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Chemistry Doctoral Student Finds Researcher's Paradise at Nobel Laureates Meeting

Doctoral student Sara Andria's first trip abroad came courtesy of her seat at the annual Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students.

Date: 9/1/2007
By: Britt Kennerly
It's not every summer you travel abroad for the first time, meet a couple of Nobel Laureates and have your picture taken with the Count of Wisborg.

But all of that, and more, happened in just a few days for Sara Andria, a fourth-year chemistry doctoral student chosen to attend the 2007 Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Students in Lindau, Germany.

Andria, a member of Bill Heineman's research group, and approximately 500 young researchers from around the world were selected earlier this year to meet in July with 18 Nobel Laureates in chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine. The Lindau meeting, dating to 1951, annually provides young researchers an unforgettable chance to convene with the Laureates for a series of informal meetings, presentations and networking.

Sara Andria
Doctoral student Sara Andrea meets Bjorn Beradotte, Count of Wisborg.


A 2004 graduate of Shippensburg University, Andria received a bachelor's degree in chemistry and math before coming to UC. Her current research is funded by a grant from the Department of Energy.

"In Dr. Heinemanís group, there are a few different projects that involve the development of sensors. My research in particular focuses on developing a sensor that can detect and monitor toxic metals in the environment," said Andria, a veteran of the UC Department of Chemistry's 2003 Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

"At the Lindau meeting, all of the research presented by the Laureates had a much different application compared to my research. However, there were a few students from the U.S. delegation who were doing research related to mine, and it was interesting to see their approach."

As a scientist, it's "always good to keep up on the leading research in other areas." For busy students, however, that's sometimes difficult, she added.

"It was great to hear about the research being done in the area of medicine, and the fact that I was hearing it from the people doing the research made it even better," she said.

The meeting was also a great opportunity for networking.

Sara Andria
Sara Andria, center, bikes with other students in Lindau, Germany.

"I would say that the best contacts I've made have been the other students from the U.S. delegation. We all went to Germany as complete strangers, but I quickly became friends with many of them," the Smithfield, Pa., native recalled.

"It's fascinating to know that I have met people I could potentially be working with in the future, and I'm interested in seeing where we all end up. I did actually get to meet two of the Nobel Laureates. I really didnít know what to expect, but I would say I wasnít star-struck like I thought I might be. Instead, they are just regular people who have worked really hard and have been very successful because of their hard work. I think they set a great example for everyone who attended the meeting."

If asked to share her experience with other students, "I would tell them that setting goals is only part of the equation," said Andria, a sports and live music fan. "The rest involves hard work, which is how I've gotten to where I am today in my education. Although, you need to make sure that you balance that hard work with some fun, too!



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