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Contact: Dan Lara, University Relations, (785) 864-8855

Biosciences 'Road Show' highlights benefits of research studies, careers

LAWRENCE -- For the past two years, faculty members in the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of Kansas have embarked on a “Graduate School Road Show” to area colleges, talking with undergraduates about the benefits of research careers in biology and other life sciences.

“ Our goal with the road show is to show students who are considering graduate school that there are other rewarding career fields in the biosciences besides becoming a medical doctor or pharmacist,” said Audrey Lamb, assistant professor of molecular biosciences at KU and chairman of the graduate recruiting committee for the department.

Faculty members have visited several Kansas and Missouri colleges and universities this year, including Wichita State University; Bethel College in North Newton; Washburn University in Topeka; Baker University in Baldwin City; Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Mo.; and Missouri Western State College in St. Joseph. Emporia State University and Benedictine College in Atchison are on the list to be visited this year, Lamb said.

Besides the road show, the Department of Molecular Biosciences will hold a "Fall Recruitment Day" from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20, in Haworth Hall.

Sixty undergraduates from area colleges have been invited to participate in activities designed to showcase the department and the university, Lamb said. Current KU graduate students will present their research and give tours of Haworth, and undergrads will have a chance to talk with faculty members. Lunch will be provided.

Graduate research has much to offer students, said Kristi Neufeld, assistant professor of biological sciences and director of graduate studies for the department.

“ Some of these students will be just as well-suited for biological research as they will be for a career in medicine,” she said.

The response has been very positive from the undergraduates the road show has visited, Lamb said. Among the benefits of graduate study discussed with students are a tuition waver, an annual stipend of $21,780 and health care benefits.

In return, students must maintain a minimum grade point average, be productive in the laboratory, teach some undergraduate courses and participate in departmental seminars. After graduation, career paths can include structural biologist, public health scientist, toxicologist, genetic counselor, forensic biologist or professor.

“ Attending medical school could cost at least $100,000, and med students don't have a lot of control over their time,” Lamb said. “Research allows them to be independent and creative and gives them flexible hours, and their research could potentially benefit millions.”

To learn more about the road show, to register for the “Fall Recruitment Day” or to learn more about the Department of Molecular Biosciences, contact John Connolly, graduate program assistant, at (785) 864-4311 or by e-mail at jconnolly@ku.edu; or visit http://www.molecularbiosciences.ku.edu.


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