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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
December 13, 2004
Volume 40, Number 5

Student Research
Outside the Box > > AnaIsabel Parra

Research Day winner cuts own path at UNM
By Karen Wentworth

AnaIsabel Parra took the top prize at UNM’s first research day event. Photo by Karen Wentworth.

AnaIsabel Parra knew research was the only way she would get out of Carlsbad and into a world she wanted to know more about. In her junior year of high school, she began her journey, presenting a project at the local science fair. She went to the regional fair and won third place, not good enough to go to state. So she spent the summer reworking her project, doing more extensive research and came back her senior year.

Her project impressed Health Sciences Center Office of Research Senior Associate Dean John Omdahl so much that he recruited her to UNM. He gave her a lab job washing dishes and set her on the road to become a toxicologist. She’s now a junior hoping to complete a research project involving gene expression and the effect of vitamin D. The research will be documented in a professional journal by the time she graduates. But she said, she would never have made it this far without help and encouragement from faculty mentors Omdahl and Charlotte Mobarak.

Parra didn’t know anyone in Carlsbad who did scientific research. Her high school friends are now mostly married or pregnant. Her parents, who were brought to Carlsbad by her immigrant grandfather, never finished high school. She saw them work hard for few financial rewards and knew she had to find a way to do better. This year she won the student research award at the first UNM Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium.

On the last day of finals, when most students head home for the holidays, Parra will go back to the lab. She says it is a great chance to have uninterrupted time to work on her project.

Undergraduate Research & Creativity Symposium winners

* Elizabeth Archuleta – Outstanding Faculty Mentor
* Susan Dever – The Tempur-Pedic “You’ve earned a Nap” Faculty Award
* Beverly Singers’ Culture Study of Indigenous Video Class – Class Panel Award
* Michelle Hall Kells Advanced Expository Writing Class – Class Panel Award
* Karl Karlstrom’s New Mexico Field Geology Class – Class Panel Award
* Gabrielle Rojas – Student Creativity Award – faculty mentor Jennifer Predock-Linnell
* Tiffany Shaw – The Tom Cummings Math, Science and Engineering Prize – faculty mentors Mary Harner and Clif Dahm
Book Prize Winners
* Andrea M. Andersen – faculty mentor Mary Anne Nelson
* Myra Villalobos – faculty mentor Michael Candelaria
* John Gabaldon and
Ebany Martinez – faculty mentor Daniel Savage
Symposium Award Winners
* Robert Russell – faculty mentor Susan Dever
* Trey Smith – faculty mentor V.B. Price
* Aaron Jones – faculty mentors Faith Hanlon and Robert Thoma
* Ashley Smith – faculty mentor Robert Thoma
* Mack J. Neal – faculty mentor Olaf Werder
* Vanessa Galindo-Sanchez – faculty mentor Miguel Lopez
University College Student Award Winners
* Christina Larkin – faculty mentor Miguel Gandert
* Brandon Velivis – faculty mentor Jay Williams
* Brenda Bannoswky, Molly Ashcraft, Marissa Romero and Van Nguyen – faculty mentor Paul Clements
* Michael Worobec – faculty mentors Steve Barry and Mary Tsiongas
* Sarkis Gorial – faculty mentor Gary Cook
* Isaac Cardona – faculty mentor Richard Wood
* Chandra Stellavato – faculty mentor J. Phillip Gossage
* Kathryn M. Murphy – faculty mentor Laura McNamara
* Aaron Brooks – faculty mentor David Bear
* Britny Candia – faculty mentor Robert A. Orlando
* Irene Ma – faculty mentors Robert Glew and Dorothy VanderJagt
* Stephanie Tran – faculty mentor Steve Abcouwer
* Donna Pham – faculty mentor Diana Northup
* Linda Tratechaud – faculty mentor Lydia Madrid
* Christine Sanchez – faculty mentor J. Scott Tonigan
* Martha Salomon – faculty mentor Celestyn Brozek