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Archive: March 2012

Please join us in congratulating Paul David Carlson, Chung-Yun (George) Chao, and Mark Strom, all UHP students who have been named 2012 Barry M. Goldwater Scholars. The prestigious Goldwater Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research-oriented careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, and engineering. The scholarships provide up to $7,500 per year for up to two years of undergraduate study.

More about the 2012 Goldwater Scholars:

Paul David Carlson, a junior majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Science and Engineering, plans to pursue a combined M.D. and Ph.D. in chemical engineering and specialize in cardiovascular tissue engineering. Carlson is a named contributor in a publication from the biomedical engineering laboratory of professor Robert Tranquillo, under whose guidance he has researched the creation of aligned, perfusable microvascular networks within fibrin-based tissue that can be used to repair damage to the human heart from cardiac infarction. Carlson has also given several poster presentations on his work. He spent summer 2011 as a Chemical Engineering Formulation intern at Eastman Kodak Co. in Rochester, New York, working on the reformulation of products in the Thermal Printing Platform. A National Merit Scholar, a Presidential Scholar, a Minnesota Gold Scholar, and recipient of the Monroe Professional Engineers Society and SIG Hagen scholarships, Carlson has been recognized by the American Chemical Society and awarded two Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grants. In his spare time, he tutors chemistry students at the U of M and volunteers at Amplatz Children's Hospital.

Chung-Yun (George) Chao is a junior pursuing a double major in genetics, cell biology, and development in the College of Biological Sciences and computer science in the College of Science and Engineering. Following his undergraduate studies, he plans to pursue a doctorate in bioinformatics and possibly an M.D. with a future specialty in internal medicine. Chao aspires to a research career at the intersection of genetics and computer science that will lead to new medical treatments. Working under the guidance of professor Chad Myers, he has researched mapping gene interaction networks in yeast and has extended these studies into an interaction network of human genes to predict possible protein interactions in humans. Chao is also involved in research on protein pathways in Drosophila under the direction of professor Thomas Neufeld, and under professor Daniel Keefe, he has explored the creation of a data generation system for analyzing movements of the spine. He has presented his work on several occasions, including a recent TEDxUMN talk, and is involved in leading the U of M's team for the 2012 International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) Competition. Chao is a Presidential Scholar, a Monica Tsang and James Weatherbee Merit Scholar in Biology, a Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development Scholar, and the recipient of an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grant. A competitive ballroom dancer, Chao has won dozens of awards and mentions in local, regional and national competitions.

Mark Strom, a junior chemistry major in the College of Science and Engineering, plans to pursue a combined M.D. and Ph.D. in cell biology with the purpose of conducting research on stem cells as a faculty member at a medical school. Under the direction of professor Atsushi Asakura, Strom has investigated molecular mechanisms behind muscle stem cell self-renewal with the hope of eventually applying these findings toward treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Strom spent summer 2011 conducting research at Syracuse University, working in the bioorganic chemistry laboratory of professor Yan-Yeung Luk on the organic synthesis and biological testing of novel bacterial biofilm inhibitors. Strom is a Presidential Scholar, a Minnesota Gold Scholar, a CSE Merit Scholar, a Robert C. Byrd Scholar, and a Thomas J. Watson Memorial Scholar, and he has been recognized with the Prentice Hall Organize Chemistry Book Prize, the Merck Index Award, a pair of Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grants, and a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant. A teaching assistant in the University of Minnesota Talented Youth Mathematics Program, Strom is also a longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities students who are interested in applying for the scholarship in the future may consult the Office for National and International Scholarships, a service of the University Honors Program.

Read the full press release here.

The Fannie and John Hertz Foundation announced today that University of Minnesota Honors Program student Grant Remmen has been awarded a prestigious Hertz Fellowship to support his future graduate studies. Considered to be the nation's most prestigious and generous support for graduate education in applied sciences and engineering, the Hertz Fellowship is valued at more than $250,000 per student, with support lasting up to five years.

