Saint Louis University

From left, Michael Meyer; Robin Hessman, director of the film
From left, Michael Meyer; Robin Hessman, director of the film My Perestroika, which was shown as part of the 2013 Atlas Week; Daniel Pike; and David Murphy, Ph.D., director of the Russian Studies Program. Pike and Meyer got the chance to dine with Hessman, an American director whose documentary dealt with five Muscovites who came of age during the fall of the Soviet Union. Submitted photo

Two Saint Louis University students have been chosen to participate in an extremely selective program this summer that will take their undergraduate experience halfway around the world.

Juniors Michael Meyer and Daniel Pike will travel to Moscow State University to take part in "Biotechnology and Russian: A Summer Science and Language Program for Undergraduates at Moscow State University." This unique program combines lab research and Russian language classes. Sponsored by the George Washington University School of Medicine, the program accepts only five students from around the country.

"The selection of these two students is a tribute to their hard work, to their professors in biology, biochemistry and Russian, and to the vitality of the programs in which they have studied," said Michael Barber, S.J., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "As the University grows in its own understanding of itself as a global university, these students, professors and programs help make that self-understanding a reality."

In order to qualify for the program, students had to have had at least a year of college Russian instruction and experience working in a laboratory setting with knowledge of biotechnology. Meyer is majoring in biology, Russian studies and international studies, and Pike's majoring in biochemistry and Russian studies.

"I am honored to have been accepted for this opportunity," said Pike. "I am very excited that it allows me to combine my majors into one program. I'm sure it will give me perspective on how countries other than the U.S. conduct research. I ultimately want to work in medical research, and I think this program will give me invaluable experience regarding the global scale of modern science."

"Through this program, I have the opportunity to not only combine my disciplines, but apply them to on-going research," Meyer said. "I could not be more honored and grateful to everyone who helped me, not only through the application process, but also in all of the coursework that prepared me for this program. It is not just a testament of Dan's and my aptitude for the program, but also a testament to the quality of education I have experienced at SLU."

Meyer and Pike will leave for Russia May 16 and will return to the United States June 8. During their stay, they will be immersed in the Russian research environment by taking part in on-going projects at a Moscow State biotechnology laboratory, as well as receiving intensive language instruction at the Russian Language Centre of Moscow State University.

Moscow State University is the largest and oldest university in Russia, with more than 47,000 students enrolled in graduate and undergraduate programs. The Russian Language Centre provides instruction to more than 700 students from 50 different countries and the university's Faculty of Biology has more than 50 research laboratories as well as shared core facilities supporting electronic microscopy, experimental animal research, sediment analysis and isotope analysis.