Student Spotlight: Clara Sun

Clara Sun receives science research award


Clara Sun stands next to her mentor Dr. Blythe Janowiak, who guided Sun through the STARS program.

Participating in the summer Students and Teachers as Research Scientist (STARS) program, junior Clara Sun received the science research award for her science project entitled “The Comparison of Nutrient and Growth Requirements between Glutathione-Deficient and Wild Type Group B Streptococcus.”

“I applied for the STARS program in March when I was a sophomore, and I received feedback  that I got in in April. I had heard about the program through other people who have been in the STARS program before,” Sun said.

The STARS program was held at SLUH June 9-July 18.

“I wanted to to see if I would like science and pursue a career similar. I also did it for the experience,” Sun said.

Sun’s mentor, Dr. Blythe Janowiak, is an assistant professor in Biology at SLUH.

“I gave Clara a small project that is a piece of a larger ongoing project involving the importance of glutathione synthesis in Group B Streptococcus. Clara’s project focused on characterizing the differences of growth requirements between strains of Group B Streptococcus that could and couldn’t make glutathione, a potent antioxidant important in fighting the host immune response during an infection,” Janowiak said.

Janowiak guided Sun throughout the project.

“I discussed the project’s goals, methods, and significance with her, and I provided some background reading and a sample STARS research paper. When she was ready to start in the lab, I paired her up with one of my undergraduate research students, and had them work together to achieve the project’s goals,” Janowiak said.

To receive the award, Sun wrote a research paper, and the professors graded them.

“The professors divided up the grading, and they picked the best one overall in the specific science category. It was based on how well it was written,” Sun said.

There were only 31 winners selected out of the 88 students who participated.

At the awards ceremony, Clara Sun stands with fellow STARS participants.

At the awards ceremony, Clara Sun stands with fellow STARS participants.

“Clara’s paper won a very prestigious award, and I can’t be more proud,” Janowiak said.

An awards ceremony will be held on Oct. 6 for the winners.

“It was a good experience because I worked in a research lab, wrote a research paper and met a lot of different people,” Sun said.

Although Sun is done with the STARS program, she will continue to use her completed project this semester.

“I am thinking about entering it into the Honors Science Fair because it is already completed and approved,” Sun said.