Tag Archives: HUR

Student Research Week 2014 – Leave Your Mark

By Hayley Cox

SRW2014Poster

The 17th annual Student Research Week (SRW), a student run event on the Texas A&M campus, was a success in showcasing undergraduate research throughout the last week of March. This event illuminates the outstanding research undertaken by Texas A&M graduate and undergraduate students, allowing students to receive feedback from their peers as well as experts in their respective fields of research.

“Student Research Week 2014 is a platform for showcasing outstanding research undertaken by graduate and undergraduate students of Texas A&M University. This week long celebration of presenting innovative ideas is our initiative to inculcate the spirit of research amongst the present generation. The event offers an opportunity to meet stalwarts in the respective fields of research, interact with them and receive valuable feedback from them and their peers.” (http://srw.tamu.edu/)

This year’s SRW theme “Leave Your Mark” encouraged students to bring as much to the table as possible during their careers at Texas A&M, and to leave a legacy that will be remembered.

First place winner in the Earth Sciences category of the SRW oral presentations, Dillon Amaya, presented the research he did this past summer at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Amaya, also an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, looked at the different impacts El Niño and Modoki El Niño have on tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Amaya said, “I’m honored to have been chosen for this award.” He said, “Student Research Week was a great opportunity to improve my scientific communication skills and I would encourage others to participate in the future.”

First place winner in the Math category of the SRW oral presentations, William Linz,  University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar (UGRS) presented his project of enumerating derangements on a Ferrers Board. Linz explained, “Simply put, for a set of objects, a permutation is an ordering of that set of objects. Given a permutation of those objects, a derangement from that permutation is another ordering of those objects which has no object in the same place as in the given permutation. For example, if {1, 2, 3} is a given set of objects, and 1 2 3 is the initial permutation, then the derangements from the permutation 1 2 3 are 2 3 1 and 3 1 2. A Ferrers Board is a grid (or chessboard) of some particular size (for our purpose, the size of the permutation) with a section missing.” This research has applications in theoretical computer science and mathematical biology.

The University Honors Student and Scholar said, “I was thrilled to be named an award winner, as it was my first time giving a public presentation over my research.” He said, “I’d like to thank my research mentor Dr. Catherine Yan for all the help she has provided me.”

Second place winner in the Psychology category of the SRW oral presentations, Samantha Guz, worked with Dr. Rispoli and Jennifer Ninci on her presentation in Educational Psychology. Guz, a University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar, studied learning and communication processes in preschoolers with an autism spectrum diagnosis. Guz said, “My success at Student Research Week can be accredited to fantastic mentorship and guidance from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program, as well as Dr. Rispoli and her research team in Educational Psychology.”

Each of the 10 categories that students presented in  during Student Research Week 2014 awarded first and second place prizes for the top poster and oral presentation.  Out of these 40 awards, 23 went to students who are members of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Fourteen students winning these prizes are University Honors Students, and four prize-winners currently participate in their respective study’s departmental honors program. The first and second place winners in the Earth Science oral category, Dillon Amaya and Matthew McMahon are both Undergraduate Research Ambassadors. McMahon is also a University Honors Student. What a great showing for Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR)!

In competition with around 300 contenders, members of Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) took over 70% of the undergraduate prizes. See the list below for details on SRW 2014 undergraduate prize-winners:

Astronomy:
Oral
1st Sherwin Chiu (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Chris Akers (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Austin Schneider (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)
2nd Alyssa Shyan Rosas

Biology:
Oral
1st Aaron Griffin (University Honors, University Scholar and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Amrita Sherlekar

Poster
1st Ramsey Yusuf
2nd Kaylee Davis (University Honors, University Scholar,  and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Earth Sciences:
Oral
1st Dillon Joseph Amaya (Undergraduate Research Ambassador)
2nd Matthew McMahon (Undergraduate Research Ambassador and University Honors)

Poster
1st Kathryn Westerman
2nd Kathleen McDaniel (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Engineering:
Oral
1st Robert Tyler (Undergraduate Research Scholar from TAMUG) Tim Kroeger (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Hari Shrestha
2nd Lauralee Mariel Valverde (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Health:
Oral
1st Amie Maree Klein
2nd Rachel Guess (University Honors)

Poster
1st Edwin Mathew Savio
2nd Jessica Justice (Undergraduate Research Scholar) and Conor Irwin (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

