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Release: Immediate

UI recognizes six student employees for contributions to research

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Liz Ramer of Iowa City, a sophomore in the UI College of Engineering, has been selected as the University of Iowa Student Employee of the Year. The award is given in recognition of her significant contribution to research at the Environmental Engineering and Science (EES) Laboratories.

Ramer is one of six student employees recognized for their achievements and accomplishments in conjunction with National Student Employment Week,April 5-11. The others are:

* Shayne Gelo of Waukon, College of Liberal Arts, Certificate of Distinction;

* Robert Sample of Mt. Pleasant, College of Liberal Arts, Certificate of Distinction;

* Gina Reyes of Davenport, College of Engineering, Certificate of Appreciation;

* Kristin Hurd of Cleghorn, College of Nursing, Certificate of Appreciation; and

* Gail Mayfield of Iowa City, College of Liberal Arts, Certificate of Appreciation.

Ramer will be presented with an award certificate and Iowa Memorial Union Bookstore gift certificate by Vice President for Student Services Phillip Jones. The other select students will be presented with award certificates at their job sites by Assistant Director of Student Financial Aid Cindy Seyfer.

Ramer was nominated by Craig Just, laboratory director for the EES Program. Liz, who has worked at the laboratory since the spring of 1995, has been involved in a number of research projects which have led to her being listed as the author or co-author of publications in respected journals. In addition to her direct involvement in research projects, Liz supervised and trained new employees. Jerry Schnoor, UI professor of civil and environmental engineering, said, "Ms. Ramer is the best undergraduate research assistant with whom I have had the pleasure of working in 21 years at the University of Iowa." The work completed by Just, Ramer and a colleague at the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown resulted in a cost-effective solution to managing 100,000 cubic yards of ammunition wastes contaminating surface water and groundwater at the site.

Gelo was honored for his work in the computer science department, where he has worked since August 1995. He has served as a computer analyst for the department, troubleshooting and repairing computers in the administrative offices, as needed, and as a teaching assistant for the "Orientation to Computer Science" class. Shayne also functions as a research assistant on various simulation projects. Recently, he built a virtual town that will be used to conduct psychological experiments of children's bicycle behavior using a bicycle simulator in the lab.

Sample was recognized for his work as thesis gallery manager at the School of Art and Art History. To quote from the nomination letter, " When Mr. Sample started the position five years ago, the collection had suffered from neglect and sustained damage to a number of works from the flood of 1993." Thanks to Robert's efforts, "the collection has been thoroughly catalogued, data based, and maintained in an exceptional way."

Reyes was honored for her work as an undergraduate research assistant in the department of internal medicine. According to the nomination letter, she has contributed greatly to the field of cell mechanics during her three years with the laboratory. She has developed, in a short period of time, a complicated software program to measure cell motility. This program is the first of its kind to allow lab researchers to couple video microscopy with a biophysical measurement of cell motility. Hurd was recognized for her work as a laboratory assistant in the department of anatomy and cell biology. During her three years in the laboratory, she has advanced from the role of dishwasher to laboratory assistant. As indicated in the nomination letter, ". . . without Kristin's efforts at least six scientists would not have been able to perform their experiments (and subsequently publish papers, write theses and grant proposals, etc.). Her reliability, excellent laboratory technique and responsibility has enabled many individuals to shine."

Mayfield was honored for her work as a laboratory assistant in the department of microbiology. Although employed only since June 1997, she has made a significant contribution to the laboratory. The nominator indicated that because of the efforts of Ms. Mayfield, staff ". . . have not felt the need to replace a research technician who left last fall. That she is able to replace a full-time person, while working less than 20 hours/week is truly remarkable."

Although six individuals are specifically being honored with awards, theUniversity appreciates the efforts of all its student hourly employees. The University employs approximately 12,000 student hourly and 2,000 work-study employees each year. These students make significant contributions to the achievement of the University's goals and operations.