May 15, 2009

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By Julia Ferrante

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Eight students from Bucknell University and other institutions will travel to Spain this month to participate in a 10-week, undergraduate research program at the University of Cadiz, thanks to a three-year, $324,000 National Science Foundation grant.

The students, which will include Bucknell seniors Jeffrey Williams and Allyson Marshall, will be paired with faculty mentors and work in laboratories, studying chemical ecology. One group will focus on isolating and identifying secondary metabolites from Antarctic lichens and analyzing the effects of climate change on various species. The other group will study marine organisms found in the Bay of Cadiz and the Straits of Gibraltar.

Williams and Marshall will maintain blogs about their experiences on the Bucknell website.
Joanne Romagni-Colvin, who recently joined Bucknell as director of sponsored research, secured the NSF grant and will serve as the program coordinator in Spain. Lichen physiology is her area of research.  

Romagni-Colvin accompanied two students to Cadiz last year as part of a pilot program. The NSF grant is renewable after three years. She hopes also to extend the program to graduate students.

The program offers science and engineering students hands-on experience in a research laboratory as well as the chance to visit another country, Romagni-Colvin said.

"I would like to establish this as an international opportunity for science students," she said. "This is one of the few opportunities for science students to study abroad. The idea is for students seriously considering graduate school the opportunity to decide if they want to continue."

The rector of the University of Cadiz will visit the Bucknell Campus on Memorial Day, May 25, to formalize an agreement with Bucknell.

The students are scheduled to arrive on campus May 27. They will fly to Spain May 30.

Contact: Division of Communications