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Armstrong Biology Senior Selected for National Science Foundation Research Opportunity at Berkeley

(April 6, 2017) – Rising Armstrong State University senior Haley Breanne Kodak has been selected as one of 10 students to participate in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program at the University of California (UC), Berkeley. From June 4 through Aug. 11, Kodak, a first-generation college student and Biology major, will live on campus at UC Berkeley and work on an individual biology research project with a faculty member.

“I decided to apply to Berkeley because of the wide variety of current project topics available that coincided with my interest in plants and genetics,” explains Kodak. “I’ve wanted to get my hands into research for a while, and I thought, what better way to do so than at a school such as Berkeley, alongside some of the most profound minds?”

UC Berkeley’s esteemed history as a public research university makes it a top pick for many STEM majors, and the National Science Foundation’s focus on providing one-on-one academic and professional mentoring from faculty members, graduate students and postdoctoral candidates makes its Research Experience for Undergraduates program one of the most competitive in the country. Additionally, summer participants will receive a $5,200 stipend to attend, as well as complimentary room, board, travel reimbursement and day trips throughout the Bay Area.

Kodak discovered the program thanks to an impromptu after-class conversation with Brandon Quillian, Ph.D., and assistant professor of Chemistry at Armstrong.

“I believe Armstrong has successfully prepared me for this program,” says Kodak. “I would have never even known that these experiences existed if it weren’t for Dr. Quillian. He helped me during the application process, and I also received great help from Dr. Melanie Link-Perez, Professor Aakash Mehta, Dr. Aaron Schrey, Ms. Suzy Carpenter and the Career Services office.”

The summer program will allow Kodak to receive invaluable experience in the field of research prior to entering graduate studies. Although she has never had the chance to work in a lab before, Kodak is excited to learn all that she can while at UC Berkeley and bring her knowledge back to Savannah.

“I have an open mind towards learning and developing the professional skills that will benefit me in the future,” she says. “The same contagious passion that my professors have shared with me needs to be passed on, and I hope to be a part of this.”

Michael Benjamin, Ph.D.

“My favorite part about being a professor at Armstrong is the opportunity to engage with bright, talented students.”

Michael Benjamin, Ph.D.
Teaching since: 2009