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Two East Central University students – Laura Asaro and Linzi Thompson – achieved first place awards in the 20th Annual Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) Research Symposium poster competition, held recently at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.

Asaro, an Oktaha senior majoring in mathematics, took top honors in the Non-Life Science Division for her math research and Thompson, a Sulphur senior majoring in environmental health sciences, finished first for nanoparticle research in the Life Science Division. Both are also members of ECU’s McNair Scholars Program.

It was the first time that ECU students took first in both divisions in the same year. Asaro and Thompson each received a $250 prize and surpassed 68 other students from various institutions, including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the other regional universities. During the symposium, students from universities, all over Oklahoma, presented their OK-LSAMP funded or supported research, either as a poster or PowerPoint.

“I was thrilled to see Laura and Linzi win the top prizes in two categories. They are both amazing young ladies who will go far and continue to make ECU proud,” said Dr. Carl Rutledge, ECU campus coordinator for OK-LSAMP, professor and chair of the ECU Physics Department and Adolph Linscheid Distinguished Teaching Professor.

A record 236 people attended the 20th Annual Oklahoma Research Symposium of the Louis Stokes Oklahoma Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology at OSU and 12 were from ECU, according to Rutledge.

Dr. James Hicks, the program director from the National Science Foundation, flew in from Washington, DC, to celebrate the 20th anniversary.

“Our Oklahoma Alliance has just received a new grant for the next five years,” Rutledge said.  “We look forward to supporting many more students like Linzi and Laura in their research and preparing them for graduate school.”


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