Grad students Croom, Ure chosen for Ida Green Award

By Aline McKenzie 

Andrea Croom, a graduate student in clinical psychology, and Kerstin Ure, a graduate student in integrative biology, have won the Ida M. Green Award for 2010.

The award recognizes quality research as well as service to the community.

Amanda Croom (left) and Kerstin Ure, winners of the 2010 Ida Green Award, are at the center of attention at the recent presentation and reception in the A.W. Harris Faculty-Alumni Center. Present to congratulate the awardees is Rust Reid, Green estate trustee.

A native of Grove City, Pa., Ms. Croom received her bachelor’s degree in honors psychology summa cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh and her grief counseling certificate from the American Institute of Health Care Professionals.

“I view Andrea as the best graduate student I have mentored over the past 22 years,” said Dr. Deborah Wiebe, professor of psychiatry and clinical sciences, and Ms. Croom’s adviser.

In addition to displaying stellar research and teaching skills, Dr. Wiebe said, Ms. Croom founded a Diversity Club within the division of psychology that was cited as a particular strength in a recent accreditation review of the doctoral training program.

“I keep thinking there must be more than one of her,” Dr. Wiebe said. “I want to ask her mother if there’s an identical twin around.”

A native of Silver Lake, Kan., Ms. Ure received her bachelor’s degree from Union University in Jackson, Tenn.

Dr. Jenny Hsieh, assistant professor of molecular biology and Ms. Ure’s adviser, called her a “remarkable gem.”

“She single-handedly set up our rodent model of epilepsy, and she co-authored an article in the Journal of Neuroscience in her first year,” Dr. Hsieh said. “She just seems to have this natural ability to balance her time and get everything done in the lab.”

In addition, Ms. Ure took charge of the Graduate Student Organization’s recruitment drive two years in a row and has been active in United to Serve, the health fair for local residents that is staffed by students, faculty members and staff members.

In accepting the award, she said she already had an interest in science in high school when a debate judge told her that women couldn’t do science because their brains “weren’t wired correctly,” she said.

“As my mom will tell you, the best way to get me to do something is to make me angry, so I thank that man, wherever he is now, because if he hadn’t hacked me off, I wouldn’t have accomplished this,” she said. “I decided right there that I was going to prove this person wrong.”

Ms. Croom studies how families work together to manage chronic illnesses such as type 1 diabetes.

“Working with individuals and families who are coping with a chronic or terminal illness, you learn a lot about resilience, strength and what really matters to people,” she said.

Each Ida M. Green Award winner was presented with a certificate and $2,000 by Dr. Kern Wildenthal, president of Southwestern Medical Foundation, and Rust Reid, trustee of the Cecil and Ida Green Foundation, at a reception held recently at the A.W. Harris Faculty-Alumni Center.

The award was established by Southwestern Medical Foundation in honor of Mrs. Green. Her husband, Cecil Green, worked at General Electric and later co-founded Texas Instruments. Mrs. Green died in 1986 and Mr. Green in 2003.

Mrs. Green provided unrestricted gifts to many community organizations, including a major bequest to the foundation.