Category: Scholarship

Meet Tessa Steenwinkel…

By Amy Karagiannakis

Within one year of undergraduate research at Michigan Tech, Tessa Steenwinkel went from assisting in Dr. Thomas Werner’s genetics lab to co-authoring his book. Tessa started at Michigan Tech in the fall of 2017. She is majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology-Biological Sciences with a minor in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Originally from the Netherlands, Tessa has lived in the United States since she was 12 years old. Growing up with a brother who has Down Syndrome drew Tessa to science at a very young age. Her desire to explain to her peers why and how her brother was different led to a later interest in fertility and early development.

She met Dr. Werner as a high school student visiting Tech during Preview Day weekend. He opened up his genetics lab for tours, and Tessa knew then that she wanted to be a part of his research team. She followed up the campus visit with an email to Dr. Werner requesting a copy of his book and inquired as to if there was possibly an opening on his research team for the 2017-18 academic year. Tessa has been part of Dr. Werner’s research team since her first day on campus as a husky.

She started in the fall of 2017 washing lab equipment, quickly transitioned to a research assistant, and then laboratory manager. Biologists use fruit flies to study wing spots, metabolism, and aging. This is important because the same genes and major metabolic pathways in fruit flies affect cancer and other diseases in humans. Dr. Werner’s book, Drosophilids of the Midwest and Northeast, is a field guide to the drosophilid species of fruit flies in the region that provides some insight into their biology and importance. His intention was to introduce researchers, teachers, and young students to these amazing flies and the diversity of their potential use in research. That’s where Tessa’s contribution to the book comes in.

From left to right: Thomas Werner, Tessa Steenwinkel, and John Jaenike

The second version of Werner’s book was published in 2018 with an interesting new chapter. Tessa wrote a children’s bedtime story about fruit flies that is now included at the end of the book. Now, rather than just being a scientific field guide, Drosophilids of the Midwest and Northeast includes a significant outreach component that hopefully speaks to young children and gets them excited about science and nature. The book and a beautiful poster can be downloaded for free here.

Tessa became the first recipient of the Soyring Foundation Scholarship last Spring. John Soyring, Tech alumnus and Pavlis Honors College External Advisory Board member, established the new scholarship through a generous gift that awards one deserving student $1000 each year. The scholarship is available exclusively to Pavlis Honors students expressing interest in research and innovation related to water quality management, renewable energy, or solutions to prevent and cure cancer. Tessa was awarded the scholarship this past fall semester for her research in Dr. Werner’s lab.

Tessa is a Pavlis Honors student in the Research Scholars pathway. Last summer, Tessa completed her immersion experience here at Tech on a research project that focused on the evolution of color patterns in animals. Researchers study this because the genes that control the pigmentation are also some of the key players in cancer growth. The focus of Tessa’s research this past summer was to perform transgenics, where they inserted pieces of foreign DNA into fruit fly embryos in order to control those genes. This would give them real causative evidence that these genes play a role in pigmentation in fruit flies.

This past fall, Tessa became the first undergrad in Dr. Werner’s lab to start her own research. She was given the autonomy to develop and set up the project for this academic year herself. Over the last few decades, we have seen a dramatic increase in diseases such as obesity and diabetes, which have long been linked to misregulation of what is known as the metabolic mTOR pathway. Currently, Tessa is looking at four diverse fruit fly species all with their own feeding patterns and preferences and the effect of different types of nutrition on their fecundity (number of offspring) and life expectancy.

When Tessa is not hard at work in Dr. Werner’s genetics lab, you can probably find her at Mont Ripley teaching local elementary school kids to ski, or in her dorm with a book or a knitting project and some tea. Tessa also enjoys playing tennis with the Michigan Tech Tennis Club and going on walks along the Portage.

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Meet Christine Wood…

By Amy Karagiannakis

Christine Wood

Christine Wood has always felt passionate about the environment and public well-being. Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech is allowing her to turn that passion into a career. Improving the relationship between humans and the environment has become Christine’s primary goal. Christine grew up in East Lansing, MI and began her college experience at Olivet College located in south central Michigan. As part of the transfer program, she transferred to Michigan Tech in the fall of 2016 to major in Environmental Engineering. Christine became involved in the Society of Women’s Engineers and the Young Women Leaders Program (YWLP). YWLP is unique to Tech and facilitated through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. A mentoring program, YWLP pairs Michigan Tech female undergraduate volunteers with local middle school girls. Through YWLP, Christine continues to empower young girls to set goals, build positive self-esteem, and develop valuable communication and leadership skills.

