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So you’re a high-performing, scientific-minded student, someone whose idea of a great summer involves creating something special. Well, we offer something that’s right up your alley.

The Lakeland Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE) is our highly regarded 10-week summer research program. Working closely with a Lakeland faculty member, you’ll design your project, conduct all publishable research, troubleshoot, analyze data and eventually present your findings at a state or national scientific conference.

Oh, and we’ll pay you a stipend for your work, in addition to waiving tuition for one summer class.

“I think the biggest thing students get out of this is a practical understanding of what it means to actually do science,” says Greg Smith, associate professor of biology. “The LURE program is novel, scientific research. That practical, hands-on approach is pretty unique. It really gives our students an advantage going into graduate school or the work force, because they have actually done science rather than just learned how it’s done.”

Use high-powered equipment

In recent years, we’ve put more than $3.2 million into our Chase Science Center. We now feature high-tech equipment such as a DNA sequencer and a fluorescent microscope, among other things. Unlike at some big universities, we not only allow you to work with our world-class equipment – we encourage it.

“Once you feel comfortable using a complex piece of scientific equipment, I think it’s really transferrable to the next one,” says Smith. “I think that really benefits our students who go out into the workforce. They can say in a job interview, ‘I’ve used a DNA sequencer.’ The interviewer may say, ‘Well, that’s great. We won’t have you doing any DNA sequencing here, but if you know how to run that complex piece of machinery, I think you’re going to be able to learn how to run the piece of machinery we need you to run.’ ”

Snapshot of Success

Name: Sarah Neuman

Hometown: Campbellsport, Wis.

Title: Ph.D. graduate student, cellular and molecular biology

Graduate School: University of Wisconsin-Madison

During a three-week Lakeland University trip into the tropical rainforests of Belize, Sarah spotted tree-dwelling kinkajous, heard a tapir crashing through the underbrush and fell asleep to the shrieks of howler monkeys.

It was a life-changing experience, one that molded her future. From then on, the former aspiring high school band director shifted her academic focus to biology and high-level post-graduate research.

“Awesome,” she says of that trip, which took place at the end of her junior year. “How else can you describe it? To be completely immersed in the rainforest was just incredible. It was a research experience like no other.”

Sarah dove into the Lakeland Undergraduate Research Experience (LURE), an intense summer program in which students are paid a stipend while conducting original research with the help of a faculty member.

Sarah’s project involved the study of prions. These malformed, infectious proteins cause chronic wasting disease and mad cow disease in animals and the untreatable, fatal Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans. Using yeast as a model organism, Sarah studied prion species barriers and how the prions can and do occasionally cross those barriers.

“The LURE program provided the opportunity to do independent research, which is not something you get at a large undergraduate university,” she says. “Having that freedom to autonomously design projects was so valuable.”

Sarah came to Lakeland University as a self-described “small-town girl” who liked being close to home. After graduating in 2011, she competed for and won a prestigious National Science Foundation pre-doctoral fellowship at UW-Madison. She someday wants to be a professor of biology at a small, liberal arts school like Lakeland.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t be where I am today without Lakeland and the guidance I received there,” she adds. “The professors were always willing to go out of their way to discuss academic matters, career paths, anything. I would tell anyone, ‘Go to Lakeland University!’ The experience you have there can’t be had anywhere else.”

The Lure Experience

In the last eight years, 39 students have participated in the LURE program, 17 of whom have gone on to graduate programs (10 of those are in research Ph.D. programs in biology, biochemistry and chemistry and the other seven are in a variety of applied sciences professions — pharmacy, medicine, chiropractic, genetic counseling and forensic science). Notable recent graduates include:

  • Sean Johnson (Sheboygan, Wis.) – Ph.D. program in cell and molecular biology, Washington University (St. Louis). Graduated from Lakeland in 2011 (biology).
  • Amber Koenig (Howards Grove, Wis.) – Ph.D. program in chemistry, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Graduated from Lakeland in 2011 (chemistry and mathematics).
  • Kellen Grott (New Holstein, Wis.) – Doctor of Chiropractic program, National University of Health Science (Chicago). Graduated from Lakeland in 2011 ( exercise science and sports studies/sports studies emphasis).
  • Grace Jairo (Rongo, Kenya) – Ph.D. program in biomedical sciences, Tulane University. Graduated in 2011 (biochemistry).

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