Consortium Connections

Connecting campuses to promote excellence in science and mathematics

Founded by the Pew Charitable Trusts

January 6, 2011

Vol. 5 No.2

snowy woods

Happy New Year! I hope 2011 has gotten off to a great start on your campuses. It's been a cold and snowy December in much of the upper Midwest and many of our campuses are white as students return and classes begin. We hosted two of our largest Undergraduate Research Symposia this past fall and we've got several upcoming programs this winter and spring. Please read through the descriptions of our programs below and consider participating. Please share any relevant information with your students and colleagues so they too can participate.


Re-energize, re-imagine and re-invest! Mid-Career Faculty Development Workshop

Augustana College, Feb 18-20, 2011



Associate-level faculty are encouraged to join us for a weekend of reflection, conversation and planning with colleagues from around the Consortium. Veteran facilitator Jeanne Narum whose energy and experience in higher education has earned her tremendous respect and national recognition will help faculty participants think through their own priorities, passions and pursuits in order to create an individualized 2-4 year strategic plan.

Augustana College has a lovely, wooded, hilly campus in Rock Island, IL, one of the quad-cities right on the border of Illinois and Iowa. Rooms have been reserved for participants from out of town at the Holiday Inn in Rock Island for Friday and Saturday nights. The workshop will begin Friday evening at about 5pm with an opening session and a working dinner. We'll wrap up before lunch on Sunday so participants can travel home that afternoon.

More details and online registration can be found at

Online registration ends at midnight on Monday January don't delay! Contact Karen N. Pearson with questions and suggestions., (616)395-7217.


2010 Undergraduate Research Symposia

poster presentationA record 140 students and faculty came to the Undergraduate Research Symposium at The University of Chicago on November 5-7, 2010. Students from all 14 member campuses made Knox poster26 oral presentations and 74 poster presentations.  Pictured here at the right is SoYeon Park from Knox College presenting her poster.

On Friday evening Dr. Paul Sereno, a paleontologist from The University of Chicago, presented on his work uncovering and reconstructing dinosaur fossils all over the world and on Saturday evening, Dr. Sarah Elgin a molecular biologist and geneticist from Washington University, presented the 3rd annual Janet Andersen Lecture.

Thanks to U of C's Vicky Prince, Nancy Schwartz, Melissa Lindberg, Eleni Levedakou, Sarah Reynolds and Diane Hall who helped organize and host a fantastic weekend for all of us.


Wash U group 2010The next weekend, November 12-14, Washington University in St. Louis hosted 92 students and faculty who made 23 oral and 46 poster presentations. On Friday evening a diverse group of Wash U graduate students and postdocs shared some of their humor and wisdom about graduate school. On Saturday morning Wash U chemist Liviu Mirica gave a lecture on his work with chemical reactions that are important to alternative energy technologies and on Sunday morning Hope’s Graham Peaslee, a chemist with many ongoing interdisciplinary collaborations, gave the physical sciences Janet Andersen Award Lecture highlighting his research with students using Hope’s Ion Beam Analysis Laboratory. 

Thanks to Wash U's John Bleeke and the Consortium's Marlene Field for organizing many details so the weekend ran vey smoothly!

Special thanks to all the faculty that helped students prepare their talks and posters. The careful preparation showed in the quality of the presentations. We consistently hear from visitors and faculty members that these meetings have some of the highest quality, professional presentations made by students of any similar meetings hosted for undergraduates in the nation.

2011 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Nominations

Janet AndersenWe are eager to receive nominations for the 2011 Janet Andersen Lecture Award. We invite faculty, students, staff and administrators to nominate faculty members in the Consortium for this award. We encourage nominations for faculty members of any rank who have vigorous research programs involving undergraduates, who are exceptional mentors for undergraduate research students, who are engaged and skilled teachers, or who create interdisciplinary research opportunities for undergraduate students.

The Consortium will accept nominations for the 2011 award until the end of April, 2011. The award recipients will be selected at the spring's Executive Committee Meeting.

Please send a letter of nomination with relevant details about the faculty member and a recent CV of the nominee to Karen Pearson, Midstates Consortium Director at

Call (616-395-7217) or email Karen with any questions.

