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2009.04.07 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

UNO Biology Program Lets High School Students Earn College Credit

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Department of Biology will offer three research projects this summer designed to provide scientific college coursework for area high school students alongside UNO freshmen and sophomores.

High school students -- also referred to as dual enrollment pre-freshmen -- will enroll in Supervised Research in Biology, a senior-level Biology course at UNO, June 8 through July 10. The high school students participating in this summer's program are:

• Laine Anderson, Bellevue West High School
• Mona Baishya, Millard North High School
• Amelia Foubert, Millard North High School
• Mollie Hippensteel, Millard North High School
• Amanda McIntyre, Marian High School
• Madison Stoler, Central High School
• Callie Tometich, Ralston High School

Participating dual enrollment high schools have UNO approved college-level adjunct instructors that concurrently teach high school Advanced Placement Biology with the UNO couses Biology I and Biology II. The program gives high school students the opportunity to earn up to 10 college credit hours through UNO’s Department of Biology.

The summer program is supported by the STEP grant from the National Science Foundation, providing three hours of tuition credit at the Nebraska resident rate for each of the 15 participants.

“This is a great opportunity for high school students to participate in scientific research and to gain a knowledge and understanding of scientists and experimental design and implementation. The STEP grant is a unique outreach tool from the UNO science departments to the Omaha metro high school community,” said Renae Rust, the program's coordinator.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in one of the following three research projects this summer, taught by faculty members from UNO’s Department of Biology.

Behavioral Ecology (Instructor: Dr. Claudia Rauter)
Researchers will study animal parental care behavior of the burying beetle, Nicrophorus pustulatus. The experiments will manipulate conditions of care giving to determine the impact of parental investment in offspring development.

Molecular Genetics (Instructor: Dr. Mark Schoenbeck)
The program will introduce students to molecular research, with the goal of identifying and “cloning” genes involved in metabolic and growth processes of the parasitic plant Cuscuta pentagona. In pursuit of this goal, student researchers will use bioinformatic tools (computer programs and gene databases) to make predictions about what the target genes might “look like.” Using these predictions, the group will use a combination of molecular methods in an attempt to retrieve parts of these genes.

Paleoecology (Instructor: Dr. Lisa Boucher)
Students will prepare and analyze petrified wood collected from New Mexico and Madagascar. Research participants will gain skills and knowledge in light and scanning electron microscopy, statistical analysis, paleoclimate reconstruction, and phylogenetics while learning about ancient floras and environmental change through geologic time.

To be considered as dual enrollment pre-freshmen, high school juniors and seniors must have taken Biology I and Biology II, completed as dual-enrollment students at their respective high schools.

UNO’s campus-wide Dual Enrollment program allows academically talented students to earn college credit while still in high school. College-bound students can get a jump on their degrees and maximize their time in advanced high school classes. Dual enrollment can provide enhanced curriculum opportunities that help students remain engaged in their junior and senior years of high school and help prepare for college level work.

For more information on the program, visit www.unomaha.edu/dualenrollmentbiology or call Renae Rust at (402) 554-2559.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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