FAYETTE, Iowa (February 8, 2019) – A pair of Upper Iowa University (UIU) students were recently recognized at the annual Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation and Research and Education (IINSPIRE) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Conference in Ames, Iowa.

Zory Hamblin, a biology major from Worthington, Minnesota, placed first for her poster that described her summer internship at Sanford Health Pathology Clinic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Madelaine Quistgaard, a senior forensic science major from Bloomington, Illinois, was also recognized at the conference after being named UIU’s LSAMP Outstanding Student.

“I chose this internship opportunity because I wanted to learn more about the workings of a pathology clinic and also to see if it was the career I wished to pursue,” said Hamblin. “As part of my experience, I observed and assisted in 25 different autopsies. The internship provided me multiple hands-on opportunities. The benefits I gained through this internship, such as firsthand exposure to the various techniques, will greatly help me with my future career choice.”

“I was definitely surprised by this recognition,” Quistgaard added. “I didn’t expect to receive the honor, but I am extremely grateful. LSAMP has helped fund some of my education here at Upper Iowa and helped me with an undergraduate research experience at the Center for Statistical Analysis for Forensic Science at Iowa State University (ISU). I have enjoyed the entire LSAMP program and it has certainly better prepared me for graduation and beyond.”

UIU was the host institution for the 2019 conference, which was held at ISU in Ames. In opening “Navigating Pathways for STEM Student Success” on Friday, February 1, UIU Provost Dr. P. Joan Poor delivered the welcoming address. As part of the educational sessions, UIU Professor of Geosciences Kata McCarville, Assistant Professor of Biology Paul Skrade and Eastern Iowa Colleges Conservation Technology Program Director Brian Ritter organized “Education in Field-based STEM Disciplines: Opportunities and Challenges” and “ Careers in Field-based STEM Disciplines: Opportunities and Challenges.”

The participating panel members for the event included Karri Folks, an ISU graduate student in the Natural Resource Ecology and Management (NREM) and Anthropology departments; William Peek, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service wetland specialist; Jeramie Strickland, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife & Fish Refuge; and Charla Wilson, ISU senior animal science major.

Additional UIU attendees included Professor of Physics and Mathematics Dr. Nigel George, Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Dana Bates, freshman biology major Miguel Vazquez of Fort Dodge, Iowa, and sophomore biology major Ryan Wooten of Willowbrook, Illinois.

IINSPIRE is a Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The alliance brings together 16 two-year and four-year colleges and universities that are working to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the Midwest. The participating institutions collaborate to support and increase the success of students and provide students in the alliance with academic, research, training and mentoring opportunities, including scholarships and research stipends.