On September 7, 2017, five students from the University of Texas at San Antonio’s (UTSA) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program attended the UT-System annual statewide research conference at the University of Texas at El Paso. Conference attendees were part of the 10-week LSAMP Summer Research Academy (SRA) where they were paired with UTSA faculty mentors in their respective fields and conducted undergraduate research projects.
The 2017 SRA had a total of five undergraduate student participants. Of the participants, one was selected from UTSA, one from UTEP, two from Tyler Junior College and One from Tarrant County College. This year’s participants included three biology students and two engineering students. Each student was required to work at least 35 hours per week in the selected research labs, attend bi-weekly lab meetings and workshops and complete a conference style poster to be showcased at the conference.
The conference also served as a competition among other LSAMP fellows from across the UT System. The competition was divided into two categories of science and engineering, with over 70 total participants. First, second and third place awards were given to students in the categories of science and engineering. This year, UTSA’s LSAMP program took top honors winning 1st place in the science poster competition. Christiana Agbo, a junior from TCCD and now enrolled at Cornell University, presented her poster titled, “Inducing Apoptosis in Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells By Decreasing Intracellular pH Through Nitrobenzaldehyde Activation.”
“Being awarded the LSAMP fellowship gave me an opportunity of a lifetime to conduct cutting-edge research in a cancer research laboratory. The research experience made me realize my love for research and allowed me an opportunity to pursue a passion of mine which is cancer research. This fellowship definitely prepared me and gave me the skills I need to excel in a professional, academic, and social setting and I intend to continue undertaking research opportunities and apply to an MD/PhD program which combines my love for medicine and research”, said Christiana Agbo.
“The LSAMP program provides undergraduate students in STEM disciplines a unique research opportunity. Over the course of the summer, students delve into the research process first hand and apply concepts learned in the classroom into a research lab setting, helping to prepare students for the next step in their academic and professional careers”, said Darrell C. Balderrama, Director of Retention & TRiO Programs and LSAMP site director in the UTSA Institute for P-20 Initiatives.
The 2017 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 were:
- SRA – First-place winner: Christiana Agbo, TCCD/Cornell University – Biology (Faculty Mentor-UTSA Professor of Biology )
- SRA – Isai Leguizamo, Tyler Junior College/U. North Texas – Biology (Faculty Mentor – Dr. Karl Klose, UTSA Professor of Biology)
- SRA – Susana Sanchez, UT-El Paso – Biology (Faculty Mentor – Dr. Richard LeBaron, UTSA Professor of Biology)
- SRA – Omar Navarro, UTSA – Engineering (Faculty Mentor, Dr. Lyle Hood, UTSA Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering)
- Christine Anderson, Tyler Junior College – Civil Engineering (Faculty Mentor, Dr. Adolfo Matamoros, UTSA Professor of Civil Engineering)
The UTSA LSAMP program is part of the Institute for P-20 Initiatives. To learn more, contact Darrell Balderrama at 210-458-4284.