In Search of Turtles

Senior Bryan Finch measures a turtle he found near the Fredericksburg Canal.

An uncommon turtle discovery has sparked detective work between a University of Mary Washington professor and his students that will help shed light on the species in the Fredericksburg region. More than two years ago, Professor of Biology Werner Wieland asked students in one of his classes to bring in a local animal. Much to Wieland’s surprise, one student brought in a species of turtle – a yellow-bellied slider – that is not known to occur in the Fredericksburg area. The find brought up questions for Wieland— was this turtle an isolated case or is there a bigger population established? With the help of seniors Yoshi Takeda and Bryan Finch, Wieland has spent the last two summers finding out. Wieland’s project is one of dozens funded through UMW’s Summer Science Institute, a 10-week undergraduate research program started in 1999. The students and professors will present their work at an all-day symposium on Wednesday, July 24. This summer, Wieland and his students … [Read more...]

Chemistry Connections

Nicole Crowder, assistant professor of chemistry, works with Karmel James '13 on a research project.

When Assistant Professor of Chemistry Nicole Crowder attends national conferences, her peers often mistake her University of Mary Washington students for master’s or Ph.D. students. “They are shocked at the caliber of our undergraduate students,” Crowder said. Senior Karmel James and junior Eric Johnson, chemistry majors and seasoned conference presenters, are two such students. Both James and Johnson are working with Crowder this semester through UMW’s undergraduate research program. Their projects aim to reduce carbon dioxide through manipulating various substances. Johnson is exploring “click chemistry,” while James is using a different method. “It’s about taking something that is viewed as a waste gas and turning it into something useful,” Crowder said. Research like Johnson and James’ can have large potential implications, from turning carbon dioxide into alternate fuel sources to finding ways to remove the gas from the atmosphere. Both students will present … [Read more...]