History:
Oral
1st Jacquelyn Sariah Hill (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Alexandra Frenzel

Poster
1st Mikayla Paige Hall (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Saad Dawoodi (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Math:
Oral
1st William Linz (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Ryan Olivieri (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Tyler Jered Biehle (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Ruiz Akpan

Medicine:
Oral
1st Keith Krenek (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Jason Szafron (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Zachary Andrew Steelman (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Emily Veerkamp (University Honors)

Plant Science:
Oral
1st Konni Kelso (Departmental Honors)
2nd Vincent Provasek (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Anna Kathryn Blick
2nd Kerstin Alander

Psychology:
Oral
1st Taylor Vestal (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)
2nd Samantha Rachel Guz (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Esteffania Adriana Lezama
2nd Victoria Kimmel (University Honors)

Melbern G. Glasscock Humanities Award:
Esteffania Adriana Lezama

Sigma Xi Theme Award:
1st Edwin Mathew Savio
2nd Hari Shrestha

Sigma Xi interdisciplinary Award:
1st Victoria Kimmel (University Honors)
2nd Taylor Vestal (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)

Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) is extremely proud of its students, as well as all of those who participated in Student Research Week. Way to Leave Your Mark!

Announcement of Texas A&M University’s Goldwater Scholarship Winner and Honorable Mention!

By Honors and Undergraduate Research

Two Texas A&M students have been recognized for their outstanding academic achievements in physics and environmental geosciences by the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation. Nick Mondrik, a junior physics major, has been selected as a Goldwater Scholar and Amelie Berger, a junior environmental geoscience major, has been named a Goldwater Honorable Mention.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established in 1986 in honor of US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college students nationwide in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, selecting approximately 300 sophomore and junior students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic excellence, research experience, and future potential.

Nick Mondrik - Goldwater Scholarship Winner, 2014
Nick Mondrik – Goldwater Scholarship Winner, 2014

Goldwater Scholarship Winner, Nick Mondrik, is from Belton, Texas. He has worked in Dr. Lin Shao’s Ions and Materials Facility in the Nuclear Engineering Department and for Dr. Darren Depoy in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. Currently, he is working on heat transfer simulation for the VIRUS project (Visible Integral-Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs) and on preliminary data from the Dark Energy Survey underway in Cerro Tololo, Chile.

Mondrik came across the Goldwater Scholarship when he was looking at websites with information on graduate school profiles and decided to check it out. He wrote his Goldwater essay on looking for outliers and variable stars in the Dark Energy Survey data. The junior physics major said, “The ideal candidate is one who devotes significant time and effort not only in the classroom, but also in the lab where acquired research tools are put into practice.”

On campus, Mondrik is also a Society of Physics Students tutor for underclassmen. He was also a National Merit Scholar coming out of high school. His future pursuits include attending graduate school at Princeton, Caltech, Cambridge, or Harvard for astronomy or astrophysics.

Amelie Berger - Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, 2014
Amelie Berger – Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, 2014

Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention, Amelie Berger, is a junior from Paris, France. Berger is pursuing a degree in Environmental Geoscience with minors in both meteorology and oceanography. She is involved in the Honors Fellows Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program where she wrote her thesis on characterizing throughfall heterogeneity in a tropical pre-montane cloud forest in Costa Rica.

Berger has conducted research with the Oceanography department, the Geosciences department, and as an REU Intern in Costa Rica. She is a member of the American Association of Geographers, the Environmental Issues Committee, and a volunteer at the Oceanography Institute of Paris. In the future, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree and PhD. in climate science and sustainability, and to conduct research and teach at the university level.

Texas A&M Honors and Undergraduate Research commends the outstanding achievements of Nick Mondrik and Amelie Berger. All of their hard work continues to pay off!

Undergraduate Research Scholar Spotlight: Daniel Revier

By Hayley Cox

Former Undergraduate Research Scholar, Daniel Revier ‘12, participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars (UGRS) Program during his senior year under Dr. Gregory Huff. At the time, Revier, a native of Katy, Texas, was studying to obtain his undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering (ECE). During his final semester at Texas A&M University, Revier worked for Dr. Duncan Mackenzie, writing the LaTex thesis template for the thesis submission process. His name is currently on the example template provided to the UGRS LaTex writers.