Christine with her "little" from YWLP
Christine with her “little” from YWLP

After spending a semester at Tech, Christine joined the Pavlis Honors College as part of the Custom Pathway. She quickly started taking on more leadership roles within the Pavlis community as a peer mentor and joined the Honors Ambassadors group in the spring of 2017. This past academic year Christine has led the bi-weekly Ambassador meetings and helped develop and implement several College events. Christine leads through example and consistently goes above and beyond to engage with students on a meaningful level. Her commitment to Pavlis and the campus community is why Christine was awarded the annual Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship this month. This prestigious scholarship is awarded to one Honors student annually in the amount of $1,000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to Pavlis programs and pathways. Pavlis students are nominated from within the department by faculty and staff, but ultimately selected by the dean. “Christine commits herself deeply to everything she does. As a peer mentor in our first semester course, she worked diligently to create a truly welcoming and, yet, challenging environment for our students—really pushing them to learn and grow.” shared Lorelle Meadows, Pavlis Honors College dean.

Christine presenting at World Water Day
Christine presenting at World Water Day

Christine is expected to graduate with her BS in Environmental Engineering in the fall of 2018, but plans to stay in Houghton to complete her MS in Environmental Engineering through Tech’s accelerated master’s degree program. Her ultimate goal is to work in wastewater consulting within the state of Michigan. Christine interned with the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Charlotte, MI and the Wastewater Department for Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber in Lansing, MI which both helped her realize her desire to focus on water and wastewater processing. Christine is currently involved in a research study which will serve as her honors project component entitled Reduction of Stream Erosion through Air Injection. Now president of the Chi Epsilon Civil and Environmental Engineering Honors Society, Christine had to initially obtain signatures from professors within her department for induction. This is how she became involved with Dr. Brian Barkdoll and his research regarding the prevention of erosion around bridges. While this research may deviate slightly from Christine’s wastewater focus, she has found the experience very rewarding. Applying knowledge and general understanding of how the natural environment functions to real-world problems is valuable to any student considering a career in consulting.

Christine enjoys being active with softball, volleyball, running, and ultimate frisbee. She also enjoys attending and watching sporting events, especially MTU Hockey. Christine is an avid reader and will often spend her free time researching interesting facts about wastewater. Other things you can find Christine doing is socializing with animals, playing games and other activities with her friends.

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Summer Study Abroad in Ireland

cork-kinsale-1The University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) Honors College is facilitating a study abroad this summer in Cork, Ireland. Courses through the University College-Cork will focus on Irish history and culture and will be six credits. Over a four-week period students will visit, Limerick, Galway, Belfast, Trinity University in Dublin, and the famous Cliffs of Moher. In-state tuition rates will apply for all students, and scholarships are available. The application can be found here. This study abroad opportunity is exclusively available to honors students. If you have questions about the program, costs, or the application, please contact John Herron (herronj@umkc.edu).

Please note that this study abroad does not fulfill the immersion experience requirements for the Pavlis Honors College as is. Immersion experiences must identify an opportunity, solve a problem, or address an issue. Michigan Tech students interested in studying abroad through programs facilitated by other universities should contact the office of International Programs and Services in advance to discuss the international credit process. Students may email ips@mtu.edu or call 906-487-2160 to schedule an appointment.

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Summer DC Internships

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The Fund for American Studies is currently accepting applications for full scholarships to attend Summer 2018 programs in Washington, D.C. through their Leadership Scholars Program.

The Institutes are eight week summer academic internship programs sponsored by The Fund for American Studies in partnership with George Mason University. The programs offer undergraduate students a first-hand look at the U.S. political system through:

  • An internship placement
  • Courses for credit in economics and government
  • Exclusive lectures, briefings and professional development seminars
  • Housing in the heart of Washington, DC

Pavlis Honors College students may receive priority admission and scholarship consideration along with other NCHC members. You are encouraged to apply by the priority deadline of February 7, 2018.

The goal of these programs is to help students close the gap between theory and practice by developing skills to work on today’s most pressing global and domestic policy issues. The Fund for American Studies is committed to providing an educational experience that will prepare students for a successful career in domestic, economic, or foreign policy and beyond.

Scholarship funding is still available and students should apply by the final deadline of March 13, 2018. Visit www.DCinternships.org for more information on admission and program requirements.

