Catawba College students bring home research awards

Catawba College Biology, Chemistry, Environment and Sustainability, and Psychology students...
Catawba College Biology, Chemistry, Environment and Sustainability, and Psychology students attended the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) in-person from March 30 to April 2 in Little Rock, Arkansas.(WBTV File)
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 9:06 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Catawba College Biology, Chemistry, Environment and Sustainability, and Psychology students attended the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) in-person from March 30 to April 2 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Several of their undergraduate research projects were recognized with awards.

Of the large group of students presenting from Catawba College, four were recognized with Research Presentation awards. Arilyn Lynch, a senior Biology and Environment and Sustainability major, and her research mentors Drs. Jay Bolin and Andrew Jacobson, earned a First Place Frank G. Brooks Award for Excellence in Student Research. Arilyn Lynch was invited to present her research with all expenses paid at the BBB National Meeting in Oklahoma City this summer.

Abigail Walters, an honor senior Biology and Psychology major, and her faculty mentor Dr. Erin Howard, was awarded Third Place for the Brooks Award. Candace Swepson, a senior Biology student, and her faculty mentor Dr. Carmony Hartwig, earned Honorable Mention for the Brooks Award. Candace Swepson was also presented with the Association of Southeastern Biologists Lafayette Frederick Scholarship for Under Represented Minorities, and Everett Rhymer and Arilyn Lynch were awarded First-Generation College Student travel scholarships. Catawba College students won three of the four oral presentation awards presented for BBB District I.

Catawba’s BBB (Biology Honor Society) Tau Eta chapter led by student president, Jacob Hiatt, and faculty co-leaders Dr. Carmony Hartwig and Dr. Erin Howard, was well represented at the ASB meeting. In addition, Carmony Hartwig began her term as the BBB District I Coordinator. Jacob Hiatt, a junior Biology and Chemistry major, was elected the BBB District I student secretary for the second year. Hiatt noted, “I enjoyed attending the conference face-to-face. I have had incredible experiences presenting my research, and look forward to continuing my research with Dr. Rushing next year.”

Catawba College faculty and students presented or co-presented twelve posters or oral presentations at the first face-to-face ASB meeting since 2019. Jay. F. Bolin, dean of sciences, remarked, “In addition to presenting our findings, scientific meetings are critical in the development of our students as scientists to network for graduate programs.”

Halstead, a junior Environment and Sustainability Major, gave a short “lightening talk” with her advisor, Dr. Andrew Jacobson, to a large audience on the use of fixed wing drones to collect vegetation cover data in the Fred Stanback, Jr. Ecological Preserve. Halstead summarized the impact of her research experience stating, “Dr. Jacobson helped me apply what I’m learning in GIS class (geographic information systems) to apply to real world problems as part of my independent study and research project.”

Abigail Walters, a senior Biology and Psychology student, was pleased to be recognized with an award for her multi-year research project with Dr. Witalison looking at the effects of BPA on aquatic organisms. Walters, who will be attending Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall, added, “My undergraduate research experiences at Catawba helped me stand out from other applicants. Students should really take advantage of the amazing research opportunities at Catawba College.”

Catawba plans to continue to grow and expand undergraduate research opportunities with the major renovations of the Shuford Science Building now complete. A new refrigerated lab will be completed and a new cell culturing facility will be operating at full capacity by Fall 2022 in the Shuford Science Building.

The Center for the Environment building renovation will be complete in 2023 with updated classrooms and laboratories, all oriented towards undergraduate research.

Dr. Richard Macri, Chair of Chemistry concluded, “Undergraduate research is one the best things we do at Catawba College and is just one of things that make Catawba a special place”.

Undergraduate Research Titles and Abstracts – Spring 2022

The Microbial Odyssey: Investigating the viability of commercial probiotics under physiological conditions. Kagan Hall, Erin Witalison, and Amanda Rushing, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Estimation of snag density using UAV based imagery in a declining green ash swamp forest. Emma Halstead, Arilyn Lynch, Jay Bolin, and Andrew Jacobson, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Soil Sleuths: Characterization of Antimicrobial Compounds from Soil-Dwelling Bacteria. Jacob Hiatt, Will Roque, Hunter Sjobom, Jalen Garner, and Amanda Rushing, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Examining the toxicological and molecular effects of BPA on Sf9 insect cells. Kasey McLamb and Erin Witalison, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

The harder they fall: Measuring the decline of a green ash swamp forest due to emerald ash borer damage in North Carolina. Arilyn Lynch, Jay Bolin, Emma Halstead, and Andrew Jacobson, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Quillwort Quagmire. Lytton John Musselman1, Peter Schafran2, Jay F. Bolin, and David Wickell, (1)Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, (2) Boyce Thompson Institute, Ithaca, NY, (3) Catawba College, Salisbury, NC, (4) Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Investigating the Peroxidation-Associated Mechanism of Artemisinin-heme Adducts in a Yeast Model System. Morgan Pearson, Carmony Hartwig, and Everette Rhymer, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Genomic variation in the black-throated green warbler (Setophaga virens) suggests divergence in a disjunct Atlantic Coastal Plain population (S. v. waynei). Joe Poston1, John Carpenter2, Alexander Worm3, Than Boves3, Andrew Wood4 and David Toews4, (1)Catawba College, Salisbury, NC, (2)North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Raleigh, NC, (3)Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR, (4)Penn State University, University Park, PA.

Evaluating Larvicidal Efficacy of Plant-based Extracts on Culex and Aedes Mosquito Vectors. Everette Rhymer, Carmony Hartwig, and Morgan Pearson, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Investigating Dietary and Microbial Community Variation between Urban and Rural Coyote (Canis latrans) Populations. Candace Swepson, Carmony Hartwig, and Jay Bolin, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC .

Environmental Mercury in High Rock Lake, North Carolina

Isobel Verbrugge, Jay F. Bolin, and Joe Poston, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

Reproductive effects of BPA and BPA derivatives in Daphnia pulex

Abigail Walters and Erin Witalison, Catawba College, Salisbury, NC.

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