During his undergraduate career, the ECE student was also a member of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), President of Mosher Hall during his freshman year, a Visitor Center Tour Guide, and performed undergraduate research prior to and after being under the UGRS program.

 Image

Daniel Revier took some time to respond to our questions about his experience as an Undergraduate Research Scholar at Texas A&M, and how his experience has contributed to his transition to graduate school at the Georgia Tech Research Institute.


 

How did you become an Undergraduate Research Scholar (UGRS)? Did anyone mentor you in the process?

I had already been performing research aiding a PhD candidate with his dissertation work when I approached my advisor about performing my own work. Dr. Huff had several ideas and we narrowed one down that I could pitch and work on throughout my senior year instead of the standard capstone project.

What was your favorite part of the UGRS program?

My favorite part of the UGRS program was learning about everyone else’s research. There were many different ideas floating around and it was interesting to hear about all of them.

The best experience?

I would say that the best experience though was that it opened my eyes to how difficult research can be. Maddeningly, you may hit a wall and not know where to go next. Many nights I sat at my computer dumbfounded as to what to do. It is at those points, if you persevere, that you begin to understand how to use your education to approach problems. In that case, I would have to say the best experience was also the most challenging.

How did experience as an UGRS help you prepare for your current graduate program?

UGRS helped prepare me for my current program by exposing me to LaTeX and providing an avenue for me to use some of the computational tools that are standard in my field. Being surrounded by people who were genuinely curious about the world was energizing and inspiring.

Could you tell me a little about the program you are in now?

Currently, I work full time for the Georgia Tech Research Institute (think the MIT Lincoln Labs of Georgia Tech) while simultaneously pursuing my PhD in electrical engineering. My current setup allows me to attend Georgia Tech for free while also maintaining a very nice salary, far beyond what I could have hoped for solely as a graduate student. I would like to stress this is not a TA or GRA [teaching assistant or graduate research assistant] position, I am a full-fledged employee for Georgia Tech while attending school on the side. A very unconventional route but nonetheless it has offered me a great experience. Simultaneously working as an engineer and attending engineering school offers a few benefits:

1) I make contacts in both realms, academic and industry. My connections in industry allow me to procure materials and supplies that would normally be unavailable to me if I were just a student. Furthermore, my connections in the academic world allow me to collaborate more freely with researchers across the world without worrying too much about IP or business matters.

2) My practical knowledge has increased 10x since working in the industry. University will give you the guidelines but the actual application in the real world is a completely different method. In turn, my practical knowledge influences how I think about theoretical work in a very useful way. When you can actually see and make something that works it takes it from being abstract into a reality and allows your intuition to kick in.

What are your future goals/plans?

My goal is to obtain my PhD from the ECE department at Georgia Tech, specifically researching 3D printed antennas and passive devices. Currently, my work has been focused on inkjet printing of the same; however, with 3D printers becoming cheaper and printing many different materials, there is an avenue to look into this type of additive manufacturing. Eventually, I would like to work in industry full-time to gather some more experience and then begin my own start up manufacturing inkjet and 3D printed antennas, etc.

Is there anything you would have done differently before moving on to graduate school?

I would have started performing undergraduate research much, much earlier. As a sophomore I knew I wanted to do research; however, I thought that I would wait until my junior year when I would “know more.” As it turned out I never really learned enough and still don’t know enough, but that is the point. Don’t let your ego get in the way of starting your research. I also would have taken harder classes as an undergraduate. It’s the hard classes are where you learn the most. The very best class I ever took was Dr. Steven Wright’s Magnetic Resonance Engineering course. Easily the most time consuming class I ever had; however, I also learned the very most from that class. It is setup in a way where you don’t just learn about MRE but you learn about systems engineering as well. This ties back to what I said in question 5 about the practical knowledge influencing the theoretical. I also maybe would have double majored in physics to expand on the theoretical side of everything as well.

Do you have any advice for other research scholars or those pursuing graduate degrees in the future?

