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Avila biology student, professor take in Novus Science Day in St. Louis

May 5, 2011
For more information, contact Bob Luder at 816.501.2434.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo - -An Avila University biology student and professor recently traveled to St. Louis, where they not only learned about bio-technology and factory farming, but perhaps even more importantly, how to work into a field of science at the professional level.

Jania Billups and biology professor Bob Powell traveled to the east side of Missouri by invitation from Novus International Inc., a bio-tech firm in the St. Louis area that specializes in animal feed. The occasion was Novus Science Day, in which Novus invites students from colleges and universities throughout the area to come visit its facilities and listen to employees speak about the various paths they took to get into a specific scientific field. According to Powell, Novus selects students based on participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) classes and financial need.

Billups and Powell were the only two from the Kansas City area to attend Novus Science Day, which was held April 14-15.

"They talk to students about how to start a science career," Powell said. "What I really liked about it was … it wasn't academia. I don't know much about the private sector. And, most jobs in science are in the private sector.

"It's helpful to open doors."

In addition to touring the Novus facilities and meeting with various employees, Powell said they got to visit Science Center in downtown St. Louis and toured its Climate Change Exhibit.

Billups said she found the experience invaluable as she prepares to graduate and enter the working world.

"I got to talk to some scientists, which was an opportunity that you don't get all the time," she said. "I'm vegetarian, so I don't support factory farming, and Novus is all about factory farming. But, it was great to see how they practice their business, even if I don't support it.

"It was a really good experience for me."




Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.