Undergraduate research opens doors for freshmen at Penn State Hazleton

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Wilson said that after hearing about research opportunities for freshmen and sophomores at an open house, he introduced Penn State Hazleton to Lowen. The couple graduated from high school in northern Lebanon, where they worked together on experiments in their chemistry and biology classes. That familiarity of working side-by-side in the lab carried over to Penn State Hazleton, they said.

“I know the things I’m good at and [Lowen] knows the things he’s good at,” Wilson said. “Our skills mesh very well.”

Their research was made even more efficient with Patel’s guidance every step of the way, they said.

“If he knew we were about to do something particularly complicated, he would give us an explanation and guide us ahead of time,” Lowen said.

Wilson added, “We were learning techniques that we probably wouldn’t have learned for a few semesters elsewhere.”

Elizabeth J. Wright, director of academic affairs at Penn State Hazleton and associate dean for academic affairs, Commonwealth Campuses, said the research opportunities available on campus have helped students gain admission to graduate and medical schools, earn recognition at regional and national research conferences, and to continue their work at other institutions.

“Penn State Hazleton is very proud of its long history of faculty and students working side-by-side on undergraduate research,” Wright said. “We encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities to collaborate with faculty members who are dedicated to sharing their experiences and expertise with them.”

Likewise, Lowen and Wilson said their experiences during their first year on campus have already opened doors to other exciting opportunities.

This summer, Wilson will participate in an undergraduate research program at the University at Buffalo, while Lowen will conduct research on an invasive species of catfish with assistant professor of biology Megan Schall.

They also encouraged other students to get involved early in their academic careers.

“If you want to do something on campus, you have all the resources and support to take action,” Lowen said. “Go for it.”

Both students plan to transfer to University Park after their sophomore year at Penn State Hazleton, pursue graduate studies, and eventually earn their doctorates.

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