UGRS was useful for me in the sense that it helped me understand the research process in a structured environment. Research requires a mentality of curiosity that is not learned overnight. It is just now where I feel as if I am coming up with original ideas and UGRS is already 2 years behind me. Stick with it and always ask questions. Be the kind of person that ALWAYS goes up to your professor after class to ask for more details about a topic. And as your professors lecture, ask questions. Too often lectures become a force-feeding of information that students have no time to think in class and can only react by taking down notes. I would challenge you to take less notes (or record the lectures on your phone at least) and ask questions to yourself as your professor speaks. Also, I would recommend finding a few advisers and/or other mentors (Professors, TAs, GRAs) who will let bother them incessantly. There are many people for me at work and at school that I can approach to ask a question whether it is theoretical or practical. Developing this team is CRITICAL to your success. Finally, accept the fact that you don’t know anything (probably) and that is OK. Tying back to finding a good mentor team, if they are good they will help you build the tools to then question and determine things on your own without them.

 

Congratulations to the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship Nominees!

By Hayley Cox

Four Texas A&M University students have been nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program were established in 1986 in honor of US Senator and republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater of Arizona. The Goldwater Scholarship recognizes college students nationwide in the science, mathematics, and engineering fields, selecting approximately 300 junior and senior students each year. Scholarship recipients are selected based on a criteria composed of reference letters, personal essays, and research experience. Universities can nominate up to four students for the Goldwater Scholarship per academic year.

Jack Reid
Jack Reid

2014 Goldwater nominee, Jack Reid ’15, is a junior mechanical engineering and philosophy student from Austin, Texas. Reid was recommended by Honors and Undergraduate Research’s (HUR) Jamaica Pouncy and was also nominated during his sophomore year after he became a University Scholar. He wrote his research proposal about non-thermal plasma research under Dr. David Stack and Dr. Maria King, and this proposal was then reviewed a national committee. In Reid’s words, the committee is looking for aptitude, along with a “genuine interest in research and a drive to follow through on it.”

Reid is a member of the weekly microbiology news program Invisible Jungle, a local project lead for Engineer Without Borders, and practices a form of martial arts called Aikido. Upon completion of his undergraduate career, Reid plans to attend graduate school with a technical focus. He said that after a Master’s degree in technical research, he intends to pursue a PhD. But as a junior, he hasn’t narrowed down the remainder of his future plans.

If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Reid said the first word to come to mind would be “vindication.” He said, “It would be a wonderful confirmation that I am doing something right… The best part would just be knowing that I am a Goldwater Scholar.” In addition to the Goldwater Scholarship, Reid just submitted his application for the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation nomination, in which he will find out if he continues later this month.

Nick Mondrik
Nick Mondrik

Another Goldwater nominee, Nick Mondrik, is a junior physics student from Belton, Texas. He has worked in Dr. Lin Shao’s Ions and Materials Facility in the Nuclear Engineering Department and for Dr. Darren Depoy in the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Lab. Currently, he is working on heat transfer simulation for the VIRUS project (Visible Integral-Field Replicable Unit Spectrographs) and on preliminary data from the Dark Energy Survey underway in Cerro Tololo, Chile.

Mondrik came across the Goldwater Scholarship when he was looking at websites with information on graduate school profiles and decided to check it out. He wrote his research proposal on looking for outliers and variable stars in the Dark Energy Survey data. The nominee said, “The ideal candidate is one who devotes significant time and effort not only in the classroom, but also in the lab where acquired research tools are put into practice.”

On campus, Mondrik is also a Society of Physics Students tutor for underclassmen. He was also a National Merit Scholar coming out of high school. His future pursuits include attending graduate school at Princeton, Caltech, Cambridge, or Harvard for astronomy or astrophysics. If selected as a 2014 Goldwater Scholarship recipient, Mondrik said the first word to come to mind would be “ecstatic.” He said, “To have all my hard work over these past three years would mean a lot…” Mondrik continued, “It’s one thing to say that hard work is its own reward, but a little recognition goes a long way.”

Amelie Berger
Amelie Berger

Goldwater nominee Amelie Berger is a junior environmental geoscience student from Paris, France. Berger is pursuing a degree in Environmental Geoscience with minors in both meteorology and oceanography. She is involved in the Honors Fellows Program and the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program where she wrote her thesis on characterizing throughfall heterogeneity in a tropical pre-montane cloud forest in Costa Rica.

Berger has conducted research with the Oceanography department, the Geosciences department, and as an REU Intern in Costa Rica. She is a member of the American Association of Geographers, the Environmental Issues Committee, and a volunteer at the Oceanography Institute of Paris. In the future, she plans to pursue a Master’s degree and PhD. in climate science and sustainability, and to conduct research and teach at the university level.

