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Marta and Tom Tooma Donate $100,000 to Natural Science Student Research

By Nate Ethell ('08, MBA '13)

Nnatural Science Research

University regent Marta Tooma and husband Tom have pledged $100,000 to support student research in Seaver College's Natural Science Division, which provides opportunities for undergraduates in math and science to gain firsthand experience in original research. Each summer, the division attempts to fund between 10 and 12 students who conduct research in the fields of biology, chemistry, math, and physics.

Marta explains that they support natural science students at Seaver with hopes that students will be inspired to pursue careers in the medical profession and serve others. "Both Tom and I love science and like to encourage students to pursue medicine and dentistry," shared Marta. "It's a field that brings great personal satisfaction both in private practice and especially through service in remote areas of the world where care is not available."

Rodney Honeycutt, University Professor and chairperson of the Natural Science Division, praised Marta and Tom's generosity. "The Toomas' past and current contributions make the continuation of our summer research experience for undergraduates possible, allowing us to defray the costs of lodging and student stipends," he said. "The kind of experience that the Toomas enable unquestionably allows our students to be highly competitive for admission to both graduate and professional schools."

Carrying on a family tradition of service from Marta's missionary parents and grandparents, the Toomas are actively involved in national and global philanthropy. Marta and Tom established the Mission at Natuvu Creek in Fiji, which provides world-class health care, counseling, and education in the areas of healthful living, entrepreneurship, education, and spiritual growth. Their son, Julian, graduated from Seaver College in 2010.