WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Feb. 12, 2020 — West Liberty University was awarded a $129,000 grant for summer research as West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission renewed its support for the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program across the state.
“The College of Sciences is pleased to be able to continue the SURE program and offer our students valuable research opportunities as they study and prepare for graduate school and professional careers,” said Dr. Matthew Zdilla, associate professor of biology and the grant writer for the funding.
In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate biology students, Zdilla teaches in the Physician Assistant Studies master’s degree program and is currently one of the five finalists selected for West Virginia Professor of the Year by the Faculty Merit Foundation of West Virginia.
Topics of research in WLU’s SURE program have included novel neurosurgical procedures, infections and antibiotics, water quality of area streams, crayfish, snakes and vascular variations.
The recent $129,000 award will provide at least 27 undergraduate students with paid summer research experiences over the next three years. Each summer, nine undergraduate students will be able to learn under the mentorship of seven WLU biologists.
“We are grateful to the Higher Education Policy Commission for renewing our grant so that we can continue to provide our students with the challenge of research,” said Dr. Karen Kettler, Dean of the College of Sciences.
Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) grants give undergraduate students hands-on research experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and is made possible by the Research Challenge Fund, established by the West Virginia Legislature in 2004.
“Research is an invaluable part of science and West Liberty University is proud of its busy labs and excellent professors who lead our students in this important part of an undergraduate science degree,” Kettler added.