Lones, Blake pursue competitive summer research opportunities
While some students will spend summer in relaxation mode, UW-Green Bay’s Lorenzo Lones will be working in a lab at one of the top research programs in the nation.
Likewise, UW-Green Bay junior Tresavoya Blake, a History and Democracy and Justice Studies major, will be interning at Loyola University Chicago in its Multicultural Affairs Division this summer as part of a National Undergraduate Fellowship Program.
Each are mentored and encouraged by Justin Mallett, the director of UWGB’s American Intercultural Center.
Lones, a double major in Psychology and Human Biology, will be participating in the University of Iowa Summer Research Opportunity Program throughout June and July. The eight-week program is designed to prepare participants for future doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.
While at the University of Iowa, Lones will be working with Dr. Andrew Pieper, MD, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Radiation Oncology.
“One of the things that interested me is that the professor I will be working has a very diverse lab team,” said Lones, “He has women, Latinos, African-Americans, so it is just a very diverse team. Also, his research is closely aligned with the type of research I want to do in my career.”
Lones will be working with Pieper to study the effects of two chemicals on mice: One that helps create new brain cells in the memory center of the brain and one that helps stop cell death.
“We have a lot of psychiatric medication that deals with symptoms, but his lab is actually looking at what is causing the symptoms and trying to change the course of the disorder in the brain instead of just alleviating symptoms,” Lones said.
This experience will be a first for Lones who says he has never worked directly in a lab such as this before.
“This will be the first time I’m in the lab actually manipulating things,” he said, “As far as animals are concerned too, I’ll be working with the rats. So that will be a pretty nifty hands-on experience for me.”
Entering UWGB, he thought he would someday be a school psychologist. “I took Prof. Dennis Lorenz’s physiological psychology class and started studying the nervous system and then realized I really like understanding how the brain works.”
He followed that with a molecular biology course with Prof. Uwe Pott, and is honing his career path to research.
“What I want to study is not necessarily the act of giving treatment, but looking at what is the course of treatment… instead of of being a doctor, doing medical research that doctors can benefit from.”
For Tresavoya Blake, the fellowship is an extension of involvement at UW-Green Bay. She laughs as she begins her list… “Women of Color, Black Student Union, the Diversity Taskforce…”
Her involvement provided a strong case for acceptance into the National Undergraduate Fellowship Program through the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and the benefits associated with it — such as the eight-week fellowship at Loyola.
“I’ll be actually working with the different staff in different departments, working on any projects they might want me to do,” she said, “Basically learning more about the student affairs field and narrowing down which department or division of student affairs I would be most interested in pursuing when I go to graduate school and eventually start my own career in student affairs.”
Both Lones and Blakes said they understand the need for mentoring and appreciate the faculty and staff who support and encourage them.
“After my experiences here at Green Bay, especially in the American Intercultural Center, and seeing how they helped me just stay here and become more comfortable in the university, that’s the kind of impact I want to make on students in general,” Blake said. “In my future, I want to be the person that helps students of color, underrepresented students, and students in general, navigate through college.”
Lones said he is grateful to the faculty and staff that have helped him prepare for this opportunity, including Prof. Kris Vespia, who worked with him over winter break to help prepare his personal statement.
“The multicultural advisors, Crystal, Justin, and Mai, they do a really good job at keeping me on a straight path,” he said, “The faculty here at the school have been tremendous. They’ve been extremely supportive. I don’t know where I’d be without them.”
Story by Katelyn Staaben, editorial intern