APS Awards Research Fellowship to Alma Student
An Alma College student is one of 24 undergraduate students from across the country to receive a summer research fellowship from the American Physiological Society (APS).
The fellowship program, which is in its 14th year, allows students to spend the summer in the laboratory of an established scientist and APS member. For Wayne junior Zakkary Hardyniec, this means he’ll work on a muscle stem cell project at the Center for Muscle Biology (CMB) at the University of Kentucky (UK).
“When I found out that I had been awarded the fellowship, I could not believe it,” he says. “I ran to the IPHS office to share the news with my two advisors, Dr. Luetkemeier and Dr. Ball, so I could thank them for helping me obtain the fellowship. I feel as though I have been given the most amazing opportunity of my life.”
Zakkary Hardyniec, left, with Professor Maurie Luetkemeier during a "Sports Nutrition on Wheels" class that biked 900 miles through Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Hardyniec, an integrative physiology and health science (IPHS) major, has worked on research projects previously through Alma’s PRISM program. During these experiences, Karen Ball, associate professor of IPHS, says Hardyniec demonstrated an enthusiasm for his work, making him an excellent candidate for the fellowship.
“I am certain that Zakk’s prior experience was essential in his successful application,” she says. “This fellowship will be important for him in that he will experience the excitement of working within a large research center and gain exposure to the breadth of approaches in muscle research including biochemical, molecular/cellular and human studies.”
Each APS fellow receives a $4,000 stipend to cover living expenses during the 10-week fellowship, as well as an additional $1,300 in travel funds to present their research at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston, which is expected to attract nearly 14,000 scientists.
“This experience is going to open up new networks and channels of people for me,” says Hardyniec. “It will help me truly define and refine my interests as I continue my education and aspirations beyond Alma College. I hope to learn more about grad schools and other programs which may be of interest to me.”
The CMB’s director, Karyn Esser, has been connected to Alma for several years, first as an acquaintance of Ball and a supervisor of Dustin Armstrong, a 2000 graduate.
She’s currently working with Brianna Harfmann, a 2011 graduate, who is enrolled in a doctoral program. Ball says Esser thinks very highly of Alma students, so she would like to recruit more to UK’s program.
“She contacted me regarding connections that could be helpful to our students in gaining summer research experience and helpful to UK in recruiting high quality graduate students like Dustin and Brianna,” she says. “This APS fellowship is just one of the ways we could accomplish this. As the relationship with UK continues, the PRISM program will provide important experiential learning opportunities for students in the years to come.”
In addition to the PRISM program, Hardyniec is quick to reiterate that his professors are to thank for his success. He says Ball and Luetkemeier, in particular, have helped shape and guide his undergraduate experience.
“The support and time they put into helping students is truly remarkable,” he says. “None of this would be possible without them. I owe a great debt to them, as they have opened the doors to a great future for me. I am truly humbled.”
Posted: Wed, May 16th, 2012 at 8:01AM