Ryan Barlow spent much of his free time this semester waiting for clear nights. When one finally arrived, he’d haul his equipment – including a telescope, camera, spectrograph, motorized mount and filters – outdoors and set up outside of the Jepson Science Center at the University of Mary Washington to take photos of nebulae and galaxies.
Barlow, along with 27 other students, presented his findings at the annual Summer Science Institute Research Symposium on July 23. For many, this was the culmination of many hours of hard work and research, and an opportunity to share the fruits of their labor.
“This is their first taste of what it’s like to be on a research team and to be with other people who are just doing research,” said Deborah Zies, associate professor of biology and co-director of the Summer Science Institute. “It’s a great opportunity for faculty and students to get started on a project and work.”
The daylong event is one of the few to bring together biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, math, computer science and physics students to present their original research projects to faculty, families and peers.
Students presented on a wide-range of research, from chemical signals in crayfish interactions to astrophotography to the downfall of antibiotics.
“It’s a high-impact learning experience,” said Nicole Crowder, assistant professor of chemistry and co-director of the Summer Science Institute. “I hope that this program exposes students to what it’s really like to be a scientist. Students take the knowledge that they’ve been gaining in the classroom and really apply it.”
At the end of the symposium, the following students received awards for their research presentations:
First-place Oral Presentation: Jerome Mueller, “Developing a Tetra Interpreter,” Faculty Advisor: Ian Finlayson, assistant professor, computer science
Second-place Oral Presentation: Amy Jayas, “The Best Dam Project Ever,” Faculty Advisor: Alan B. Griffith, associate professor, biology
First-place Poster Presentation: Kevin Speray, “Qualifying the Efficacy of Aeschynomene virginica as an Indicator Species for Sea-Level Rise,” Faculty Advisor: Alan B. Griffith, associate professor, biology
Second-place Poster Presentation: Shehan Rajapakse, “Designing the Tetra IDE,” Faculty Advisor: Ian Finlayson, assistant professor, computer science