Engineering Students Keenan, Sommerfeld Honored for Research Excellence

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Two College of Engineering undergraduate students were among four University of Iowa students who were honored for their research at the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) Spring Undergraduate Research Forum Saturday, April 5.

Alexandra Keenan, a UI junior who is pursuing a triple major in biomedical engineering, biochemistry, and international studies, received the Natural Sciences Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Keenan's research examines the identification and characterization of a vaccine. Her faculty sponsor is Mary Wilson in the UI Department of Internal Medicine.

Stacy Sommerfeld, a chemical engineering student, received the Engineering and Math Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award for her work designing aerosols that fly well into the lungs. Jennifer Fiegel with the UI Colleges of Engineering and Pharmacy was Sommerfeld's faculty mentor on the project.

The awards recognize outstanding accomplishments in scholarly investigation, artistic creation or performance by an undergraduate student in four fields: arts and humanities, mathematics and engineering, natural sciences and social sciences. The selected students are juniors who have excelled in their work with faculty mentors. Award winners receive a $1,000 travel allowance to attend a conference in their area of study for the next academic year.

Forty-four undergraduates working in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Carver College of Medicine, the College of Engineering, the College of Pharmacy, the College of Education, and the College of Public Health presented their research at the forum. In addition to the presentations, outstanding poster awards and participation prizes were awarded. The forum is hosted by the ICRU. For more information on ICRU or to view a list of student presenters at the forum, their majors, research projects and mentors, visit