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NOAA Undergraduate Scholarship Opportunities

noaascholarshiprecipientsThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently announced the availability of scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in disciplines related to oceanic and atmospheric science, research, or technology, and supportive of the purposes of NOAA’s programs and mission. Over 100 students are selected each year for participation in the Ernest F. Hollings (Hollings) and Educational Partnership Program (EPP) scholarship programs. These scholarships include support for two years of undergraduate study and summer internship opportunities at NOAA facilities across the country.

For information on program benefits and how to apply, visit the following web sites:

Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/eppscholarship

Application Deadline:  January 31, 2018

Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/hollings

Application Deadline: January 31, 2018

Eligibility Requirements:

  • US Citizen
  • 3.0 GPA (Hollings) or 3.2 GPA (EPP)
  • Full-time second year student at an accredited four-year undergraduate program or third year student at a five-year undergraduate program
  • Majoring in NOAA mission disciplines, including but not limited to: atmospheric science, biology, cartography, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, environmental science, geodesy, geography, marine science, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography, physical science, photogrammetry, physics, etc.
  • Enrolled at a Minority Serving Institution (EPP Scholarship only)

For further information, contact the Office of Education Scholarship Programs at: StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov or (301) 628-2913.

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PHC Students Will Receive Priority Admission and Scholarship Consideration for DC Internships

dcinternships

The Fund for American Studies is currently accepting applications for the Fall 2017 Capital Semester and the Fall 2017 Leadership and the American Presidency programs in Washington, D.C.

Both offer undergraduate students a first-hand look at international affairs and public policy through:
•An internship placement in foreign affairs or public policy
•A full time course load in international economics and government
•Exclusive lectures, briefings and professional development seminars
•Housing just steps from the Supreme Court, Library of Congress and U.S. Capitol building

Students will spend a semester immersed in today’s foreign, domestic, and economic policy. Pavlis Honors College students will receive priority admission and scholarship consideration along with other NCHC members.

These academic internship programs are sponsored by The Fund for American Studies, in partnership with George Mason University.

The goal of these programs is to help students close the gap between theory and practice by developing skills to work on today’s most pressing global and domestic policy issues. The Fund for American Studies is committed to providing an educational experience that will prepare students for a successful career in domestic, economic, or foreign policy and beyond.

Scholarship funding is still available and students should apply by the final deadline of June 1, 2017. Visit www.DCinternships.org/CS for more information on admission and program requirements.

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PHC Students Shine at the 23rd Annual Leadership Awards Ceremony

By Amy Karagiannakis

The 23rd Annual Student Leadership Awards were held Friday in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The Student Leadership Awards celebrate and reward the individual and group efforts of students involved in organizations across campus. There are awards for student employees, student organizations, programs and more. Among the fourteen awards that were presented at this year’s ceremony, four of the winners were Pavlis Honors College students.

Magann Dykema was presented with the Pavlis Honors College Departmental Scholar Award. Dean Lorelle Meadows nominated Magann to represent the PHC and to be considered for the Provost’s Award for Scholarship. Magann is an amazing asset to the PHC, not only by academic standards, but also for her motivation, creativity, and communication skills. Magann serves as the Operations Coordinator for The Alley, Michigan Tech’s new makerspace.

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Dykema in The Alley with Milwaukee Tool representatives that presented donations to the new makerspace.

Kemin Fena was awarded Exceptional Community Service Project for her Your Story, Our Story project. This was in collaboration with Right Start UP and was made possible through help from Fena and other motivated community members that invested significant time and effort. Fena served as Project Manager for Your Story, Our Story under the direction of the Project Director and Tech instructor, Dr. Sara Thiam.

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Fena’s Your Story, Our Story project served as her honors project for the PHC.

Erin Richie was presented with the Vice President for Student Affairs and Advancement Award for Service. This award is designed to recognize students demonstrating leadership, engagement in community, and a commitment to service. Erin was and continues to be involved in service projects abroad and within the community. Richie was also recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship for her commitment to recruiting and outreach efforts as an Honors Ambassador.

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Richie with children in a local Ghanaian community where she spent her five-week immersion experience for the PHC Global Leadership Pathway.

Brad Turner was presented with the Clair M. Donovan Award. This award recognizes a Michigan Tech faculty or staff member, student, or an exceptional community member who has contributed the most outstanding service during the preceding year.  This award is in honor of Clair M. Donovan, who made immeasurable contributions to Michigan Tech through his service as national president of Blue Key, as an alumnus, and as a civil leader. Turner oversaw the design and development of the makerspace which was converted from Tech’s old bowling alley in the basement of the MUB. He currently serves as Alley Director. As a University Innovation Fellow, Turner creates opportunities for students across campus to engage in more activities and events that inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

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Turner works part-time as a product designer for Handshake, headquartered in San Francisco. He will be moving into a full time position upon his graduation at the end of this month.

