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UGA undergraduates awarded 2010 CURO summer research fellowships

Athens, Ga. – Twenty-five University of Georgia undergraduates have been selected to participate in inquiry-based research projects this summer through the Honors Program’s Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities.

The student investigators, awarded 2010 CURO summer research fellowships, will be delving into topics related to their fields of interest such as marketing, Japanese language and literature, and infectious diseases.Faculty mentors in those disciplines provide guidance and support.

“CURO summer fellows have the benefit of an intensive, immersive faculty-guided research opportunity-an unparalleled experience for undergraduates,” said Pamela Kleiber, associate director of UGA’s Honors Program.”To balance this in-depth inquiry, the summer fellows also have opportunities to interact with one another and learn about the similarities and differences in how research is approached in different disciplines.”

For example, Jay Patel, a rising junior from John’s Creek with majors in biochemistry and molecular biology, economics and infectious diseases, said he always dreamed of becoming a doctor.But his participation in the cellular biology laboratory of his faculty research mentor, Boris Striepen, prompted him to add researcher to his future career plans. Patel is currently studying the biology ofToxoplasma gondii,a parasite that can be harmful inimmunocompromisedindividuals.

“As an undergraduate researcher, I have had the amazing opportunity to attend research symposiums and learn from scientists from all over the world,” he said. “Being a part of this community has allowed me to take a look into what the life of a researcher entails, which helped me realize what I would like to do with my future.”

Similarly, Rebecca Parker, a rising senior exercise and sport science major from Alpharetta, said that conducting research gives her the experience she needs for a career in medicine. For the last two years, she has been studying alternative exercise regimens to improve vascular health of individuals who cannot exercise, especially those with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury.Her faculty research mentor is UGA kinesiology professor Kevin McCully.

“I am not sure which field of medicine I want to enter, but I am excited to explore several areas such as cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and rehabilitation,” she said.”I believe that this will open up opportunities for me to coordinate with Ph.D.’s in research and to develop lasting relationships with patients.”

With the CURO fellowship, Parker said the direction of her studies can focus more on individuals with spinal cord injuries when she continues her research at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta this summer.

CURO summer fellows earn academic credit for conducting their individual projects and share their research experiences with other students through panel discussions held during the academic year.They also are invited to attend CURO’s undergraduate research symposium that takes place every spring and submit abstracts of their summer research for possible inclusion in the symposium presentations.

“We are most appreciative of the financial support we have received this year for the CURO Summer Fellowship Program,” said David S. Williams, director of UGA’s Honors Program. “We are grateful as well for the strong support of the faculty members who will be mentoring the students this summer.”

Sponsors of the 2010 CURO fellowships include the President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, the Office of the Vice President for Instruction, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Alumni Association, the Athletic Association, and the Jane and Bill Young Scholarship.

For more information on the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, see and click on CURO.

The 2010 CURO summer fellows are:

From Georgia

Name / Hometown / Major(s)

Jessica Alcorn / Monroe / international affairs, political science

Amarachi Anukam / Athens / health promotion

Thomas Bailey / Woodstock / linguistics, Japanese language and literature

Michael Bray / Marietta / genetics

Ebony Caldwell / Augusta / health promotion

Caitlin Cassidy / Alpharetta / marketing, international business

Daniel Cellucci / Atlanta / physics, mathematics

Jessica Fazio / Canton / chemistry

JoyEllen Freeman / Milton / English

Debashis Ghose / Atlanta / microbiology

Shanterian Hester / Lithonia / biochemistry and molecular biology

Georgianna Mann / Marietta / animal science

Krelin Naidu / Marietta / biology

Rebecca Parker / Alpharetta / exercise and sport science

Jay Patel / John’s Creek / biochemistry and molecular biology, economics, infectious diseases

Rachel Pérez / Savannah / history, anthropology

Ryan Prior / Warner Robins / international affairs, English

Malavika Rajeev / Tifton / ecology

Hope Rogers / Lilburn / English, linguistics

Carla Rutherford / Roswell / biochemistry and molecular biology

Laura Smart / McDonough / psychology

Stephen Thompson / Savannah / history, chemistry

Jake Young / Columbus / theater

From Out-of-State

Meagan Cauble / Weaverville, N.C. / biochemistry and molecular biology

Camille Gregory / Brentwood, Tenn. / international affairs, cellular biology