Upper Iowa University freshman Erik Zorrilla takes first at IINSPIRE Alliance annual conference

Erik Zorrilla (far right) holds the check he received with the first-place prize in the experiential poster competition at the IINSPIRE annual conference. Dr. Kurt Wood (left), UIU Provost and newest member of the IINSPIRE LSAMP governing board, and Dr. Kata McCarville, associate professor of geosciences and the UIU IINSPIRE Alliance campus director, were on hand to congratulate Zorrilla.

FAYETTE, Iowa (November 13, 2014) – Erik Zorrilla, a first-year Upper Iowa University student majoring in biology with a pre-med emphasis, won first prize in the experiential category of the poster competition at the annual conference of the Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation and Research and Education (IINSPIRE) Alliance held recently at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa.

Zorrilla, from Miami, Fla., won a cash prize for his poster that described a scientific investigation he conducted at Upper Iowa in his Principles of Biology class under the guidance of Dr. Rebecca Schmidt, assistant professor of biology. The poster reports the results of his experiment and focuses on the importance of the experience in his growth and development as a scientist.

IINSPIRE is funded through the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) in STEM program of the National Science Foundation. IINSPIRE is an NSF LSAMP alliance among 16 two-year and four-year colleges and universities working together to broaden the participation of underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in the Midwest.

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