2012 Bowling-Jones-Russo Memorial Undergraduate Research Award

Tomás Meijome
Biology, Purdue School of Science at IUPUI
Bowling-Jones-Russo Memorial Undergraduate Research Award Winner Tomas Meijome

Tomás Meijome (center) recieves his award.

Tomás began his foray into lab research when he was accepted into the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. In the time since, he has participated in many of our IUPUI research programs, including the Diversity Scholars Research Program, the Life and Health Sciences Research Internship, the Indiana University School of Medicine Prospective Physician-Scientist Summer Research Program, Undergraduate Research Mentoring in Biological Signaling Fellowship, and the Peer-Led Team Learning Chemistry Mentoring Program. In addition, Tomas has been involved in a long list of volunteer and service activities, and has written two manuscripts for publication. One of these has been submitted to the Journal of Biological Chemistry; and the other, which he will be first author on, will be submitted in the next few weeks.

Tomás was recommended for this award by Dr. Melissa Kacena, from the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Dr. Lin Zhu, from the Department of Chemistry. Of Tomas, Dr. Kacena writes:

Tomás is without a doubt one of the best students I have trained. Tomas has spoken with me about his desire to become a clinician-scientist. To accomplish this he plans to enroll into a MD/PhD program following his undergraduate education. I believe Tomas will be successful at accomplishing this remarkable goal based on four of his qualities that I have had the pleasure of observing first-hand during his work in my laboratory: motivation, intelligence, leadership skills, and personality. Tomás is incredibly motivated and driven. Although his internship is for just 10 hours each week, he dedicates additional time to further extend his learning experiences. He always asks whether there are additional experiments he can assist with as he truly loves to learn.

Tomás has also served in multiple leadership roles including his current role as the President of the Chemistry Club and as Program Coordinator for the Chemistry Mentoring Program.  Beginning in January 2009, Tomas was selected to participate as mentor/peer leader in the Chemistry Mentoring Program. In this role, Tomás has displayed a number of valuable skills: time management, organization, and teaching -- All of which will serve him well during his present and future training and studies. The fact that as a sophomore he is teaching other undergraduates chemistry speaks to his in-depth understanding of the material. That he was then asked to become a Program Coordinator this year demonstrates he did an outstanding job as a peer leader and has provided him with additional leadership opportunities.

Finally, Tomás is well liked by his peers as well as those above and below him, as evidenced by his selection as Program Coordinator for the Chemistry Mentoring Program and his election as President of the Chemistry Club. While working in my laboratory, Tomás has had to work side-by-side with postdoctoral fellows, laboratory technicians, students and faculty members. Many of my colleagues and employees have taken me aside to comment on Tomás’s maturity, diligence, professionalism, personality, and quality of his work. I think that this last trait, personality, is what truly sets Tomás apart from other students.

This summer, Tomás is off to NYU to yet another undergraduate research program. Clearly Tomás has a broad range of expertise with a variety of undergraduate research projects; and he is certainly a most worthy recipient of the Bowling-Jones-Russo award.

This award was presented to Tomás Meijome by Elizabeth Rubens at the Center for Research and Learning Student and Faculty Recognition Celebration on Wednesday, April 18, 2012.

About the Award

The Bowling-Jones-Russo Memorial Undergraduate Research Award is conferred annually to a continuing IUPUI student who has demonstrated outstanding research in any discipline. This singular honor was established in memory of two undergraduate students and their professor, members of the IUPUI academic community who displayed, to the highest degree, the ideals of commitment to a discipline and to the concept of mentoring others on the path toward excellence. Michael Bowling, Jr., and Christopher Jones were returning students who were majoring in biology. During their enrollment at IUPUI, they became attracted to the investigation that Dr. Raymond Russo was conducting and joined his research team. While working on site in Montana, they tragically lost their lives in a traffic accident. Several months later, Dr. Russo fell ill with an affliction that would take his life a short time later. This award has been made possible by donations made in the names of these three individuals.