USA TODAY has announced the selection of Colorado State University senior Sarah Smith to the 2007 All-USA College Academic Second Team. Smith is student in the Department of Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences (ERHS) at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Each year, USA TODAY honors up to 60 outstanding college students from four-year colleges across the United States.
This year's team members were chosen from almost 600 students nationwide who were nominated for the honor by their colleges and chosen in a two-step process by judges who considered academics, breadth and depth of activities and leadership, and most significant, how they have extended their academic skills beyond the classroom, according to the USA today announcement.
Smith, a CSU senior studying environmental health, with a goal of pursuing both a doctor of veterinary medicine degree and an advanced degree in epidemiology, conducted a study in South Africa in the summer of 2006, linking declining numbers of a marmot-sized animal, the rock hyrax, to a rare type of tuberculosis.
"During Sarah's research internship with the Cape Leopard Trust in the Cederberg area of South Africa, she discovered a form of mycobacterium tuberculosis complex found only once in the wild, in 1954. This surprising discovery could have a significant impact on not only the primary subjects of the study, the rock hyrax, but also on leopards, black eagles, local livestock, and the highly susceptible HIV-positive human populations who live in close proximity to the TB-infected rock hyrax," wrote Erin K. Reichert, Undergraduate Coordinator for ERHS, who nominated Smith for the All-USA College Academic Team.
Dr. John Walrond, an Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State, and Quinton Martins, project manager with The Cape Leopard Trust, also wrote letters recommending Smith for the honor.
"I believe that Sarah's extraordinary academic abilities, dedication to improving human and animal health, and willingness to educate others of her findings make Sarah an outstanding candidate for the USA TODAY 2007 All-USA College Academic Team," noted Dr. Walrond. "Sarah has been an exemplary student and shows great potential as a leader. She has tremendous energy and is always willing to assist where possible. Her success on the project is largely due to her being innovative, positive, extremely dedicated and positively buoyant.”
Smith will be visiting South Africa again in March to spend six weeks working with The Cape Leopard Trust.