This is a blog about Wyoming EPSCoR, the projects we do and the grants we are working on. From student internship programs, to grant work, to research, we're sharing our news and stories for our community to read and share. Thank you for visiting our site!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Wrapped up in SRAP: Wyoming EPSCoR's Summer Research Apprentice Program Coordinator
Earlier this fall we started a series of blogs about the EPSCoR office. The follow is part three of the series and focuses on SRAP Coordinator Lisa Abeyta.
Lisa Abeyta, SRAP Coordinator
The Summer Research Apprentices Program
(SRAP) is one of Wyoming EPSCoR’s longest and most well-known outreach
programs. SRAP Coordinator, Lisa Abeyta, has an attachment to the program, not
only because of the opportunities it offers high school students, but also
because six years ago, she was a student in the program.
“It’s a different side of things being the
coordinator because I was a student, then I was a staff member and now I’m
planning everything,” Lisa says. “It’s kind of cool that I get to see that
Lisa had already been accepted to the
University of Wyoming when she participated in the program. She worked in the
Botany Department under Dr. Steve Jackson and with then post-doc Tom Minckley
during her seven week stay (Minckley is now an associate professor and mentors
a SRAP student every summer). While scientifically Lisa focused on comparing
vegetation in two lakes by studying lake cores, personally it was the beginning
of life away from home.
“SRAP was a transition stage for me so I
could get my homesickness out of the way,” Lisa says. “I’m very close to my
Despite her closeness with her family, Lisa
wanted to go to college away from her hometown of Denver. She was a
first-generation college-bound student and it had always been one of her dreams
to go to a state university. She decided that moving away from home would help her
stay motivated and focused on her studies.
“I needed a change of scenery,” Lisa said.
For many participants in the program, this is
a familiar situation and one of the goals of SRAP is to help future
college-bound students transition from high school to university. While
students may not end up going into the specific field they work in during the
program, they still gain valuable research experience as well as experience
living on a college campus.
For Lisa, her experience in SRAP gave her a
step-up for beginning a successful college career.She began her undergraduate degree as a
nursing major before switching to psychology.
“When I took psychology 1,000, I was just so
intrigued by the brain and that’s just what kept me going,” Lisa says. “I
didn’t want to do clinical. I wanted to learn about people and how they act and
why they act the way they do. There is a social aspect of it and that’s what
really drew me in.”
For two years of her undergraduate
experience, Lisa worked as a SRAP staff member helping high school students
through their own transition stages. Last year, Lisa took over the coordinator
position and loves the new experiences it has offered.
“I like knowing all the students’ names
before I meet them and then when I meet them I get to guess who they are,” Lisa
says. “And it’s so nice to just finally see them, finally meet them after
having their paperwork for three months.”
Lisa’s energy, creativity and multi-angle
perspective about the program really bring it to life and help students feel
comfortable connecting with each other and with their mentors. The program aims
to build community, and Lisa plans activities that bring each SRAP group
“I really believe in this program,” Lisa
says. “I really believe that what we have to offer can really benefit students
and their families. Once a student comes through the program, I’m always
Outside SRAP and EPSCoR, Lisa enjoys spending
time outdoors. In the summer she likes to bike around Laramie or spend time
fishing, camping and hiking in the Snowy Range Mountains and at Vedauwoo.