Penn State Sophomore Wins Award for Cancer Research
5 May 2004 --Zachary Reitman, a sophomore from Glenmoore, 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 for 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.
Beth Chislock, of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, was the other Penn State student to win this award this year.
In addition, Reitman recently received a 2004-2005 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship of $7,500 a year for the next two years. The scholarship, which recognizes students in the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering, was awarded this year to only 310 students nationwide.
Reitman said of the AACR award, "I was really happy when I found out I won. Attending the annual meetings is a really good opportunity to see the discussions that go on within the scientific community. It's a good learning experience, and it will give me a jump start as a scientist."
Another great part about attending the annual meeting, he added,
is its location; this year's meeting was in Orlando, Florida, and
next year's will be in Anaheim, California.
At this year's meeting, which took place at the end of March, Reitman and the other 19 winners attended various symposia, lectures, and luncheons with some of the nation's top scientists in cancer research. "It's great to see what is going on in the different areas of cancer research," he said.
Reitman, a biochemistry and molecular biology major in Penn State's Schreyer Honors College, has been doing research at Penn State for the past two years with Craig Cameron, the Louis Martarano Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Just a few weeks into his first semester at Penn State, Reitman joined Cameron's lab, where he has worked on several projects and where he now does genetic experiments on the polio virus.
Cameron, now Reitman's adviser, said, "Zach is not only a great student but also has awesome potential for the future. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will be a leader in any field that he chooses."
Last summer, Reitman held a research position at the Wistar Institute, an affiliate of the University of Pennsylvania. Cameron said, "His acceptance into a program like that, which is usually reserved for upperclassmen, was a very significant accomplishment."
As a freshman, Reitman danced in the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (Thon), Penn State's annual student-run 48-hour dance marathon to benefit cancer research. "It was an amazing experience, but I'm glad I don't have to do it again!" he said.
Reitman is a Dean's List student, an Eagle Scout, and a member of Sigma Xi, a scientific research society. He is a representative for the South Halls Residence Association, and he helped organize a recent blood drive in South Halls. He is also a member of the Penn State Outing Club, and he will serve as the club's treasurer next year.
After graduating in the spring of 2006, Reitman plans to attend graduate school to pursue a degree in a field related to molecular biology. A graduate of Downingtown High School near Philadelphia, Zachary is the son of Cynthia Reitman and the late Kenneth E. Reitman, and he is the older brother of Louise and Jessica, of Glenmoore.
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