Berger wanted to thank the professors who have contributed to her Goldwater application and now nomination process. She said, I am so thankful for Dr. Frauenfeld, Dr. Cahill, Dr. Thomas, Dr. Biggs, and Dr. Garcia for their supporting letters. I probably would not have even applied without Dr. Biggs telling me I should consider it, and Dr. Frauenfeld selflessly took the time to help me make my application competitive. I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by supportive and dedicated faculty members!”

The final Goldwater nominee, William Linz, is a mathematics student from Temple, Texas. Linz is a University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar at Texas A&M. Linz has been following national scholarships since his high school academic career and consistently found Goldwater to be an excellent opportunity for math, science, and engineering students like himself. He began with an online application and an expository essay detailing his research work before submitting to a national Goldwater representative.

Linz is also an executive board member of Explorations, the Undergraduate Research Journal of Texas A&M University, and he is President of Aggie Quiz Bowl. In the future, he plans to continue his research work at Texas A&M and to attend graduate school for mathematics. If Linz were to be chosen as a Goldwater Scholar he said he would be extremely pleased. He said, “I would thank all who have helped me up to this point, and I would use the scholarship as an impetus to work even harder in research mathematics.”

Honors and Undergraduate Research is extremely proud of Jack Reid, Nick Mondrik, Amelie Berger, and William Linz for all of their outstand achievements as nominees for the Goldwater Scholarship. We wish them the best of luck through out the remainder of the selection process!

Lauralee Valverde Presents Her Research at MAES Symposium

By Hayley Cox

During the Fall 2013 semester, Texas A&M University senior Lauralee Valverde attended the Latinos in Science and Engineering Symposium organized by the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists (MAES) in Houston, Texas. Valverde is a member of Texas A&M’s chapter of the MAES national organization. The symposium is one of the largest events held by MAES, which includes a research competition.

Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
Lauralee Valverde at the MAES Symposium in Houston, Texas.
The MAES Symposium brings together hundreds of students and employees seeking advancement. It is a “gateway to a network of professionals, students, and recruiters – The MAES Familia.” (http://mymaes.org/program-item/symposium/)

Valverde, an industrial engineering student from San Antonio, is a 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and 2014 Undergraduate Research Travel Award recipient. She invested considerable time into submitting an abstract and preparing her poster prior to the symposium. Her research was based upon Computer-Aided Design (CAD) as a critical tool in the development of modern products. She investigated the modeling of a 2-dimensional drawing versus the modeling of a 3-dimensional artifact, and screen captured this data to analyze the time usage of each respective modeling program.

Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
Members of MAES after presenting their research at the symposium.
At the MAES Symposium, Valdverde said her favorite part was being able to see her friends from the local Texas A&M MAES chapter in a different light as they presented their research. After experiencing this event with members of her chapter, she found that practice is key. Valverde said, “Practicing what you are going to say before hand gives you confidence when it comes time to engage the judges.” The best advice that she has for students involved in science and engineering research is to write everything down. She said, “It is very easy to forget the details, and in some cases the smallest details are the ones that cause your research to work and make sense.”

The next MAES Symposium will be held in San Diego, California from October 15-18, 2014. Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) is proud of students such as Lauralee Valverde for their outstanding accomplishments in research and looks forward to supporting future students’ travel to professional meetings. These students improve their chances of obtaining employment in industry or admission to prominent graduate programs, while at the same time represent our outstanding undergraduate research programs on a national stage.

The Pathways to Undergraduate Research

In November the Texas A&M University System held its 11th annual Pathways Student Research Symposium for undergraduate and graduate students in Kingsville.  Over 400 students from all Texas A&M campuses presented oral and poster presentations throughout the Symposium, with an awards ceremony was held at the conclusion of the event. Dr. Margie Moczygemba, an Assistant Professor of Microbial and Molecular Pathogenesis at Texas A&M University Kingsville was the keynote speaker for Pathways this year.

Connor McBroom
Connor McBroom

Texas A&M University College Station students Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom attended the 2013 Pathways Student Research Symposium. Griffin, a sophomore biochemistry, genetics, and pure mathematics major from Missouri City is a Class of 2016 University Scholar, 2014 Undergraduate Research Scholar and a senior editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal. McBroom, biochemistry major from Maryland is also an Undergraduate Research Scholar and an editor for the Explorations Undergraduate Journal.