The Undergraduate Research Symposium winners were also recognized at Friday’s Award ceremony. Stephanie Dietrich, Exercise Science major, took first place for her research, Subjective and Objective Assessments of Sleep Differ in male and Female Collegiate Athletes. Brain Flanagan, Computer Engineering major, placed second for his research entitled, The Effects of Uncertain Labels on Damage Assessment in Remotely Sensed Images. Third place was awarded to Drew Hanover, Mechanical Engineering major, for Building-to-Grid Predictive Power Flow Control for Demand Response and Demand Flexibility Programs.

The Pavlis Honors College would like to recognize all Honors student nominees: Sam Casey, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Exceptional Leadership in Student Governance, Rachel Chard, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership, Rachel Kolb, nominated for the President’s Award for Leadership and Student Employee of the Year, Shelby Marter, nominated for Exceptional Enthusiasm as a Student Leader, and Jacob Cavins and Neffertia Tyner, both nominated for the Outstanding Future Alumni Award.

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Meet Erin Richie…

By Amy Karagiannakis

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Erin Riche and Maddy Duensing on their 5-week immersion experience in Ghana.

Erin Richie traveled to Ghana last summer with a cohort of students from the Global Leadership Pathway within the Pavlis Honors College. The team worked on numerous projects while in country, but Erin took the lead on the Women’s Health and Education project. In many developing countries, the subject of menstruation is still very much taboo. Many parents will not discuss menstrual hygiene with their daughters, which can lead to embarrassment and confusion. Without access to sanitary pads, many women use items such as newspaper, rags, and other materials that are not very efficient at absorbing and can cause infection. Girls will often miss several days of school each month while they are on their period to avoid the potential embarrassment of staining their clothes due to leakage. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), approximately 10% of African girls will quit school due to issues regarding menstruation. There are solutions available, but making them accessible to small villages, such as those Erin traveled to in Ghana, is difficult. Before leaving for Ghana, Erin first reached out to Diva Cup for donations. Diva Cup manufactures reusable menstrual cups that last several years and can be cleaned and sanitized using boiling water. The company agreed to donate 50 cups, as well as designed posters explaining proper care and use. Erin wanted to do more though. She new that 50 cups, while helpful, would eventually run out. Erin wanted to provide an alternative for the girls and women in the Ghanaian village that they could continue to utilize even after she had left. Using simple, low cost materials, Erin modified a pattern for a reusable menstrual pad that could be washed and then sun bleached. She wanted to offer workshops to teach girls and women how to make their own reusable menstrual pads providing the necessary materials. Through a connection with the nonprofit organization Women of the Pearl, Erin partnered with a local pastor and his wife in Ghana. The couple believed that when women are empowered, their children will prosper. They were very excited about the project and helped Erin solidify a location for her first workshop. The initial workshop was a success and the turn out was very encouraging. The demand for more workshops grew and Erin spent much of her time in country holding these workshops and teaching local women how to facilitate their own. These women could now make their own affordable, reusable pads, allowing them the protection to stay in school during their monthly cycle.

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From left to right: Bob Beynon, Maddy Duensing, Erin Richie, Amanda Vermeer, and Peter Seim in Ghana.

“I’m so thankful for all that I’ve been able to do by being involved with the Pavlis Honors College. Aside from learning about the culture, my time in Ghana also taught me how to be a better teammate. I’m so lucky to have had a great supportive team in Ghana and for all I was able to learn from them that I can apply to future experiences, as teamwork is not only an intricate part of becoming an engineer, but a valuable life skill,” reflected Erin. The next Pavlis Honors College Ghana team will be traveling this summer. They are currently raising money to purchase more materials and supplies to continue teaching Erin’s workshops in local villages. Donations to this and other causes can be made through Superior Ideas, a Michigan Tech crowdfunding site.

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Erin with fellow PHC students and young Ghanaian women who benefited from the workshops.

Erin returned from her immersion experience in Ghana a little less than a year ago, but her devotion to women’s health and education has only grown stronger. She will be spending two weeks this summer volunteering in Uganda with Women of the Pearl to continue her work, as well as contribute to other projects that empower women around the globe. Prior to her trip to Uganda, Erin will be studying abroad for six weeks in Peru to participate in some volunteer work and finish up her minor in Spanish. She will be living with a host family while in country, and hopes to find some time to visit Machu Picchu, Ica, and Iquitos. Erin will be graduating at the end of Fall semester 2017 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and minors in Spanish and Psychology.

