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Mike RuygrokMike Ruygrok

Mike Ruygrok: Here's to your health.

When it comes to summertime employment opportunities, some jobs have more potential than others. Sure, you could spend the summer perfecting your mowing technique - but wouldn't you rather be perfecting your research techniques instead?

If the latter idea sounds appealing, you should check out our Science Collaborative Research Program (SCRP). Working with a dedicated faculty mentor, you'll be able to study everything from the potential of cancer-fighting drugs to the properties of metallic glass. And here's the best part: You'll receive $3,450 to be a full-time researcher over a nine-week period, freeing you up to follow your dreams.

Senior Mike Ruygrok's SCRP grant gave him a chance to study the effects of the common herbicide 2, 4, D on living organisms. Ruygrok examined frog eggs and determined that 2, 4, D degrades a protein that's essential to the maturation of oocytes. It's part of a continuing study initiated by Professor Barbara Stebbins-Boaz, who's been investigating the effects of 2, 4, D with students the past several years. "She was around all summer, and she was always there when I had questions," says Ruygrok, a biology major from Denver, Colo. "But as an advisor, she was hands-off. It was cool to be able to work independently."

Ruygrok, who's pursuing the matter further for his senior seminar, says the study of 2, 4, D is more than an opportunity to get published; it's a chance to delve into serious issues related to the controversial herbicide. "If 2, 4, D has that kind of influence on frog eggs, what is it doing to our drinking water?" Ruygrok asks. "Maybe this study will stimulate a little more publicity and interest, and maybe we can control its use a little bit."

After graduating in the spring, Ruygrok plans to attend medical school. He wants to save lives as a trauma surgeon - and he says his SCRP experience has demonstrated the power of knowledge in action. "Research has shown me how you can apply what you learn in class and in textbooks to real life," says Ruygrok. "I want to use my interest in science to help people."