Category Archives: Uncategorized

Astrophysics Alumna’s SSTP Research Published


2015 Alumna Liza Casella must be over the moon. Last month, her SSTP mentor Dr. Philip E. Kaaret published the paper she co-authored, “Resolving the X-ray emission from the Lyman continuum emitting galaxy Tol 1247-232,” in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Dr. Kaaret’s study focused on a deep mystery of astrophysics: why do we see such bright stars in the night sky?

Galaxies-AGN-Inner-Structure.svgBlack holes may be the answer. After the big bang, the universe filled with gasses that, like clouds on a stormy day, should blot out interstellar light. The super-massive black holes at the cores of galaxies, however, spin so quickly that they shoot off matter, creating winds that pierce the cosmic fog and allowing light to shine through, Dr. Kaaret and his team hypothesize.

It looks like Ms. Casella, now studying at Barnard College, has a bright future ahead of her!



SSTP 2017: Week 5

Week 5 kicked off with a fencing class, followed by cupcake decorating at Molly’s Cupcakes.

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Monday night, students attended an informative seminar.


Tuesday, students visited the labs of Dr. Arlene Drack in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and Dr. Hanna Stevens in the Department of Psychiatry.

Wednesday, our international students attended an International Reception.


Thursday, students attended the final session of their calligraphy and improv classes.

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Friday, students relaxed at a Kernels baseball game in Cedar Rapids.

Students spent Saturday at the Cedar Rapids Art Museum and the SkyZone Trampoline Park.

Check back for our final weekly update!

Closing Ceremony and Poster Fair

Just as the dog days of summer begin, the Secondary Student Training Program ends! Only a week remains before the 2017 SSTP cohort has to put the finishing touches on their brilliant research projects.

What have our students have been working on this summer? From epigenetics to Yelp analytics, student research projects have run the gamut of cutting-edge STEM topics. To celebrate their outstanding work, we will hold two events in their honor:

Closing Ceremony: This invite-only gala event brings together SSTP students, their families and their research groups for a farewell banquet. Proud parents get a first look at the research results, and the students get to share their findings with their peers.

Poster Fair: This one’s open to the public! On Friday, July 28th from 10:00am-12:00pm, the SSTP students will present their findings for all to see. No RSVP necessary. If you’re interested, we invite you to come to the Main Ballroom of the University of Iowa Memorial Union and discover just what SSTP is all about.


We hope to see you there!


SSTP 2017: Week 4

Week 4 kicked off with tie-dye followed by froyo with ICRU mentors.

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On Monday, students attended a seminar held by Megan Foley Nicpon, PhD, associate professor in the Counseling Psychology Program.


Tuesday, students attended seminars given by Dr. Syed Mubeen, professor in the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering department, as well as Dr. Ned Bowden, professor of Chemistry.


On Wednesday, students celebrated Zach and Mark’s birthdays!


Thursday, students attended another session of their improv and calligraphy courses.

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Friday, students relaxed at game night before heading to the Eastern Iowa Observatory and Learning Center.

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Students cooled off Saturday at Lost Island Waterpark.


Check back next week for another update!

SSTP 2017: Week 3

SSTP students started week 3 with a round of trivia and some 4th of July fireworks!

Monday, students attended a seminar given by writer Meenakshi Gigi Durham.

On the 4th, students had a break from research, and took a dip in the local pool. They enjoyed s’mores and games before heading back to the Blank Honors Center for henna tattoos.

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On Thursday, students learned new techniques from their improv and calligraphy teachers.

On Friday, kids painted mugs and bowls at Fired Up!

Saturday was an active day, starting with a visit to the Macbride Raptor Center.

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Students took a hip hop dance class in the afternoon, taught by a University of Iowa dance major.

Finally, students unwound with a yoga class in the evening.

Check back next week for another update!

SSTP 2017: Week 2

Week 2 started off with an informative research seminar.

Tuesday, students went on lab tours in the Biology and Pharmacology departments.

Students gained more practice with calligraphy and improv, then relaxed with a trip to the local mall to shop and ice skate.

On Saturday, they attended the Iowa City Jazz Festival and Riverside Theatre’s production The Bomb-Itty of Errors.

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Check back next week for another update!

SSTP 2017: Week 1

The Secondary Student Training Program kicked off this year by welcoming a group of talented, passionate students from around the world to the University of Iowa campus.

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Secondary Student Training Program Class of 2017

Students spent the week getting acquainted with the area, attending orientation with Dr. Ihrig, and taking part in calligraphy and improv classes.


First Day of Improv

On the weekend, they took a trip to the local bowling alley, and spent Saturday in Dubuque visiting the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium as well as Crystal Lake Cave.

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The second week marks the start of laboratory work for our students. Check back for weekly updates!