Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

April 14, 2005

Whitworth Conference April 23 to Showcase
Students' Distinguished, Original Research

More than 50 Whitworth students representing a broad spectrum of academic disciplines including biochemistry, computer science, English, history, political science, marketing, theatre and athletic training will present their research April 23 during the college's third annual Undergraduate Research Conference. The conference will also feature a presentation by James K. Fredrickson, Ph.D., chief scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, in Richland, Wash.

The conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 23, in Weyerhaeuser Hall, where students will give oral and poster presentations. Each of the students presenting at the conference has been mentored by a faculty scholar. In some cases, the students are participating in faculty research projects funded by outside grants.

"A primary goal of the conference is to promote and recognize distinguished, original undergraduate research that students have conducted in partnership with faculty or other mentors," says Associate Professor of Computer Science Susan Mabry, Ph.D.

The conference provides an opportunity for Whitworth students to do themselves what their professors and other academics do as an integral part of their jobs: conduct original research and present it for scrutiny and critique by others in their disciplines.

"Undergraduate-research experiences provide meaningful ways for students to explore beyond the classroom," Mabry says. "The Whitworth faculty/student research mentoring relationships and the projects they undertake often have life-changing implications that help students define their career goals."

Conducting original research and presenting at the annual undergraduate research conference plays an important role in the success of Whitworth alumni, including Timothy Etters, a 2003 computer-science graduate who is employed by Boeing Corporation and is earning a master's degree at University of Washington.

"I am grateful to have had the opportunity to perform research as an undergraduate at Whitworth," Etters says. "I have excelled in my career because research was such a vital part of my Whitworth education."

During the conference guest-speaker James K. Fredrickson will give a research presentation, "Microbial Metal Reduction: Genomics to Geochemistry," from 9:15-10 a.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Admission is free. In addition to his morning presentation, Fredrickson will speak about his personal research journey during an awards luncheon, open to participants only, following the conference.

Fredrickson earned a doctorate degree in soil microbiology and a master's degree in soil chemistry from Washington State University, and a B.S. in soil science from the University of Wisconsin. He has published more than 100 journal articles and 15 book chapters. His current research interests include microbial metal reduction, genomics and geochemistry.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The college enrolls 2,400 students in more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs.


Susan L. Mabry, Associate Professor, Computer Science, Whitworth College, (509) 777- or smabry@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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