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37 undergraduate students selected to join K-State cancer research teams

Friday, March 4, 2016


MANHATTAN — The Johnson Cancer Research Center at Kansas State University has selected 37 undergraduate students to participate in its research mentoring and award program.

The center's undergraduate Cancer Research Award program promotes early participation in laboratory research, encouraging students to consider careers in cancer research and medicine while they're still deciding what academic and professional paths to take.

"We are enlisting a new generation of cancer researchers and medical workers, and helping train them to do scientific research," said Rob Denell, center director and university distinguished professor of biology.

The award program, which is open to Kansas State University undergraduate students interested in doing cancer-relevant research, provides $1,000 awards to up to 50 students a year, and $1,000 per student for research expenses.

"These are outstanding students working closely with faculty on real research projects, and some, as we've seen in the past, will undoubtedly go on to be top scientists and physicians," Denell said.

Students applied for the awards by co-writing research proposals with faculty mentors affiliated with the center. The awardees conduct their research in the mentors' laboratories during the spring semester.

The students will be recognized in April at a banquet attended by their families, center supporters and university faculty and administrators.

The Johnson Cancer Research Center provides other undergraduate scholarships as well, and supports research and training of affiliated faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. All of these programs are funded through private gifts.

The center advances and funds cancer research at Kansas State University, and supports higher education and public outreach. Information about the center is at cancer.k-state.edu.

The following students received Cancer Research Awards:

Gabrielle Phillips, sophomore in mechanical engineering, Andover; Adam Schieferecke, senior in microbiology, Bennington; Spencer Ward, junior in biology, Colwich; Brendan Drouhard, junior in biochemistry, Conway Springs; Jennifer Delzeit, senior in statistics, Dodge City.

From Greater Kansas City: Jacob Morris, senior in microbiology, and Ana Simental, sophomore in microbiology, both from Kansas City; Heidi Brown, senior in microbiology, Leawood; Melissa Feuerborn, senior in biology, Kelsey Monson, senior in biochemistry, and Laura VanLerberg, senior in microbiology, all from Olathe; Elizabeth Martino, junior in biology, Ella Popova, senior in biology, and Samantha Schluter-Pascua, junior in microbiology, all from Overland Park; Ian Harmon, junior in biology, Prairie Village; and Jaden Anderson, senior in biology, Emily Wedeman, senior in biochemistry, and Molly Zych, junior in biology, all from Shawnee.

Valerie Binns, senior in electrical engineering, Hiawatha; Mitchell Rork, senior in life sciences, Horton; Daniel Clausing, senior in electrical engineering, Lawrence.

From Manhattan: Melissa Riley, sophomore in animal sciences and industry; Melissa Small, senior in microbiology; Will Smith, junior in chemical engineering; and Vaitish Velazhahan, sophomore in biology.

Kayla Wilkinson, senior in biochemistry, Riley; Clay Schemm, junior in biological systems engineering, Sharon Springs; Joshua May, junior in biology, andErika Peters, senior in microbiology, both from Topeka; and Kathlyn Gomendoza, junior in biology, and Dustin Vestering, sophomore in biology, both from Wichita.

From out of state: Luke Kicklighter, senior in microbiology, Fort Dodge, Iowa; Hayley Holt, senior in biology, Country Club, Missouri; and Kristen Wilbeck, junior in animal sciences and industry, Lindale, Texas.

From out of country: Yichao Zhang, chemical engineering, China; Goutham Neravetla, freshman in computer science, India; and Seyed Efrin Mir Hejazi, sophomore in microbiology, Iran.


Johnson Cancer Research Center


Johnson Cancer Research Center

News tip

Andover, Bennington, Colwich, Dodge City, Hiawatha, Horton, Kansas City, Lawrence, Leawood, Manhattan, Olathe, Overland Park, Prairie Village, Riley, Sharon Springs, Shawnee, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas; Fort Dodge, Iowa; Country Club, Missouri; and Lindale, Texas.

Written by

Marcia Locke

At a glance

Kansas State University's Johnson Cancer Research Center has selected 37 students to receive its Cancer Research Awards.