Six students presented their research in biology and chemistry this spring at an annual symposium at the University of St. Thomas.
Dr. Graeme Wyllie, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Joseph Whittaker, associate professor of biology, accompanied the students to the Minnesota Academy of Science Annual Meeting and Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium in St. Paul, Minn.
Breann Adamek ’19, Gift Ben-Bernard ’19, Brooke Maruska ’18, Elli Strand ’20 and Chloe Whitten ’19 presented original research for biology, and Alexandra Ward ’19 presented on a new laboratory and teaching pedagogy for chemistry.
Maruska won a Best in Session Award for her presentation on the “Characterization of Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) Leaf Nests on an Urban College Campus.”
Ward won a Judge’s Choice Award for “Bioplastic: Combining Seaweed and Lobsters to Create a New General Chemistry Laboratory Pedagogy.”
“There was a lot of competition (and with some with much larger schools), so both of these are big feathers in our caps,” Whittaker said.
Wyllie said Ward’s award is well-deserved.
“Lexi’s research on bioplastics in the summer of 2017 has been critical in the redesign of the research component of the general chemistry lab this past spring,” Wyllie said. “After seeing our students engaging with this topic in the teaching lab this last semester, I’m especially proud of the excellent job Lexi did in sharing the results of this with the broader science community, both students and faculty, at an event like the Winchell.”
The annual meeting and Winchell Undergraduate Research Symposium provides a forum for undergraduate students to present research in the sciences, learn from professionals in fields they aspire to enter, and receive recognition for their accomplishments. The first annual meeting of the Minnesota Academy of Science was held on April 15, 1933, at the University of Minnesota.
There are four main components of the meeting and symposium – a keynote lecture, poster presentations, oral presentations, and breakout sessions. More than 125 students, research advisors, members of MAS, faculty members, and other interested members of the community attend the symposium each year.