Buies Creek, N.C.— Rising Campbell University senior, Daniel Stovall, bends over a tray of test tubes adding drops of a specific primer to initiate a polymerase chain reaction. The chain reaction will allow Stovall to extract and isolate DNA from the plant material contained in the test tubes in order to determine the paternity of each plant.
Although the semester has ended, Stovall continues to work on research projects like this one to gain experience before attending the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF REU) this summer, an exclusive program that involves outstanding undergraduates in cutting-edge biochemical research. “NSF REU is a very prestigious, very competitive program,” said Dr. Tim Metz, chair of the Biological Sciences Department at Campbell. “It’s very difficult to get accepted into a program like this because you’re competing with students from across the nation. Daniel is at the very top of our class of rising seniors. He has been interested in research for a couple of years.”
A native of Oxford, N.C., Stovall is a biology major who would like to get a Ph.D. in cell and developmental biology to teach at a university. “I’ve always wanted to teach since I was a kid,” Stovall said. “Once I got to Campbell, my interest in teaching was really sharpened through the courses I took and the professors I had. They helped me hone in on a subject that I find really intriguing.” Stovall was president of Campbell’s Walker Biology Club during the 2007-2008 and will serve as vice president of the club for 2008-2009. He was also a representative to the Interorganizational Council student organization on campus. In addition, he is a member of the Baptist Student Union and the Pre-Med Allied Health and Epsilon Pi Eta honor societies. Stovall also tutors two courses in the Biological Sciences Department.
The goal of the NSF REU program is to interest students in careers in the biochemical sciences. A wide variety of projects are offered each summer, including research in structural biology, biophysics, proteomics, protein and nucleic acid chemistry, membrane biochemistry and molecular biology. Participants who may have little or no opportunity to participate in research in their home institutions are exposed to a wide range of career options in the biochemical sciences. Campbell junior, Meredith Greene, was also selected to attend the NSF REU program at the University of Kentucky. Stovall is the son of Brenda Stovall and Michael Stovall. He has a sister Leigh Anne, 19, who attends Vance-Granville Community College. “I’m honored and humbled to be chosen for the program,” Stovall said. Photo Copy: Campbell University student Daniel Stovall works in the biology lab to gain experience for a research program he will attend this summer.