Sierra Mosticone-Wangensteen '13
Randolph-Macon College student Sierra Mosticone-Wangensteen ’13
has been awarded a Victoria Finnerty Travel Award.
Finnerty, who died in 2011, was a long-time member of the Genetics Society of America
and served the Drosophila community and the Genetics community at large in many
capacities. The award will support travel costs so that Mosticone-Wangensteen can
present her work at the 2013 Drosophila Research Conference, which will take place
April 3-7 in Washington, D.C.
The Charlottesville, Virginia native, with majors in
biology and psychology, has been
researching the different components of the cell signaling pathway of Bcr-Abl
mutation, which causes Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia in humans. Mosticone-Wangensteen
began her research in summer 2012, as part of R-MC’s SURF
(Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program. She is conducting research
under the guidance of Biology Professor Traci Stevens.
“I applied to the SURF program because I was really interested in conducting research,
and it seemed like a great opportunity to work closely with Professor Stevens,”
she says. “Because of SURF I was able to conduct intensive research, and that helped
me decide that I do indeed want to pursue research as a career.”
“Sierra made a tremendous amount of progress on her research project during SURF
and is continuing her studies as a biology capstone project this year,” says Stevens.
“She recently made the decision to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences, and
this research experience is giving her the skills needed to be successful in graduate
school. She is the first student from my laboratory who has received a travel award
for a national conference. Attendance at this conference will be a great opportunity
for Sierra to learn more about potential areas of research interests for her and
for her to interact with current graduate students.”
Mosticone-Wangensteen, who serves as captain of
R-MC’s equestrian team, is thrilled about the Victoria Finnerty award.
“This is an amazing opportunity that not all undergraduates get, so I am very thankful,”
SURF offers Randolph-Macon College students the
unique opportunity to conduct ten weeks of full-time, original research during the
summer months, under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Like professional scientists
and scholars, Randolph-Macon students apply to the SURF program by writing a proposal
and a request for grant money to fund their undergraduate research project. If the
project is approved, SURF participants receive a modest stipend as well as free
At the conclusion of the SURF program each year,
students present their research in a conference keynoted by an esteemed
academic or other nationally recognized leader. Students also submit a final written
report and are encouraged to present their findings at a professional meeting in
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