What is the Stupka Symposium?
The Stupka Undergraduate Research Symposium came from the mind of Robert "Rob" J. Stupka III (picture to the right), an undergraduate student, in the fall of 2005. He and his fellow classmates worked to turn this idea into a reality; however, Rob would not see the symposium he worked so fervently to plan. On November 30, 2005, Rob passed away after a pedestrian-vehicle accident in front of the Molecular Biology Building. Rob envisioned the symposium to be an opportunity for undergraduate students to showcase their research and experience the need for communication in science. Rob's contagious enthusiasm drove his classmates to hold the first symposium in the spring of 2006; the enthusiasm has never gone away. Undergraduates, inspired by Rob's vision and story, have continued to lead and plan 15 consecutive, annual symposia, including this year's 15th-anniversary event.
Each year, the undergraduates who plan the symposium do their best to leave their legacy on this tradition and fulfill Rob's vision. At this year's symposium, around 40 undergraduate students are given the opportunity to present a poster showcasing their research, and five students are chosen to present their research in a keynote presentation. Additionally, the planning committee chooses two scientists from across the country and invites eight alumni to verbally present their research. The symposium has evolved to give undergraduate students the most opportunities to interact with each other and the invited speakers to discuss science- this happens through two days filled with open-house poster sessions and several interactive meals. With each symposium, we see a rise in attendance; last year, we had around 200 students, faculty, and other scientists join us.
Why should I donate?
You are reading this because we need your help. One of our greatest (both in priority and cost) expenses is associated with our outside speakers. We pay for their travel, hotel, and food costs - this comes to about $3000-$4000. In an anniversary year such as 2020, this cost is tripled. The speakers give all attendees, especially undergraduate students, the unique opportunity to learn about other topics in biochemistry that they normally wouldn't hear about in class or in their own labs, a chance to engage with the speakers over lunch and poster sessions, and the opportunity to experience the environment of a professional conference. The 2020 Symposium will feature speakers Dr. Elizabeth S. Haswell, a Professor of Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute-Simmons Faculty Scholar at Washington University in St. Louis, and Dr. Gaya Amarasinghe, a Professor of Pathology and Immunology, of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, and of Molecular Microbiology at Washington University in St. Louis. Additionally, the symposium will feature eight alumni speakers. Finally, any extra money raised through this FundISU is placed into a fund with the goal of future endowment. Thank you for your support of the symposium!
If you would like to know more about us, please visit our website: https://stupka.bb.iastate.edu/. If you have any questions, feel free to contact anyone under the "Project Owners" section on this page - our email addresses are available if you click on our pictures.