic. The fellowship allows her to continue to conduct research while studying at the University of Wyoming.

“Continuing to do research and getting to work with graduate students on their projects is an honor,” says Marsh, from Laramie. “I love to do it.”

Marsh earned her associate of science degree in biology from Laramie County Community College. While there, she learned about the Wyoming INBRE program and worked on an INBRE-funded project.

“I would like to thank my mentors at Laramie County Community College, Ami Wangeline and Zac Roehrs, for being so supportive of me and sparking my interest in scientific research,” Marsh says.

Marsh is one of nine students from Wyoming’s community colleges who received Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowships to study and conduct research at UW.

Through a competitive selection process, the Wyoming IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) program awards transition fellowships to Wyoming community college students who transfer to UW to pursue bachelor’s degrees in biomedical-related disciplines.

For two years, students receive $2,500 each semester to study and receive training in UW research laboratories. There also is the possibility of support through the Wyoming INBRE Undergraduate Summer Fellowship Program that provides $3,500 for the summer, says Scott Seville, Wyoming INBRE principal investigator and program director.

Students must maintain full-time enrollment and at least a 3.0 GPA while being supported. They must commit to working about 10 hours per week in a laboratory on a mentored independent research project. They also are required to attend INBRE seminars and events as their course schedules allow, and present results of their research at Wyoming Undergraduate Research Day.

“To facilitate the transition from their colleges to the university, junior and senior transition fellows meet regularly with the INBRE personnel to discuss and address transition challenges, share experiences and engage in a supportive community of student scholars,” Seville says.

Marsh, a zoology major, guided by her faculty mentor Sarah Benson-Amram, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Zoology and Physiology, is researching the behavior and communication of zebra finches.

“We hope to identify an association between the communication skills and personalities of mated and non-mated pairs of zebra finches,” Marsh says.

Wyoming, with UW as the lead institution, is one of 23 states and Puerto Rico funded by the National Institutes of Health INBRE program. INBRE funding is intended to enhance biomedical research capacity; expand and strengthen the research capabilities of biomedical faculty; and provide access to biomedical resources for promising undergraduate students throughout the eligible states.

Other transition fellows, listed by hometowns and community colleges, are:

Cheyenne -- Samantha Haller and Kelsea Zukauckas, Laramie County Community College; and Hannah Jernigan, Sheridan College.

Rawlins -- Rebecca Iacovetto, Central Wyoming College.

Reliance -- Denise De Loera, Western Wyoming Community College.

Riverton -- Sara Cisneros and Philip Gard, Central Wyoming College.

Rock Springs -- Andrea Sanchez Walk, Western Wyoming Community College.

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