Remmen will graduate summa cum laude from the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering this spring in each of his three majors: astrophysics, physics, and mathematics. He has been admitted to numerous top Ph.D. programs across the country in physics and astrophysics and will begin graduate study this fall.

Remmen has been conducting original research since his freshman year, and his work on the Milky Way's dark matter and on the cosmic ray muon velocity distribution has appeared in two publications in the Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics. At the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Remmen has investigated aspherical black holes under the mentorship of Professor Robert Gehrz and is currently conducting Hubble Space Telescope research on Eta Carinae, a complex star system, with Professor Kris Davidson.

Last summer, with the support of an international student scholarship from University College London, he engaged in research on general relativistic spin orbit coupling and its effect on multiple-body gravitational systems with Professor Kinwah Wu, head of theory at Mullard Space Science Lab in England. For his work on galactic dark matter, he was awarded the American Astronomical Society's Chambliss Medal for exemplary student research. Remmen was named a Goldwater Scholar in his sophomore year. He is also a U.S. Presidential Scholar and a National Merit Scholar, and has received many awards and honors at the University of Minnesota.

Remmen was one of only 15 students selected nationwide for the Hertz Fellowship from more than 600 applications and the only student chosen in the physics/astrophysics area. The highly competitive selection process includes a comprehensive written application, four references, and two rounds of technical interviews by recognized leaders in applied science and engineering. The scholarship is open to graduate students as well as college seniors.

Other 2012 Hertz fellows are from MIT, Harvard, Caltech, Princeton, University of California-Berkeley, Indiana University and the University of Texas, Austin.

The text of this press release was issued by the University News Service

The National Park Service and University Honors Program are collaborating to offer new honors internships during the summer 2012 and fall 2012 semesters.

About the Program

The University of Minnesota is a world-class university located in a national park, along one of the great rivers of the world. The Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA), established by Congress in 1988, stretches for 72 miles on each side of the Mississippi through the heart of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. A "partnership park," because the Park Service owns very little land, MNRRA works with public agencies and nonprofit partners throughout the corridor to protect significant resources and interpret the stories and places of this nationally-significant corridor.

The MNRRA-University of Minnesota relationship is enhanced by programs that bring students into the park for research and service projects that advance park goals and contribute to student learning and development. Students wishing to participate in these programs must be self-motivated, detail-oriented, and able to work effectively with relatively infrequent detailed supervision (meetings every other week and email contact in between). Familiarity with web-based research and ability to develop and modify Excel spreadsheets and Word documents are required.

2012 Summer/Fall Honors Internships

A wide variety of internships are available. Some are for summer, some for fall, and others are available for either semester. Each internship counts as two non-course Honors Experiences for the academic year. Most internships will require registration for a 2-credit internship course. A small number are paid internships for which no credit can be earned.

Information Sessions

Please attend one of the following information sessions:

  • Monday, 3/26, 11:30 – 12:15: 12 Nicholson Hall
  • Tuesday, 3/27, 11:30 – 12:15: N668 Elliott Hall

Position Descriptions

Mapping park water quality

The project will work with staff of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization to gather data on projects on which the two organizations have collaborated. Interns will gather basic project information from agency staff and/or files, and participate in the process of mapping the discovered projects.

Community Partners: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Some GIS experience is strongly preferred. Applicants for this position should make their relevant experience and coursework clear, noting software familiarity, dataset experience, and types of products created.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either (summer preferred)

SiteSeeing: connecting river and community

Work with staff at the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to gather materials for a youth-oriented community design project. "SiteSeeing" equips youth to ask the following questions about their immediate neighborhood/community:

  • What's there? (in terms of components of the physical landscape)
  • What used to be there?
  • What's missing?
  • What could be there?
Further information is available on the Site Lines website.

Community Partner: Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Strong interest in exploring the ways in which the public can be more effective advocates for the future of their particular community.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Summer, to build a materials base for fall semester programming at one or more Minneapolis public schools.

