SCSE Student Wins Award From MN Science Academy

car anderson
January 26, 2016

UMD biochemistry major Carl Anderson receives award for research.

What a difference a few years makes. UMD biochemistry major Carl Anderson at the Swenson College of Science & Engineering (SCSE) can’t believe how much he’s learned since the first time he set foot in a research lab. Now, he’s a senior applying to grad programs and winning an award for research he has conducted.

“Since the start, I’ve really enjoyed doing research and being able to see the effects of my work,” said Carl. When he was a sophomore, Carl volunteered to help out in the lab and started working with Associate Professor Grant Anderson in UMD’s College of Pharmacy. That led to the opportunity to study iron deficiency and its effect on brain development. Specifically, Carl has been probing genes to look for markers that indicate a tendency towards iron deficiency.

The Hiram E. Essex award is given to students for a research presentation demonstrating excellence in organismal and physiological sciences. The Minnesota Academy of Science determines award winners at their annual Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium. Carl is the 2015 winner of this honor and heard about the award just recently, despite giving his presentation last spring. “They sent the announcement to my parents’ house, and it didn’t get opened until I went home and found it,” Carl explained.

Of course, it was a nice surprise. “There were people participating in the symposium from all over the state.”

Carl’s time at SCSE has been busy. After starting out as a lab volunteer, he went on to participate in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. He now gets paid to assist faculty with lab work about 15 hours a week while keeping up with his course schedule. “I like the lab work because it’s fairly independent, and I get to form my own hypothesis,” he explained. “The whole process is really satisfying, but you need to be dedicated and you never know how things might turn out.”

One thing Carl is sure of is the decision to come to UMD. “I don’t think I could have chosen a better place for me. My mentor, Dr. Anderson, has been really encouraging, and there are a lot of opportunities here to try different things.” 

For more information, visit the Swenson College of Science and Engineering website.