Pictured Left to Right: Darrell C. Balderrama, UTSA Director; Omar Gonzalez, UTSA; Victor Velasco, UTEP; Jessica Lilley, UT-Arlington

UTSA Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation attend UT Student Research Conference

The UTSA Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program recently attended the UT System Annual Statewide LSAMP Student Research Conference at the University of Texas at El Paso. A total of three students represented UTSA at the conference presenting research posters outlining their research projects developed during the 10-week Summer Research Academy.

This year’s Summer Research Academy consisted of three visiting students from UTPA, UTEP & UT-Arlington. Students participated in the 10 week Summer Research Academy where they were required to work at least 30 hours per week in the selected research labs.

“Undergraduate research opportunities, such as LSAMP, help provide students the ability to apply concepts they learn in the classroom into a research lab. We also hope that through LSAMP students begin to explore possibilities of furthering their education in graduate studies.” said Darrell C. Balderrama, Director of Retention Programs and LSAMP site director in the UTSA Office of P-20 Initiatives.

First-, second- and third-place awards in the poster competition were awarded to students in the categories of science and engineering. This year, UTSA’s LSAMP program won 2nd and 3rd place in the science poster competition. Jessica Lilley, a Junior biology major at UT-Arlington, under the direction of College of Science faculty mentor, Dr. Karl Klose, titled, “Deleting the Flagellar Protein FlaAC from the Genome of Vibrio cholera” placed 3rd overall. “I constantly learned new things, everything from lab work and working with new instruments and methods to research skills. This experience helped me grow so much as a scientist and I now feel comfortable in the lab doing difficult work. ”, said Jessica Lilley.

Omar Gonzalez, a junior biology major at UTSA, under the direction of College of Science faculty mentor, Dr. Fidel Santamaria, titled, “Rapid Three-Dimensional Morphological Modeling and Printing of a Cerebellar Purkinje Cell” placed 2nd overall. “My experience in the research lab this summer was incredible. I feel I learned a lot about myself and as a result, grew as a scholar but more importantly, as an individual. Through countless hours of research and refinements, along with the wisdom and guidance of my mentor, I was able to successfully complete my research project”, said Omar Gonzalez.

The 2015 LSAMP SRA cohort presented research on an array of topics, working with faculty mentors in the UTSA College of Sciences and College of Engineering. Students and their faculty research mentors at the conference were:

SRA – Second-place winner: Omar Gonzalez, UTSA – Biology (Faculty Mentor -Dr. Fidel Santamaria, UTSA Associate Professor of Biology )
SRA – Third-place winner: Jessica Lilley, UT Arlington – Biology (Faculty Mentor – Dr. Karl Klose, UTSA Professor of Biology)
SRA – Victor Velasco, UT El Paso – Engineering (Faculty Mentor – Dr. Hariharan Krishnaswami, UTSA Assistant Professor of Engineering)

The UTSA LSAMP program enrolls new participants each semester and will accept applications beginning Nov. 1 for Summer Research Academy 2016. To learn more, contact Darrell Balderrama at 210-458-4284.

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