Note: It is possible that the right student, if interested, could continue to work with the program through implementation.

Minnehaha Park environmental scan

Work with staff at the National Park Service and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to undertake an "environmental scan" of Minnehaha Park and its immediate surroundings—in terms of identifying strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The scan will also identify and compile a basic record of "who's who" around the Park: private sector vendors and contractors, public agencies and their missions, staffs, and programs, and any available data on the public using the park.

Community Partners: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, National Park Service.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Interest in planning, program development, urban studies, or urban systems.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Summer

Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure evaluation

Work with staff at the National Park Service and Wilderness Inquiry to research existing evaluation reports on the Urban Wilderness Canoe Adventure (UWCA) and prepare materials for the evaluations to reach a broader audience. Research will also examine ways in which comparable programs—place-based learning, other river-oriented programs, and experiential/adventure learning—have been evaluated.

The UWCA program, now in its third year, gets urban youth (middle school and high school age) on the Mississippi River in large canoes for short day trips that complement their summer school curriculum. Education researchers have been conducting surveys assessing a variety of ways to measure learning outcomes, but those results are not widely distributed.

Community Partners: Wilderness Inquiry, National Park Service.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Basic familiarity with education/curriculum development or outdoor recreation and outdoor learning programs. Some knowledge of program assessment would be good.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either

Coldwater historical research

Work with staff at the National Park Service and the Minnesota Historical Society to identify and develop for interpretive staff historical materials pertaining to the Coldwater Spring/Bureau of Mines site. Research will include gathering material from existing cultural resource management reports, project materials developed for the removal of Bureau of Mines buildings and features, and other materials.

Community Partners: National Park Service, Minnesota Historical Society.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Experience and interest in history, geography, or environmental studies.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either

Visual material research on the river and city

Work with staff at the National Park and the River Life program to identify, sort, and develop finding aids for visual materials illustrating the intersections of the Mississippi River and the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Digital materials developed between 1990 – 2009 by the University's Metropolitan Design Center (and its predecessor, the Design Center for the American Urban Landscape) are the sources for this project. Material types include aerial and ground level photos, summaries of urban design standards that are sensitive to sustainable water infrastructure and open space systems, and early visualizations/drawings of the cities in their topographical surroundings.

Community Partners: National Park Service, River Life program.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Experience and interest in urban design, history, geography, or environmental studies.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either

Land cover change in the Minnehaha Creek watershed

Conduct a land cover change analysis on one subwatershed of the Mississippi River within the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The land cover analysis will be based upon Landsat imagery and will involve validating, classifying, and summarizing areas of change identified by the LandTrendr program. The student will also look at precedents in the NPS for management use of comparable research.

Community Partner: National Park Service

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: The ideal candidate should be pursuing a degree in geography, planning, environmental science, landscape architecture, or a similar course of study. The applicant should have basic knowledge of land use and cover and an interest in how they affect the environment and natural resources. Experience and interest in airphoto interpretation and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is preferred, in addition to working knowledge of the following computer programs:

  • ArcMap (working with shapefiles and mapping services; creating and editing data)
  • Google Earth (working with KML files)
  • Microsoft Excel
Student must have access to a computer with either ArcMap (preferred) or Google Earth software.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either

Tracking the Invasion: Where are invasive plants in the Mississippi corridor?

Investigate invasive plant species on public lands within and adjacent to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (MNRRA). There are two parts to the project, which are envisioned to take place consecutively: Part 1 is an "institutional environmental scan" of efforts to control invasive vegetation—Who is doing what? Part 2 is a mapping project, assessing conditions to date of the efforts identified in Part 1.

Part 1 asks researchers to engage in internet, phone, and email research to compile a document (likely a spreadsheet) describing the "state of the field" in invasive vegetation management. For Part 2, the researcher will take existing land survey maps and set up meetings with various land managers (Anoka County Parks, for instance) to find out what invasives each agency is dealing with and obtain an estimate of the amount of land cover occupied by invasive plants.