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Erin at the Women’s Solidarity March across the Portage Lake Bridge on Jan. 21.

Erin’s interest in human centered design did not originate in Ghana. As a mechanical engineering major, Erin is passionate about designing and developing products that make daily work and life more efficient and enjoyable. Erin is currently leading the Human Factors Team for the Humane Interface Design Enterprise (HIDE) at Michigan Tech. HIDE is a student-run organization focused on software development and usability research. Erin is now working with the Undergraduate Student Government to develop an RFID voting booth in order to increase student involvement in surveys and elections. Starting in the Fall, Erin will become the co-president of HIDE.

Erin Richie and Nicole Mackey with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.
Nicole Mackey and Erin Richie with PHC benefactor Frank Pavlis in Allentown, PA.

Erin Richie is an active Honors Ambassador and works as an academic success coach on campus, as well as off campus as an elementary school STEM instructor through the GLRC.  She was recently awarded the Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship in the amount of $1000. Erin is the first recipient of this award, which was created to recognize Honors students like Erin who go above and beyond. The Pavlis Honors College Dean’s Scholarship will be awarded to one honors student annually in the amount of $1000 to recognize their outstanding commitment to our programs and pathways. Erin consistently volunteers her time to design, plan and implement recruitment efforts to grow the PHC community. She has taken a leading role to ensure the successful implementation of ideas and events. She goes above and beyond to engage with students and faculty on a meaningful level and continues to have a significant positive effect on College enrollment. Overall, Erin is passionate about the PHC and enthusiastically shares her passion with potential future Honors students whenever given the opportunity. On behalf of the entire PHC staff and faculty, I would like to congratulate Erin on her achievements and accomplishments. We could not be more proud of her and look forward to what her future holds.

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Applications Now Being Accepted for Gilman Scholarship

GilmanThe Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students of limited financial means to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad.  This type of experience prepares U.S. students for an increasingly global economy. The Gilman Scholarship seeks students from a diverse range of private and public institutions all over the country across all 50 states. The selection process is highly competitive. Good news for Michigan Tech students, the Gilman panel looks for STEM majors!

Benjamin A. Gilman, retired New York congressman and the scholarship’s namesake, once said, “Study abroad is a special experience for every student who participates. Living and learning in a vastly different environment of another nation not only exposes our students to alternate views, but also adds an enriching social and cultural experience. It also provides our students with the opportunity to return home with a deeper understanding of their place in the world, encouraging them to be a contributor, rather than a spectator in the international community.”

If you are interested in applying, visit the website here for more information. The deadline to apply for Summer 2017 and Fall 2017-18 is March 7th.

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The SMART Scholarship for Service Program

The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program is an opportunity for students pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines to receive a full scholarship and be gainfully employed upon degree completion with a Department of Defense facility. The Program will pay for all educational expenses for a B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degree, and then provide scholars unique opportunities to work as research scientists or engineers on cutting edge technology in world class Department of Defense facilities.

SMART Scholars receive:
•       Full tuition and educational fees
•       Generous cash stipend ranging from $25,000 – $38,000 per year
•       Paid summer internships, health insurance, and miscellaneous allowance
•       Employment with Department of Defense facilities after graduation

Students pursuing degrees in the following fields are encouraged to apply:
o       Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering
o       Biosciences
o       Chemical Engineering
o       Chemistry
o       Civil Engineering
o       Cognitive, Neural, and Behavioral Sciences
o       Computer, Computational Science, and Computer Engineering
o       Electrical Engineering
o       Geosciences
o       Industrial and Systems Engineering
o       Information Sciences
o       Materials Science and Engineering
o       Mathematics
o       Mechanical Engineering
o       Naval Architecture and Ocean Engineering
o       Nuclear Engineering
o       Oceanography
o       Operations Research
o       Physics

Basic eligibility requirements are as follows:
o       a U.S. citizen at time of application (some exceptions apply),
o       18 years of age or older as of August 1, 2017,
o       able to participate in summer internships at DoD laboratories,
o       willing to accept post-graduate employment with the DoD,
o       a student in good standing with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale and,
o       pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in one of the disciplines listed above

The application is currently open and the deadline to apply is December 1st, 2016. For more information and to apply please visit http://smart.asee.org.

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