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JSU Students Hear Nobel Prize Winners

By Sherry Kughn
JSU News Bureau

11 March 2005 — Jacksonville State University science majors Kristin Williams and Bernice Moser recently returned from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where they heard lectures by winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in science. They took part in a conference that allowed outstanding students and the prize winners to interact.

The program, called “A Gathering of Nobel Laureates: Science for the 21st Century,” was sponsored by the Charlotte Research Institute and The Echo Foundation.

One hundred fifty students were chosen from throughout the nation to hear lectures by the outstanding scientists. The students also engaged in panel discussions with the Nobel laureates and shared one-on-one time.

Kristin Williams

Mrs. Williams, as a child growing up in Talladega, wanted to be an astronaut. Her parents encouraged scientific interests among all their children, says Mrs. Williams. Her mother, Sally Smith, is a veterinarian and her father, Tim, is business manager of the family’s clinic.

“They would take us children out to watch meteor showers,” said Mrs. Williams. “Every few years, too, they would take us to the Space Center.”

Mrs. Williams said she was thrilled when two of her science professors, Dr. Jan Gryko and Dr. Nouredine Zetelli, approached her about the possibility of attending the conference. She was as much thrilled for them when she was chosen as she was for herself.

“I have an interest in the subject of science,” she said, “more than just passing tests.”

Mrs. Williams is married to Matt Williams of Talladega, and they have a daughter.

Bernice Moser

Mrs. Moser grew up wanting to be a pediatrician, but a JSU professor changed her mind.

“When I came to JSU from Hamilton, Dr. James Rayburn talked to me about his work in toxicology,” said Mrs. Moser. “His work looks at the environmental and developmental toxins. I realized this was something I wanted to do as well.”

Her inspiration for pursuing a degree in science was her childhood play in the forest. She and her grandfather often hunted and fished. He instructed her about plants and animals and impressed upon her a love for the environment.

The head of JSU's biology department, Dr. Frank Romano, suggested to Mrs. Moser that she attend the conference. He knew that, in the past, her research projects have earned her poster presentations at the Regional Southeastern Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. She has also placed in various competitions there.

“When I found out I was really going, I was shocked,” said Ms. Moser

Mrs. Moser is married to Stephen Moser and lives in Jacksonville. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in biology and a doctorate in toxicology.

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