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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 15, 2009

UI senior featured in Glamour magazine 'top 10' list

UI senior and Presidential Scholar Alexandra Keenan of Urbandale, Iowa, is
featured in the October issue of Glamour magazine as one of the "Top 10 College Women" on U.S. college campuses.

Keenan spent the summer of 2009 at Banaras Hindu University in Varanasi, India, teaching Indian scientists a technique for detecting Leishmania parasites in human blood, a parasitic disease of the organs spread by sandflies. During two previous visits to India, she researched screening programs for cervical cancer.

Also, she is one of 15 UI engineering students recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a first-place project (2008 P3 Awards). The students designed an inexpensive, hand-held device to make bleach for use in sanitizing drinking water -- a life-saver in developing countries, according to Craig Just, adjunct assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty advisor to the student group.

Keenan, who plans to become a physician and scientist, will graduate with three bachelor's degrees, one in biomedical engineering from the UI College of Engineering, one in biochemistry from the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), and one in international studies, administered by UI International Programs through CLAS.

Of her future goals, she said that she intends to develop new treatments for diseases and provide them to people in underserved areas, ranging from Iowa to around the world.

"I would also like to advocate for the social programs that are necessary to ensure these treatments are available to those who need them most," she said.

Raj Rajagopal, geography professor and leader of the 2007-08 winterim program in which Keenan participated, called her one of the brightest and most caring of UI students he has encountered in some 35 years of teaching and advising.

The magazine competition recognizes the exceptional achievements and academic excellence of female college students. Women named to the list receive a cash award and a trip to New York City to meet with the other winners as well as professionals in their respective fields.

The UI Honors Program coordinated the nomination process for this honor.

To read the complete profile on Keenan, go to

For more information about Keenan and her UI work, visit

For more information on the UI Honors Program, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One,
Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, writer, 319-384-0009,; Andrea Beloy, UI Honors Program, 319-335-1874,