April 29, 2016

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Three current John A. Logan College students and one former student have been recognized for work done earlier this month at the Undergraduate Creative and Research Activities Forum at SIUC.

The forum is part of the SI Bridges to the Baccalaureate program at the university, which promotes a partnership with two area community colleges – John A. Logan and Shawnee.

Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the program provides paid biomedical and behavioral science research training and professional development for underserved community college students.

Students receive assistance in transferring to SIUC and completing a baccalaureate degree in science, technology, engineering, math, or social science disciplines.

April’s forum was held in the Student Center ballrooms. Current JALC students recognized were: Austyn Frassato of Marion, Brittan Cobb of Carbondale, and Felicity Reiman of Ava.

One former JALC student and SIU Bridges scholar, Europe Doan, was also cited for her work.

Frassato was part of a three-person team that received a “Runner Up” award under the category of Animal and Plant Biology. Cobb and Reiman teamed up to win a REACH award.

“The Logan students who have participated have gained confidence in their abilities,” said JALC biology instructor Donna Ford. “Students get to work in laboratories that allows them to do research. This allows them the ability to think for themselves.”

Most community college students, Ford continued, do not get the opportunities to do such research.

“They have gained lab techniques that are not taught here. We do not have all the equipment,” she said. “I want to mention that Austyn Frassato did his research with another student, Lauren Derossett. Austyn wanted to make sure Lauren's name was included. The Bridges program is a wonderful opportunity for our students.”

Frassato said the SI Bridges program has been a life-altering experience for him.

“The thought that my days in the program are nearly at an end greatly saddens me,” he said. “The program has provided me with numerous skills and opportunities that I never thought were possible for a community college student. My instructors pushed me to accomplish extraordinary things.”

Frassato said he now feels much more comfortable transitioning to a university.

“I wouldn’t trade my experience for anything,” he said. “I have gained lifelong friends from the program and an incredible support system that I know will always have my back.”

Reiman said she and Cobb worked to find a method of encapsulating Interferon gamma so that it could persist in the body longer.

“We achieved this goal by encapsulating it in liquids before injecting it,” she said. “The SI Bridges program has been a wonderful experience for me. I have learned many skills that have helped me in everyday life and in my classes.”

Reiman said she feels the program has helped her critically think about problems and better understand the learning process.

“I don’t learn because I have to. I learn because I want to,” Reiman said. “I have learned that going the extra step makes a difference. This program pushed us to reach for higher goals.”

Doan won an individual REACH award.

Cobb said the best part about receiving a REACH award is the knowledge that no matter where she and her lab partner, Felicity Reiman, go or what they do, they will be able to carry their accomplishments and experience with them.

“Working in a research lab has already opened so many doors for us and winning this award will take us that much further,” she said.

Applications to the program are accepted in the fall or prior to the Connecting Life experience in the spring semester.