Elmira College students will have expanded possibilities to conduct research in the Obler Summer Research program, thanks, in part, to a recent $150,000 challenge grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, Inc.

“We are grateful to the Fred L. Emerson Foundation for their support of student research,” said Dr. Charles Lindsay, Elmira College President. “This money will help us grow a popular program that gives students hands-on experiences and helps them gain valuable skills in their academic and professional journeys.”

The grant will add to an endowment that funds the Obler Summer Research program, created in memory of Rose and Norman Obler by the couple’s children. The Oblers immigrated to Elmira, New York from Russia. After they passed away, their three children decided to honor their parents’ legacy and dedication to education by establishing a $100,000 endowment to fund student research.

For years the endowment has supported a small group of students each summer, providing them with free room and board. With the help and guidance of faculty mentors, students have conducted math and science research on a broad range of topics. Most recently, Christian Zwierlein ’23, Destiny FitzGerald ’25, Autumn Kerr ’23, and Alexis Wyckoff ’23 conducted research with Dr. Elisabeth “Abbi” Paulson, Assistant Professor of Biology, that could help uncover the relationship between certain intestinal problems - often referred to as “leaky gut”- and autism.

Thanks to additional gifts, as well as a previous $20,000 grant from the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, used to invigorate the program, the endowment now has $400,000 in funds. This will enable the program to include more students interested in a broader range of research topics.

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