ASU student to study at prestigious NIST - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

ASU student to study at prestigious NIST

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Shayla Duncan (Photo Courtesy: ASU) Shayla Duncan (Photo Courtesy: ASU)
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

An Alabama State University biology major is being selected to take part in a national science fellowship program that will have her working at one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious physical science laboratories. The ASU student will be working with some of the most innovative minds in the scientific field.

Shayla Duncan, an ASU junior from Columbus, Ga., was selected to be an undergraduate researcher at the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, according to Dr. Tony Bryant, the director of ASU's Center for Retention and First Year Programs. The program is in Gaithersburg, Md.

"Ms. Duncan will participate and work in this prestigious and exclusive 11-week program alongside nationally recognized NIST scientist, Dr. Shannon Hanna, who specializes in nanoparticles research with an emphasis in environmentally related toxicities in a marine environment," said Bryant. "Duncan has a gift for science and  research and has been involved in research at ASU in our labs on campus."

Duncan said her selection to participate in the NIST fellowship is a dream come true.

"I am so excited because my hard work at school and the research experience that I have obtained while studying at Alabama State has finally paid off and allowed me to receive this opportunity of a lifetime," Duncan said.

During her fellowship that takes place this summer, she will receive a $5,500 stipend plus paid housing and travel to carry out research in the influence of nanomaterials on nematode growth and its reproduction, which will be  under the mentorship of Dr. Hanna.

As part of her fellowship, Duncan will work alongside other gifted students at NIST that employs some of the top scientists in the nation, which includes four researchers who have been awarded Nobel Prizes for their work in physics: William D. Phillips in 1997, Eric A. Cornell in 2001, John L. Hall in 2005 and David J. Wineland in 2012. 

According to the NIST Homepage, that is the largest number of Nobel Laureates employed at any U.S. government laboratory.

Duncan says that she wants to obtain both an M.D. and a Ph.D. degree, so she may conduct cancer research.

"Being able to conduct research that may one day be able to help alleviate the suffering of people who have cancer is my goal," Duncan said.

NIST is one of the nation's oldest physical science laboratories - established by Congress and under the auspices of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce  - that supports the smallest of technologies - nanoscale devices so tiny that tens of thousands can fit on the end of a single human hair - to the largest and most complex of human-made creations, from earthquake-resistant skyscrapers to wide-body jetliners to global communication networks. 

INFORMATION SOURCE: Alabama State University

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