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September 25, 2009

Media Contact: Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
News and Information
The University of Texas at Tyler

UT Tyler Helps Student Realize Her Potential


Laura Strube of Tyler, formerly of Mesquite and Winnsboro, has the determination to go far. Her research interests stem from her love of numbers, abstract algebra and cellular biology.

And she almost didn’t attend college. As a high school senior, Strube wasn’t sure higher education was for her.

“I was determined not to blindly follow the status quo. I only wanted to go to college if I knew what I was going to study,” said Strube, a senior at The University of Texas at Tyler who holds a 4.0 GPA. Six years after her high school graduation, she decided to go back to school to study mathematics.

“I wasn’t confident of my abilities, and I wanted to stay close to home, so I applied to smaller, local universities,” she said. “UT Tyler offered me the Regents Scholarship, which was incredibly exciting. It has been a wonderful experience.”

Over the last five years, she has transformed into a confident and talented student at UT Tyler with clear goals in mind, while double-majoring in both math and biology.

Strube is an active member of the UT Tyler Math Club, having served as its vice president and president, and also a member of the Tri Beta, Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Societies. In 2008, she received the Outstanding Student in Biochemistry Award.

Last spring, Strube was named the university’s fifth Cranford Scholar, an honor given each year to an outstanding math student and named after retired UT Tyler Department of Mathematics chair, Dr. Robert Cranford.

“Dr. Cranford was the first member of the math faculty I spoke with and one of the first contacts I had at UT Tyler,” Strube recalled. “Because I wasn’t able to attend freshman orientation, I was told to meet with him. He sat and talked to me about how he enjoyed math and what I could do with the major. Remembering that day when I was an unsure, nervous freshman made receiving an award named for Dr. Cranford very significant to me.”

This summer, Strube attended Cornell University’s Summer Math Institute, a program designed to prepare students for the rigors of graduate school. She, along with 12 other students from across America, came together to study mathematics and work on various research projects.

“I wanted the opportunity to study in an academic environment outside of UT Tyler. When you attend a smaller and relatively young university, you wonder how your experience measures up, especially if you want to continue on to graduate school. The program was a confidence-building experience,” she said. “Through it I realized the high quality of the faculty here at UT Tyler. The level of instruction and one-on-one input I’ve received is amazing. I have been given the foundation I need to do well.”

Strube advises current UT Tyler Patriots to get to know their professors outside of class.

“One of the most valuable aspects of the college experience is the opportunity to talk with other people about what you are studying,” Strube said. “It gives you a bigger perspective of the academic community.”

Upon graduating, she plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career in biotechnology or academia. Her hobbies include gardening and enjoying the outdoors.

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 90 undergraduate and graduate degrees are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of more than 6,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.


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