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NMSU senior heads to New Orleans, Boston for summer programs

New Mexico State University senior Kaitlyn Norman is gearing up for a busy summer with plans to head to New Orleans May 20 to participate in the 2011 American Society of Microbiology General Meeting and then spend the summer in Boston to conduct research through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program.



New Mexico State University senior Kaitlyn Norman will travel to New Orleans May 20 to participate in the 2011 American Society of Microbiology General Meeting before heading to Boston May 31 to conduct research through the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Exceptional Research Opportunities Program. (NMSU photo by Darren Phillips)

Norman, who is triple-majoring in animal science, microbiology and biology has been an HHMI scholar for three years. She was one of 80 students nominated at NMSU for the EXROP summer program and will be presenting her research abstract, accepted by the American Society of Microbiology, in poster format at the New Orleans conference.

"I feel really lucky to have these excellent opportunities," Norman said. "I didn't expect to be doing any of this when I started college. These will be good experiences for my graduate studies and career."

The American Society of Microbiology poster presentation is one of the largest conferences in the country with 18,000 to 20,000 people attending each year. Norman will showcase research she has been working on since last summer on calf health and the existence of microbes in the cows' rumen, a chamber of the stomach, and the changes that take place in the rumen within the first year of life.

On May 31, Norman will travel to Boston and spend 10 weeks working under professor James Collins at Boston University, assisting in his laboratory. Norman will study synthetic antibiotics and their effects on different bacteria.

"I'm excited to learn and work in a field I am not familiar with," Norman said. "I'm looking forward to conducting research and be in a beautiful, historic city like Boston."

Norman has been working for the past three years with Animal and Range Sciences Associate Professor Shanna Ivey, assisting graduate students with everyday duties. She is a member of Pi Beta Phi sorority and volunteers with the Therapeutic Riding Association.

"Kaitlyn is very mature student," Ivey said. "She's growing as a scientist and has a bright future."

Norman will graduate next May and plans to attend graduate school and obtain her Ph.D. in microbiology and bacterial pathogens.