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Wyoming INBRE Awards UW Transition Fellowships to Community College Students

December 15, 2015
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Sara Cisneros, a molecular biology major from Riverton, received a Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowship to continue her studies at the University of Wyoming. (Sara Cisneros Photo)

Nine students from Wyoming’s community colleges have received Wyoming INBRE Transition Fellowships to study and conduct research at the University of Wyoming. They join 19 other community college transfer students who have attended or are attending UW as fellows.

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 the annual 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.

Kelsea Zukauckas, a first-year student from Cheyenne in UW’s Doctor of Pharmacy program, says she is honored to be a transition fellow. She hopes to continue to grow as a researcher.

“Wyoming INBRE gives me an opportunity to experience new projects and grow as a scientist and person,” Zukauckas says. “With the continuance of research, I am allowed to apply concepts I have learned in the classroom to real-life scenarios in the lab.”

Andrea Sanchez Walk, a molecular biology junior from Rock Springs, says the fellowship offers several benefits.

“It has expanded my ability to think abstractly and critically,” Sanchez Walk says. “It also means I am exposed to cutting-edge research that potentially could be a huge contribution to the scientific community.”

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.

Transition fellows, listed by hometowns and community colleges, are:

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

Laramie -- Jessica Marsh, Laramie County Community 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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