Fordham University will hold the 2007 Calder Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium in Flom Auditorium on the Rose Hill campus at 9 a.m. on August 16 that will feature a keynote address by Sarwan Dhir, Ph.D., program director of the Center for Biotechnology at Fort Valley State University.

The 12-week Calder Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which has been held at Fordham’s Louis J. Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk since 1998, is a highly selective program that attracts students from across the country to conduct research under the mentorship of Fordham ecology faculty members.

The summer program, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site Program, is under the direction of John Wehr, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the Calder Center, and James Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of biology.

“The symposium is the culminating experience for these students, who come to our field station with great enthusiasm but often limited opportunities to conduct research projects of their own interest and design,” Wehr said. “Our program is hands-on learning for an entire summer. We have an excellent faculty, so it’s an amazing opportunity and our students really take advantage of the time they spend here. By the end of the summer, their hard work results in some excellent science. Some of their findings may also end up in peer-reviewed scientific publications—a great start to a young person’s scientific career. You can clearly see success and confidence in their talks in August.”

Dhir, the keynote speaker, has hosted a similar program at the Center for Biotechnology at Fort Valley State since 2001. Dhir, whose research interests focus on genetic engineering of plants for vaccine production, medicinal plant genetic engineering and biodegradable thermoplastic production, was the recipient of the 2005 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

As part of Fordham’s program, students have access to study sites at the station and nearby ecosystems, such as the Hudson River, the Catskill Mountains and Black Rock Forest. This year, nine students from institutions ranging from Texas A&M University in College Station, Tex., to Medger Evers College in Brooklyn will present their research findings at the daylong symposium.