Aaron Griffin
Aaron Griffin

To apply, their online abstract had to be accepted by the Pathways Symposium organizers. Their research project was titled “Identifying Novel Regulators of Mitochondrial Copper Homeostasis.” Griffin said, “The research for this project was completed in Dr. Vishal Gohil’s laboratory in Biochemistry and Biophysics during the summer of 2013, and dealt with using the yeast model system Saccharomyces cerevisiae to investigate mitochondrial proteins for their possible participation in coordinating the delivery of copper ions to cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme essential component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain responsible for generating cellular energy via respiration.”

002At the Pathways Symposium Griffin and McBroom presented their poster and spent time observing presentations by other students and touring the Texas A&M University Kingsville campus, including the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy. Griffin said his favorite part of the symposium was “getting the opportunity to present the research [they] had spent hours performing to other members of the scientific and academic community and watch[ing] them become excited about the results….” He said, “The communication of science is truly a joy.”

Returning from Pathways, Griffin realized the importance of personal interest and immersion in one’s research. He said this immersion allowed research partners to become knowledgeable of the subject and to more effectively present their results. Because of this were Griffin and McBroom able to field difficult and unexpected questions from the judges and observers.

Griffin said that if he could give some advice to students participating in research he would share with them the words of his mentor, Dr. Gohil: “Do good science, and the rest will follow.” Griffin said, “Often I am very excited to apply for an exciting opportunity to showcase my research, and Dr. Gohil will remind me I still have several aspects of a project to complete before I can put together a full story.” He hopes that students involved in research will take full advantage of the opportunity and the satisfaction it brings.

Griffin thanked the Gohil Lab for facilitating this research project, Honors and Undergraduate for informing him of this opportunity, as well as the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies for financing the trip. HUR commends both Aaron Griffin and Connor McBroom for their successes in research and at the Pathways Symposium in Kingsville!

Angelyn Hilton “Plants” Herself a Spot at the American Phytopathological Society Conference!

By Hayley Cox

Angelyn Hilton - Bioenvironmental Sciences as an Undergraduate
Angelyn Hilton – Bioenvironmental Sciences as an Undergraduate
Angelyn Hilton, currently a first year Master’s student in the Plant Pathology and Microbiology Deptartment at Texas A&M University, participated in the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. She was a student in Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) during her undergraduate career in Bioenvironmental Sciences

Hilton heard about the American Phytopathalogical Society (APS) Conference through the professors in the plant pathology and microbiology department who were also attending. She was given the opportunity to attend the conference in Austin, Texas from August 10th-14th after she was granted the HUR Travel Scholarship.

According to the APS website (apsnet.org), the 2013 APS Conference was the first time that the Mycological Society of America and the APS held a joint meeting since 2006. “This year’s Special Sessions consist[ed] of invited speakers and topics chosen by the Annual Meeting Board under the guidance of Director Scott Adkins and 2013 APS President-Elect George Abawi.” APS MSA Joint Meeting Special Sessions included the topics of The World of Fungi, Food Safety and Biosecurity, Crop Protection Tools, Education and Outreach, Viruses, Tree Diseases and Stresses, Cell Biology and Plant Symbiosis, and Bacteria.

The APS Conference serves as a means to bring phytopathologists together from around the world. Researchers can present their findings and establish networks with others in their field of study. Hilton said, “A typical day would include attending a number of seminars on different topics, including mycology, bacteriology, virology, and agriculture.” She said, “The end of the day usually consists of poster sessions and mixers. It was not only informative and a great learning experience, but also tons of fun.”

BESC Poster Symposium Winners - Angelyn Hilton Pictured on Far Right (http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/besc-poster-symposium-award-winners/)
BESC Poster Symposium Winners – Angelyn Hilton Pictured on Far Right
(http://plantpathology.tamu.edu/besc-poster-symposium-award-winners/)

Hilton is now continuing onto study plant diseases in graduate school at Texas A&M, and she plans to attend the next annual APS meeting in 2014. Hilton said it is still too soon to know where she will be in 10-15 years, but she would like to continue research in an agricultural-related field. She said the APS Conference was a “fabulous opportunity.” She said, “I was able to do it with the help of HUR and TAMU professors and staff. I would recommend HUR to any high-achieving student at TAMU.”