Catawba College Students Achieve Undergraduate Research Honors


April 15, 2021

Category: Academics, Biology, Students

The undergraduate research projects of Catawba College students were recognized with awards at the recent Southeast Biologists Association meeting.

Catawba College Biology, Chemistry, Environment and Sustainability and Psychology students engaged with their professors in undergraduate research projects during the spring semester, despite the challenges of doing research under pandemic conditions. The students attended the North Carolina Academy of Sciences (NCAS) and Southeastern Association of Biologists (ASB) virtual meetings in March, and although their experiences were different from a meeting opposite One-on-one, academic advisers said the students had done an amazing job and represented their home institution well.

The Tau Eta Chapter of the Biology Honor Society of Catawba, led by Student President Giovanni Quiroz-Delfi and Faculty Co-Leaders Dr Carmony Hartwig and Dr Erin Howard, received several awards at the ASB meeting in March 2021. The Tau Eta chapter of Catawba won the award for most student presenters in BBB District 1 (a five-state region), highlighting Catawba College’s commitment to premier research. cycle and close mentoring. Dr. Carmony Hartwig received the BBB District 1 Mentor of the Year award, for her mentorship to numerous research students and her many years of service with the BBB judging student presentations.Malachi Gray 2.jpg

Among the large group of students at Catawba College, two were awarded research presentation prizes. Austin Snide, a senior in biology, and his research mentor, Dr. Carmony Hartwig, received first place in the John C. Johnson Award for Excellence in Poster Presentations. Abigail Walters, an honorary major in biology and psychology, and her mentor professor, Dr. Erin Howard, received second place in the Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Submission of Papers.

Austin Snide summarized the impact of his research experience as follows: “Dr. Hartwig has helped me open the door to scientific research and guided me in a way that prepared me for post-Catawba science. . He will be attending Wake Forest University this fall to pursue a Master of Science in Biology.

Likewise, Abigail Walters said she appreciates the close mentorship opportunity offered by undergraduate research. “My education advisor is Dr. Erin Howard, who has helped me through this process, and my gratitude is more than words can express,” she said. “She taught me many valuable lab skills and guided me through research grant application, method design and presentation, and I cannot thank her enough!”

While disappointed with the reality of a fully virtual meeting and the lack of face-to-face networking and social fun, Catawba students still found value in the virtual meeting experience. Abigail Walters said that “although the meeting must have been online, I think ASB and BBB did a very good job organizing the presentations and providing everyone with a positive experience. The questions posed to the presenters were both relevant and thought-provoking.Madison Kluge and Arilyn Lynch majors ENV.jpg

Students and faculty are excited about new avenues of undergraduate research at Catawba College in the near future due to the complete renovation of the Shuford Science Building which will be completed by fall 2021. A dedicated research lab for the first cycle will open in addition to the new cell culture. facilities. The Chair of the Biology Department, Dr Jay Bolin, said: “Thanks to our generous donors, our undergraduate science education and research labs will facilitate exciting new discoveries by our faculty and students, ranging from subjects as diverse as the genetics of crop plants lost to new antibiotic candidates. “

Dr. Amanda Rushing, Assistant Professor of Biology, citing the importance of this process for students, said: “Undergraduate research is one of the most valuable experiences for our students as it gives them the opportunity to work as scientists and feel the enthusiasm of scientists. survey, in addition to differentiating their resumes for graduate or medical programs.

ASB projects, March 24-26, 2021

  • “Reproduction of Daphnia pulex in response to BPA and BPA derivatives” Authors: Abigail Walters and Erin Howard. Second honorary place, BBB District I Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Paper Presentations 2021.
  • “Eggshell Organizing Factor Protein 1 in Psorophora ferox Mosquitoes ”, Authors: Austin Snide and Carmony Hartwig. First Honorary Place, BBB District I John C. Johnson Award for Excellence in Poster Presentations 2021. Candace Swepson 2.jpg
  • “To examine the genotoxic effects of BPA and its derivatives in Daphniapulex ”, Authors: Kasey McLamb and Erin Howard
  • “Study of the effects of JUUL pod extracts on species associated with the human oral microbiota”, authors: Brooke Freeman, Sydney Goertzen and Carmony Hartwig
  • “Survey on the prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis in Mosquito Vectors from Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina ”, Authors: Candace Swepson and Carmony Hartwig
  • “Estimates of the size of the genome of Iva (Asteraceae) with emphasis on Iva annua a forgotten Native American food plant ”, Authors: E. Malachi Gray, Zachary Gray and Jay Bolin
  • “Gut Journey: Exploring the Viability of Probiotic Microbial Migrants After Gastric Exposure,” Authors: Justin Leonard, Erin Howard and Amanda Rushing
  • “Soil Detective: Research by Antibiotics Discovery Pipeline Students” Authors: Jasmine Wiitala, Oryan Malul and Amanda Rushing
  • “The changing composition of a green ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica) Dominated the swamp forest of Piedmont in North Carolina due to the arrival of the emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) ”, Authors: Madison Kluge, Arilyn Lynch, Matthew Rodriguez and Jay Bolin Austin Snide.jpg
  • “New antibiotic compounds from soil bacteria”, authors: Jacob Hiatt and Amanda Rushing

NCAS projects, March 12-13, 2021

  • “Investigate the prevalence of Dirofilaria immitis in Mosquito Vectors from Salisbury, Rowan County, North Carolina ”, Authors: Candace Swepson, Marissa Bruce and Carmony Hartwig
  • “Fusions, Germs and Meals: How Social Stigma Influences the Transmission of Disease in Human Populations, ” Authors: Michaela Patterson, Amanda Rushing, Buster Smith and Carmony Hartwig

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