To see more information on our 2008 - 2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site

2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners

We received 11 very strong nominations for the 2010 Janet Andersen Award from which the Executive Committee chose the two winners.

Dr. PeasleePhysical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

Graham Peaslee, PhD, Professor of Chemistry and Environmental Science, Hope College, Holland, MI

Graham gave the lecture entitled "Ion Beam Analysis: from Mud to Luminescence" at the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science meeting at Washington University in St. Louis (Nov 12-14).


Janet AndersenBiological Sciences and Psychology

Sarah (Sally) Elgin, PhD, Professor of Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Sally presented the award lecture "Undergraduate Research: A Personal Perspective" at the Biological Sciences and Psychology meeting at The University of Chicago (Nov 5-7).

To see more information on our 2010 Janet Andersen Lecture Award Winners please visit our web site.

Summer Research opportunities for undergraduates in 2011

Amgen Scholars Program at Washington University

Washington University in St. Louis has received a four-year, $1 million grant from the Amgen Foundation to provide hands-on biomedical laboratory experience to undergraduates through the Amgen Scholars Program. The university will support about 25 students in this program each summer. The selected scholars will participate in a 10-week intensive summer laboratory experience in biomedical research.

The application deadline is February 1st, 2011. Please encourage students to apply to this program!

For more information and application details, see

C-SURE Program at Washington University

In both 2009 and 2010, 19 undergraduates from Consortium campuses participated in a unique summer research program associated with the Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience (CCSN) program at Wash U. After these first two years of piloting the program, we submitted a proposal to NSF to fully fund the program for the next 3-5 years. That proposal is currently under review. Stay tuned to see if the C-SURE program is awarded funding and if the program will be offered this summer.

If the program will be offered in 2011, we will send flyers containing more information and application details. The deadline for applications would likely be in March, 2010, and fellows will be announced in early April. Questions about the program or about applying can be addressed to Professor Dennis Barbour (

As you plan for your seminar and colloquium series, take advantage of funding to support speaker visits and short-term consultations.

You can apply for these funds to support visits anytime during the academic year or in the summer!

Macalester chemist, Paul Fischer visited Lawrence on September 23 and presented the lecture "Reactions of Heterobiametallic Allyl Complexes and Organic Free Radicals: Does a Metal-Metal Bond Matter?".

Grinnell biologist Bruce Voyles was hosted by Lawrence's Ron Peck in mid-October. Bruce presented the seminar "Surviving famine: Acinetobacter baylyi starvation-induced genes identified through incubation in long-term stationary phase."

Mark Eichinger from Luther invited Clark Lindgren from Grinnell's biology program to present the lecture "The Neuromuscular Junction: smarter than you think" on October 21.

Luther's Laura Peterson invited Wash U's David Jones to Decorah to present the lecture "The Ordovician Mass Extinction and Glaciation; Insights from the Stratigraphy and Geochemistry of Anticosti, Island, Quebec in mid-November."

Dwight Stoll hosted Consortium Director Karen Pearson at Gustavus on Friday, December 3rd. Karen met with faculty, administrators and students, and presented a seminar entitled "Chemistry's central role in Nanoscience."

If you have a seminar that you would like to give, please add your name to our database.



Comments from the Director

Friends and Colleagues,

Thanks to all the students and faculty that joined us for the two fantastic Undergraduate Research Symposia this fall. Our record numbers demonstrate how valuable these meetings are to students as they look for opportunities to share the results of their research efforts.

As you've seen in the announcements above, there are several upcoming opportunities for faculty and students to be involved. Remember, your Deans and Provosts pay for the Consortium's annual membership out of very tight faculty professional development funds, so please make the most of your campus' involvement and support these meetings. Also, funding is available year round for inviting speakers and colleagues from other campuses to give seminars or collaborate on a research or teaching project. It was my pleasure to visit Gustavus Adolphus in St. Peter, MN in early December to give a chemistry seminar and meet with colleagues and students. In my 5 years as Director, we have never run out of money to support these speaker and collaboration visits.

Best wishes for a great start to 2011!

Karen Nordell Pearson


Augustana College Beloit College Carthage College Colorado College Grinnell College Gustavus Adolphus Hope College Knox College  
 Lawrence University Luther College Macalester College St. Olaf College University of Chicago Washington University