Community Partners: Mississippi River Fund, National Park Service, nonprofit organizations, and local park and public land management agencies.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: The ideal candidate should be pursuing a degree in geography, planning, environmental science, landscape architecture, or a similar course of study. The applicant should have basic knowledge of land use and cover and an interest in how they affect the environment and natural resources. Experience and interest in airphoto interpretation and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is preferred, in addition to working knowledge of the following computer programs:

  • ArcMap (working with shapefiles and mapping services; creating and editing data)
  • Google Earth (working with KML files)
  • Microsoft Excel
Student must have access to a computer with either ArcMap (preferred) or Google Earth software.

Credit/Paid: Paid, with remuneration of $12/hour for approximately 120 hours (comparable to a standard UROP arrangement). The intern will also be required to meet regularly with the rest of that semester's intern cohort. No credit will be earned.

Summer/Fall: Either (summer preferred)

MNopedia

Work with staff at the Minnesota Historical Society to compile materials for MNopedia. Selected interns (up to 4) will choose from among the following topics:

  • Headwaters dams on the Mississippi River
  • Urban river parks and parkways
  • Wing dams and other channel maintenance efforts in the Mississippi below St. Paul River bridges
Interns will research and write MNopedia entries, gather and select ancillary materials, compile short "sidebar" items, and otherwise prepare materials for publication according to MNopedia protocols and standards.

Community Partner: Minnesota Historical Society

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Interest in history, geography, urban studies, or environmental studies.

Credit/Paid: This is a credit-bearing internship. The selected applicant(s) will be required to register for a 2-credit internship course and meet regularly with the cohort of interns.

Summer/Fall: Either

Notes: Selected interns will need to submit an EZ online volunteer application to the Minnesota Historical Society. Interns also will need to report the total number of hours worked on the project to Society staff upon completion of the project. The Society will provide free parking for interns while they conduct research in the library at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul.

Digital interpretation at St. Anthony Falls

Work with staff of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and its members (Minnesota Historical Society, Hennepin County, City of Minneapolis, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board), as well as the River Life program and the National Park Service to develop digital interpretive features for sections of the Heritage District near the Mill City Museum and Mill Ruins Park (west side of the river, near downtown). There are two openings in this program. Each researcher will complete the following general steps, though specifics will depend on the precise skills and interests of individual researchers:

  • Conduct research in visual and documentary resources at collections pertinent to St. Anthony Falls and its history (MHS, Minneapolis History Collection, U of M)
  • In consultation with community partners, develop a prototype of at least one digital platform by which to tell a "story" of the place (cell phone tour, podcast, slide show, then/now photo set)
  • Test the prototype on an audience or focus group of U of M students
  • Revise and prepare the program for electronic distribution
  • Write a report analyzing the project.

Community Partners: St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board and other organizations focused on the Central Riverfront in Minneapolis.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities: Interest in history, geography, urban studies, or environmental studies. Willingness to learn and develop digital programs is essential (in consultation and with training).

Credit/Paid: Paid, with remuneration of $12/hour for an estimated 20 hours per week during the summer (roughly June through August). Interns will also meet regularly with the cohort of interns working during the summer.

Summer/Fall: Summer

To Apply

Download the application
Submit completed application by 4:00 pm on April 15, 2012, to Patrick Nunnally, River Life Coordinator, at .

We're very pleased to announce that Honors Advisor Kit Gordon has won the John Tate Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising! Named in honor of John Tate, Professor of Physics and first Dean of University College, The Tate Awards recognize qualities that are exemplified in Kit's work -- namely, high-quality academic advising and an unmatched dedication to students. Congratulations, Kit!

