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SHSU Student Wins Fellowship

Robin Ward, Sam Houston State University senior biology major from Sweeny, is one of only 17 students selected nationally for a $2,500 American Society for Microbiology Sustaining Member Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

Ward, a member of the Alpha Chi scholastic honor society and the Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, has compiled a perfect 4.0 grade point average since transferring to Sam Houston State from Brazosport College at the beginning of the 1995 fall semester.

The society announced that Ward was among 59 applicants for the 17 awards. The society is the oldest and largest single biological membership organization, with more than 400,000 members worldwide.

The fellowship encourages students to pursue careers or advanced degrees in the microbiological sciences. Students selected must participate in a research project at their institution and present results or that research. Projects must be endorsed by a faculty member who is a society member.

Ward's mentor is Harry Kurtz Jr. The subject of her research is the "Diversity of Cyanobacteria on the Colorado Plateau."

Kurtz, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, and Dennis Netoff, associate professor in the Department of Geography and Geology, have investigated the beneficial effects that microbes have on easily-eroded sandstone in southeastern Utah. Their early studies indicate that the organisms residing in and on the stone surfaces act to protect the otherwise delicately-constructed rock from the effects of wind and rain. The erosive process is often started by people hiking or biking in the remote areas, causing environmental agencies to restrict recreational use of those areas.


Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
July 15, 1998
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