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Meredith Symposium to Showcase Undergraduate Science Research Nov. 4
Undergraduate research will be on display at a daylong science symposium in the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S).
On Saturday, Nov. 4, A&S will host the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Symposium in the Chemical and Biological Sciences from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Life Sciences Complex’s Breed Lecture Hall (room 105). The program will include two alumni keynote addresses and eight student presentations. All participants have ties to A&S.
The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Robert P. Doyle, Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence in the Department of Chemistry, at 315.443.3584 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The purpose of the symposium, now in its second year, is to highlight women and first-generation undergraduates in the life sciences.
“Having been a first-generation student, I feel it is important to acknowledge the many unknowns and obstacles that students face, and then encourage them to stick to it—to go as far as they can,” says Doyle, an expert in medicinal chemistry. “The Meredith Symposium supports women students and those from disadvantaged backgrounds interested in entering or advancing in the world of scientific research.”
This year’s keynote speakers are Tayo Ikotun G’09 and Allison Roberts ’14. A senior research scientist at the biopharmaceutical giant Amgen, Ikotun will discuss the role of molecular imaging in drug discovery. Roberts, a Ph.D. candidate in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, will provide an overview of chemoproteomics, involving the effects of drug treatment and metabolism on proteins.
The student presenters are Genesis Felizola ’18 (communication sciences and disorders), Etta Hanlin ’20 (biology), Claudia Heritage ’19 (biochemistry), Mara Julin ’18 (chemistry), Myles Morgan ’20 (neuroscience), Devin Nonnenman ’19 (chemistry and forensic science), Jordan Pitt ’20 (chemistry) and Ibnul Rafi ’18 (biochemistry).
All of them will compete for two awards, each of which comes with a $2,500 prize for conference travel.
The presenters have conducted at least one semester of research at Syracuse or the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF). They also belong to or are eligible to join the McNair Scholars Program or the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) program.
Cathryn Newton, WiSE’s founding co-director, marvels at the caliber of this year’s cohort. “The Meredith Symposium affirms the importance of the spirit of undergraduate scholarly and creative work—and so doing, it dovetails with the sustained and significant accomplishments of the McNair and WiSE programs,” she says. “We hope many people across our campus and community will join us in support of these excellent student presentations.”
A member of the symposium’s selection committee, Newton is a special advisor to the Chancellor and Provost for faculty engagement, dean emerita of A&S, and professor of Earth sciences and interdisciplinary sciences.
Then-Chancellor Kenneth A. Shaw established the Laura J. and L. Douglas Meredith Professorships in 1995 from a bequest from the estate of A&S alumnus L. Douglas Meredith ’26. The professorships recognize and reward outstanding teaching.
At any one time, there are six active Meredith Professors on campus. The three-year professorship comes with a supplementary salary award and funding for professional development.
Doyle is using the money from his Meredith Professorship to underwrite the symposium for three years. Recently, he garnered additional support from the American Chemical Society (ACS). His goal is to secure enough funding, approximately $10,000 a year, to make the symposium a sustainable annual event.
“I want to encourage, engage and support women and first-generation undergraduates who conduct research in the physical and life sciences,” says Doyle, the chemistry department’s associate chair and director of graduate studies, as well as an associate professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University. “I couldn’t do this, of course, without the generous support of the McNair and WiSE programs and the ACS.”
Christabel Osei-Bobie Sheldon ’93 directs the McNair Scholars Program, based in the School of Education. “I am inspired by the work ethic and high level of commitment of the Meredith Symposium presenters, some of whom have overcome great odds to come here,” she says. “The symposium provides a forum for encouragement, support and opportunities for growth. I applaud our professors for instilling in their students a culture of discipline, along with different modes of inquiry and discourse.”
Adds Doyle: “We engage with some of the best undergraduate researchers that Syracuse has to offer. By preparing first-generation or underrepresented students for Ph.D. programs, we help diversify the faculty in our nation’s colleges and universities.”