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University of Cincinnati Doctoral Student Selected to Meet Nobel Laureates in Germany

Sara Andria, a doctoral student in chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, was selected to attend the 57th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Germany.

Date: 6/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
By: Wendy Beckman
Phone: (513) 556-1826
Photos By: Dottie Stover, photojournalist

UC ingot   During the meeting, the Laureates will lecture in the mornings on the topic of their choice related to physiology and medicine and participate in less formal small group discussions with the students in the afternoons and some evenings. The primary purpose of the meeting is to allow participants — most of whom are students — to benefit from informal interaction with the Nobel Prize winners.

Sara Andria, UC doctoral student in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.
Sara Andria, UC doctoral student in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences

“When else would you ever get the chance to meet someone who has won a Nobel prize?” Andria asks.

During lunches and dinners, Laureates will join participants at local restaurants for informal discussions. Various social events are also on the agenda to allow participants to meet other attendees from around the world. Andria’s looking forward to her first trip abroad. After the workshop in Germany, she plans to visit a cousin and his wife who are stationed with the Air Force in northern France.

The 2007 Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students will consist of 18 Nobel Laureates meeting with approximately 500 young researchers from around the world. Since 1951, Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine have convened annually in Lindau, Germany, to conduct informal meetings with young researchers from around the world, rotating presentation disciplines each year. Even if it’s not in the students’ specific discipline area, the exposure is good.

“We might come up with new ideas for uses of our research in other fields,” says Andria.

"This meeting is a marvelous opportunity for Sara to interact with leading scientists in the world and top graduate students from other universities," says her advisor, Bill Heineman, distinguished research professor of chemistry. "She  will have an educational and cultural experience to remember for a lifetime. Sara is an excellent student to represent the University of Cincinnati at this unique conference."

Approximately 50 students will represent the United States, with more than 500 other international students at the meeting. The other students representing the United States are sponsored by the National Science Foundation; Mars, Inc.; the U.S. Department of Energy; the National Institutes of Health and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

“You have to be working on a grant from one of the sponsors, such as DOE or NSF,” Andria explains. Andria applied for UC’s nomination to the program in early 2007. Then each university can nominate one or two students. Transportation, lodging and registration expenses are paid for by the sponsoring agency.

Andria, a native of Smithfield, Pa., is a 2004 graduate of Shippensburg University, where she received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and math. She first came to the University of Cincinnati in the summer of 2003 as part of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in chemistry. It was during the 2003 REU that she first worked with Bill Heineman. Now, as a full-fledged part of Heineman’s sensors group, she is working on developing metal ion sensors for environmental applications.

“We’re looking at iron and lead now, but what we’re researching could be applied to a lot of toxic metals,” she says.

Andria, now starting her fourth year as a doctoral student, hopes to get her PhD by the end of 2008. After that, she has many options. One of the things that attracted her to chemistry in the first place was the possibility of going into forensics. That interest is still there.

“I’m leaning now toward government work,” she says, “but I’m still interested in forensics and environmental fields, too.”

Andria’s father, Jerry, is a chief juvenile probation officer for Fayette County, Pa., and her mother, Sheila, is an office manager for Beltone hearing aids. Joe, Sara's brother, recently graduated from West Virginia University with a degree in music education.

“Sometimes they look at my brother and me and wonder where we came from!” Andria says, laughing. At least they know where she’s going — to Germany!