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Penn State Junior Wins Awards for Cancer Research

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Beth Chislock, a junior from Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, is one of two Penn State students to win a 2004-2005 Thomas J. Bardos Science Education Award for Undergraduate Students from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR). The primary purpose of this award is to inspire undergraduate students to enter the field of cancer research. Winners are given a monetary grant each year for two years, and they are expected to attend the annual four-day AACR meeting during those two years. They are required to submit comprehensive reports on each meeting and on any cancer-related undergraduate research and work they have done.

Zachary Reitman, of Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, was the other Penn State student to win this award this year.

In addition, Chislock recently has received a Pfizer Fellowship to fund her research on breast cancer this summer at Penn State. Only 53 of these fellowships were awarded for this summer to undergraduate students around the country. She said, "I was really happy about it, because now I can afford to stay at Penn State for the summer and work on my research, which will lead to my honors thesis."

Chislock, a biochemistry and molecular biology major in Penn State's Schreyer Honors College, has been doing cancer research at Penn State for the past two years with Andrea Mastro, professor of microbiology and cell biology. Chislock's two ongoing projects focus on the effects of breast cancer on bone cells and where breast cancer cells collect within bones. Chislock said, "Research goes beyond textbook learning. I'm making my own knowledge." Mastro said, "Beth is a good student both in the lab and in the classroom. She learns very quickly."

Of the AACR award, Chislock said, "I was really thrilled and excited when I found out I was one of the winners. I never expected to win it. It's a great opportunity, and I am very pleased to have received it." At this year's AACR meeting, which was held at the end of March, Chislock and the other 19 awardees attended various symposia, lectures, and luncheons with some of the nation's top scientists in cancer research. "Attending the meeting was a great experience," she said. "Before the meeting, I had just been exposed to the intensely focused portion of cancer research that our lab works on, but the meeting really made me much more aware of the variety of opportunities in cancer research. I really gained a better appreciation for just how vast and diverse cancer research is, and it definitely made me more interested in pursuing a career in that direction."

Chislock contributed to an abstract written by Robyn Mercer, a graduate student in Mastro's lab, that Mercer presented as a poster at the meeting. Chislock said, "I hope to present my own research at the meeting next year, which will be a very valuable experience."

In addition to winning the AACR and Pfizer awards, Chislock is a recipient of a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research, which will further help fund her research. She recently has been named an Evan Pugh Scholar, a title given to Penn State juniors and seniors who are in the upper 0.5 percent of their respective classes. She is a recipient of the President's Freshman Award and the President Sparks Award for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average during her freshman and sophomore years, respectively. She is a Braddock Scholar in the Eberly College of Science, and she is also a National Merit Scholar.

Additionally, Chislock is the president of the Campus Girl Scouts at Penn State, and she participates in the Concert Band and the Campus Band every fall and spring, respectively. She is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Association for Women in Science.

After graduating in Spring 2005, Chislock hopes to attend graduate school or medical school. A graduate of Huntingdon Area High School, Beth is the daughter of Michael and Deborah Chislock, of Huntingdon.

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CONTACTS:
Beth Chislock, emc193@psu.edu
Andrea M. Mastro, a36@psu.edu , 814-863-0152

 

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