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University of Iowa News Release

June 20, 2003

Wallace Summer Institute To Host Gifted Students

Fifteen gifted 10th and 11th grade students from rural Iowa will participate in the Wallace Summer Institute (WSI) for Rural Scholars June 22-27 at the University of Iowa.

WSI is a one-week collaborative program of the Belin-Blank Center and the University Hygienic Laboratory (UHL). The program provides talented students with an intensive, advanced educational experience in order to enhance their intellectual and social growth.

"WSI is a wonderful collaboration that brings together the expertise of the staff at the Hygienic Laboratory and gifted and talented students identified by the Belin-Blank Center," said Jan Warren, administrator for student programs at the Belin-Blank Center.

A team of UHL scientists developed the curriculum. UHL staff members Mike Schueller, a limnologist, and Earlene Erbe, a chemist, coordinate the educational program at WSI, which gives students a comprehensive and practical learning experience in assessing aquatic environments in the field and in the laboratory.

"We are very excited about working with the students," Erbe said. "It's challenging because the program week falls within our busiest season, but we always feel great about the experience when all the work is done."

On Monday, June 23, students will travel to Lime Creek in Buchanan County to collect samples of water, fish and insects. They will also learn what types of samples are necessary to determine water "health," as well as the indicators of "good and bad water health," Erbe said. Students will also learn about electro fishing while at Lime Creek.

Tuesday, June 24, and Wednesday, June 25, will be spent in the lab, where students will learn what tests are done and why, how to perform tests and interpret their results and how to effectively report significant findings.

A final presentation will be prepared by groups of students, with each group responsible for presenting one section of the week's activities at the program's closing ceremonies.

"The presentations are always well done and are frequently entertaining," Erbe said. Last year, one group of participants recorded themselves singing their final presentation.

WSI students stay in a UI residence hall and have the opportunity to participate in cultural and recreational activities such as dances, picnics and theatre events during the course of the program. The students also have access to UI libraries, computer facilities and study areas.

WSI participants are self-nominated and selected by a committee of faculty and staff from the UI Hygienic Laboratory. All students who participate in the program receive scholarships to help cover the cost of the program. H.B. and Jocelyn Wallace of Scottsdale, Ariz. have provided the funding for the scholarships.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACTS: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032, Writer: Tiffany Bronk