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Ryan Piurek
IU Media Relations

Last modified: Thursday, May 5, 2005

Science and humanities awards given to seven IUB students

MAY 5, 2005

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Seven Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate students have received awards in the sciences and humanities totaling $92,800 from the College of Arts and Sciences. The group of students includes the first two recipients of the Guidant Life Sciences Scholarships, three recipients of the Beckman Scholarships for scientific research and two winners of the Palmer-Brandon Prize for education in the humanities.

Here is more information about the scholarship awards. Photos of two winners, Daniel Croft and Blair Dina, were unavailable because they are studying overseas.

Guidant Life Sciences Scholarship

Daniel Croft of South Bend, Ind., and Pamela Sontz of Evansville, Ind., will receive $10,000 each as winners of the inaugural Guidant Life Sciences Scholarships. The awards are given to high-merit students who are seeking degrees in the life sciences and intend to pursue careers in the healthcare industry.

Croft is a junior majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry and is enrolled in the Liberal Arts and Management program. He is currently studying abroad in Perth, Australia. A graduate of Clay High School in South Bend, he has conducted research in Professor of Biology Roger Hangarter's Plant Biology Lab at IUB and is a longtime Habitat for Humanity volunteer.

Sontz, a graduate of William Henry Harrison High School in Evansville, is a junior working toward a degree in biochemistry with minors in biology and German. She conducted research in the lab of Jeffrey Zaleski, a professor of chemistry. She plans to attend medical school or enter a medical or doctoral degree program.

Indianapolis-based Guidant is a world leader in the design and development of cardiovascular medical products. Guidant was incorporated in 1994, and has since grown to $3.6 billion in revenue and more than 12,000 employees. It established the Guidant Foundation in 1995 to support communities where it has employees and charitable and educational programs that fulfill its philanthropic mission. The corporation is expected to merge later this year with Johnson & Johnson.

Alexander Murphy Nakhnikian

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Beckman Scholarship

The College of Arts and Sciences has received support from the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation for a total of six Beckman Scholarships to be awarded over three years (2004-2006). The scholarships are among the most highly sought-after undergraduate research awards in the nation.

The 2005 Beckman Scholars are Blair Dina of Western Springs, Ill., Alexander Murphy-Nakhnikian of Bloomington and Val Simianu of Carmel, Ind. Each scholar will receive $17,600 to support two semesters plus two summers of scientific research.

Dina, who is a junior majoring in psychology, works in the lab of Professor Preston Garraghty. Her Beckman-funded research will focus on creating and analyzing an animal model for autism using in utero exposure of rats to an antiepileptic compound called valproic acid.

Murphy-Nakhnikian is a junior with a triple-major in chemistry, psychology and philosophy. His research mentor is Chancellor's Professor of Psychology George Rebec. He will use the Beckman funding to research the etiology of Huntington's disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system.

Simianu is a junior majoring in biology who works in the lab of Professor Yves Brun. His Beckman-funded research will focus on the aquatic organism Caulobacter crescentus.

Rosalind (Lindi) Rubin

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Palmer-Brandon Prize

Rosalind (Lindi) Rubin of Baton Rouge, La., and Kathleen Claussen of Allentown, Pa., have been selected as winners of the 2005 Palmer-Brandon Prize competition. Each student will receive $10,000 to be used to further her educational experiences. The Palmer-Brandon Prize is given annually to outstanding full-time students who are majoring in the humanities.

Rubin is a junior majoring in theatre and drama with minors in gender studies, communication and culture, and English. She plans to pursue a career on stage.

Kathleen Claussen

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Claussen is pursuing a degree in comparative social policy and ideology through IU's Individualized Major Program and Spanish. She also is minoring in political science and West European studies. She will use her Palmer-Brandon Prize to conduct a survey and analysis of civil society in Latin America and Eastern Europe.

The Palmer-Brandon Prize is named for the late Ralph Graham Palmer of Washington, Ind., and his wife, the late Barbara Brandon Palmer. Both husband and wife were IU alumni. The award was made possible by a gift made to the College of Arts and Sciences in the 1980s.

To speak to the student winners, contact Ryan Piurek, IU Media Relations, at 812-855-5393 or