The Faculty of Science has received a generous gift from long-time donors Berna and Earle Nestmann to support the Dean’s Undergraduate Research Awards (DURA), which fund summer research positions for science students at York University.
The Nestmanns have committed $100,000 over four years, through a tax-smart gift of stocks, which will fund a total of 22 DURAs. Their gift will start making an immediate impact, since it will fund five of the 19 students who were granted a DURA for this summer.
“Earle and I are delighted to be able to make a contribution to support this undergraduate research program,” says Berna. “As researchers, we have experienced and witnessed the far-reaching impact of research awards for undergraduate students, and for graduate students and post-docs who get the opportunity to become mentors and team-leaders. We are also convinced that an appreciation of the trials, failures, uncertainties, as well as successes of research promotes more questioning and critical evaluation of headlines and news stories that impact everyday decision making.”
The Nestmanns have supported students and programs at York University for 15 years, including the creation of the Nestmann Scholarship for graduate students in Biology and on-going support for the Science Explorations summer camps, both in the Faculty of Science.
“I’m most grateful to Berna and Earle for stepping up to assist some of our most promising students, who will benefit enormously from the opportunity to get involved in frontline research with outstanding faculty members,” says Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science. “Not only do these students further their knowledge and understanding during the summer, but they get to explore career interests and often continue their research the following academic year.”
Earle is a York University alumnus and former faculty member, as well as a member of the University’s Board of Governors. He completed his MSc and PhD at York University in the 1970s and served as a faculty member for three years in the Department of Biology before moving onto a scientist position at Health Canada. He is a recognized authority in toxicology and has extensive experience in regulatory issues and risk assessment. Berna also is a scientific consultant specializing in food toxicology and ingredient safety and regulation. They both work for their own company, Health Science Consultants.