Luther senior Anna Burke earns Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence

Luther College senior Anna Burke of Postville, Iowa, earned the Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Student Research presented by the North Central District of the Beta Beta Beta Honor Society.  

Burke, the daughter of Rita and Lowell Lyngaas of Postville and Scott Burke of Elgin, Iowa, is majoring in biology at Luther. She is a 2011 graduate of Valley Community High School.

"At Luther, we strive to help students build a scholarly foundation through engaging in substantive collaborative research," said Kevin Kraus, Luther College vice president for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. "By producing original scholarship and earning the Brooks Award, Anna has reinforced that collaboration is key to success in scholarly research."

She was selected for this award after receiving the first place score for her oral presentation at the Annual Meeting of the Iowa Academy of Science, April 17-18. In her talk, "Vascular plant diversity in woodland seeps of Winneshiek County," she discussed the results of research she conducted with Beth Lynch, Luther associate professor of biology, as part of her senior project in biology. The project was funded in part by a grant from the Iowa Science Foundation.

"Biology at Luther is great!" Burke said. "A big part of the experience is that the faculty are excited to help students learn and research things that interest them! In addition to providing us with great resources, they are always pushing us to learn and explore the different opportunities that are offered to us!"

Thanks in part to this accomplishment, Burke was recently hired by Ducks Unlimited to serve as a consultant for wetland conservation projects in Minnesota.

Established by the founder of Beta Beta Beta, the National Biological Honor Society, the Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Student Research was originally given to the TriBeta student who wrote the winning essay on a theme designated by an award committee. The award grew into an award honoring undergraduate achievement in biological research, and has become even more highly valued by TriBeta students.

The Brooks Award is given annually at district conventions and biennially at national conventions. Eligible research is judged by a panel of at least three professional scientists appointed by the district director for district meetings and the director of paper sessions for national meetings. Criteria for the basis of the award includes: degree of originality of the project, organization of the report, evidence of background knowledge of the project and clarity of presentation.