Listen to Kit's acceptance speech here

Kit receives the Tate Award from Robert McMcaster, Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education

The University Honors Program is currently seeking applicants for the position of Peer Assistant (fall 2012-spring 2013). Applicants must be in their sophomore or junior year during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Peer Assistant Academic Year Responsibilities

Honors Peer Assistants perform a wide variety of tasks that support the UHP mission to guide and challenge students from across the University as they develop into broad, creative, independent, and informed thinkers. Peer Assistants provide office support to the University Honors Program director, associate directors, academic advisors, and support staff.

Peer Assistants Job Duties:

  • Greet visitors and assist students with questions about Honors
  • Answer phones; manage multiple lines
  • Schedule appointments in Google Calendar
  • Prepare student information files for advisors on a timely basis; print transcripts and various reports
  • Perform back-up duties for Student Services Specialist
  • Make posters/handouts
  • Research and compile data for one-time projects
  • Create and maintain Excel spreadsheets
  • Clean and organize work center and storage rooms
  • Copy, print, scan, shred
  • Run errands on campus

Work Hours

An academic year commitment is expected with an availability of 4-8 hours per week during fall and spring semesters; some hours during winter and spring breaks are available. Peer Assistants are required to attend training at the start of the academic year.

Essential Qualifications

Currently enrolled and active in the honors program at the U of M-Twin Cities; full-time enrollment for fall 2012 and spring 2013; strong academic record; evidence of involvement in campus or community activities; excellent communication skills; attention to detail; basic knowledge of Word, Excel, PowerPoint; interest in working with honors students from diverse backgrounds and areas of interest.

Pay

Official job classification title for the Peer Assistant position is Undergraduate Teaching Assistant I. Pay rate is $9.14 per hour.

Apply

To apply, please provide the following documentation:

  • Application form
  • Current resume
  • Personal statement (approximately 250 words) telling us why you are interested.

Application, resume, and personal statement are due by 4:30 pm on March 30, 2012.

Submit by U of M Campus Mail, U.S. Mail, hand deliver, or email to:

University Honors Program
20 Nicholson Hall
216 Pillsbury Drive S.E.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

One student will be selected to speak on behalf of and to all undergraduate degree recipients who have participated in the University Honors Program. Continue reading for detailed instructions and eligibility information.

Eligibility

While the Recognition Ceremony will celebrate all graduates who have been involved in Honors regardless of pursuing Latin Honors, preference is given to applicants who intend to graduate with any level of Latin Honors. Level of Latin Honors is not considered in selection, but pplicants must be graduating in Spring, May, or Summer 2012.

Application and selection process

The online application (link at the end of this page) requires brief responses to five (5) questions and a summary of the speech you would give if selected. Please review the application in advance to prepare your responses. Applications are due on Friday, March 23, 2012. The UHP Speaker Committee (consisting of UHP staff and students) will review submissions and identify finalists who will be invited to present or read a portion of their draft speech in an interview the week of April 2-6, 2012. Selection of speaker will be made shortly thereafter. The UHP Recognition Ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, May 3, 2012.

Guidelines and tips for writing a speech

Graduation is both an end and a beginning, and as the representative of UHP graduates, the student speaker is in a position to reflect on the past (common educational experiences, impactful and memorable moments) and articulate the excitement (or possibly even apprehension) of the graduating class of 2012. The best speeches are those that resonate with the largest number of people. Aim to convey a personal sentiment of the value of undergraduate education and experiences at Minnesota and with the University Honors Program.

Audience: Graduates (both those graduating with Latin Honors and those who have been actively involved in Honors coursework), family of graduates, Honors faculty & staff, and University and College administrators.

Length: Three (3) minutes for final speech.

Contact: Contact the UHP Speaker Committee (, 612-624-5522, 20 Nicholson Hall) with questions about the Recognition Ceremony or student speaker application process.

APPLY!

The University Honors Program is pleased to acknowledge its graduating seniors in an annual Honors Recognition Ceremony. All honors students will be recognized for their dedication to learning, research, and the experiences that have placed them on the path to become our newest leaders and scholars.

This year's ceremony will be held on May 3rd at 7:00 pm at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the west bank campus. Full details are available here.