January 25, 2020

The Color of Science

Isabelle Malouf was so into science she wore it to prom. The gown that she made with organza and sequins had a bubble-type skirt that resembled a bacteriophage. A dress and a virus, it was part of the Daring Night Attire – or DNA – collection she created for a high school design class.

The Color of Science

Isabelle Malouf uses zebrafish to do endocrine reception research.

Science Symposium Highlights Student Research

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. More than 20 UMW STEM students came together to present research at the annual Summer Science Institute July 23. Ryan Barlow, middle, explains his research on astrophotography. From left: Ben Kisila, associate professor of earth and environmental science, works with Luci Coleman to conduct research on the Chesapeake Bay. “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.” John Meadows restored a Mach-Zehnder to conduct research on slow light. Ruth Catlett, right, explains her research in parallel computing education. 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

UMW Biology Professor Receives Fulbright Grant

Dianne Baker, associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Mary Washington, has been selected to receive a 2014-2015 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. Baker will conduct research at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences in Oslo, Norway beginning in January 2015.

Professor Dianne Baker

Professor Dianne Baker

The Fulbright Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is the U.S. government’s flagship international exchange program.

Baker is an animal physiologist who joined UMW’s biology department in 2006. As part of her Fulbright grant, Baker will employ molecular techniques to study the roles of neurohormones in brain development, using the Japanese rice fish. She will work alongside graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and other visiting scientists from around the world. During her research period, Baker hopes to learn cutting edge techniques in physiological research that she can bring back to UMW.

While in Norway, Baker also will guest lecture on animal physiology at the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science. She also plans to attend the ninth annual European Zebrafish Meeting, hosted at Finn-Arne Weltzien’s lab in Oslo in 2015.

Baker received a bachelor’s degree from Evergreen State College and master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Washington.

UMW Showcases STEM Activities

Small drones buzzed overhead as more than 600 people viewed the latest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the Anderson Center at the University of Mary Washington on March 29 during the third annual  STEM Summit 16. Click to view slideshow. Showcasing the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses, the event featured more than 50 booths, including the UMW departments of biology, chemistry, computer science, earth and environmental science, geography, mathematics, physics and the admissions office. Germanna Community College, the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren and a variety of regional schools also showcased 3-D printers, experiments and robotics among other STEM-related technologies. Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, delivered the keynote address. One of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots, Cummings discussed drone technologies and human-machine collaboration. The Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce’s annual event is sponsored by Central Rappahannock Regional Library (FredTech) and Lockheed Martin. A few steps away in the Goolrick pool, five local school teams – from elementary to high school – competed in the regional SeaPerch competition. The SeaPerch program, funded by the Office of Naval Research, is an innovative underwater robotics program that equips teachers and students with the resources they need to build an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Teams guided their remote-controlled submersibles through a series of tasks, including navigating an underwater obstacle course and retrieving weights. Teams also presented to a panel of judges about the overall projects. Two teams, both from the U.S. Department of Defense Education Activity Dahlgren School, won the competition and will go on to a national SeaPerch competition in Mississippi. A different buzz could be heard further down Campus Walk during the 8th Annual UMW High School Calculus Tournament. Six local high school teams, consisting of 23 students, competed in a jeopardy-style competition and used individual buzzers to signal the correct answers. The Paul VI High School team from Fairfax took home the championship title with team members Christina Wulff, Stephanie Ibanez and Stephanie Keener. The Mountain View High School team from Stafford finished second. Thomas Sheehan, also from Paul VI High School, earned the top individual score of the tournament. More than $600 in prizes were awarded to the student winners as well as the schools represented by the top two teams. The event was sponsored by Dynovis.

Up Close and Personal

Students had incredible encounters during a faculty-led trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Lift Off

Olivia Schiermeyer led fifth graders in a countdown as she manned a miniature rocket launcher at the “3…2…1 Lift Off” station. Several covered their ears in anticipation of the blast.

Lift Off

UMW honors students inspire young scientists.

Michael Killian and Dianne Baker Present at ABLE Conference and Publish Paper

Michael Killian, senior lecturer in Biological Sciences, and Dianne Baker, associate professor of Biological Sciences, had their paper “Corralling Wiggling Worms- Collecting Data for a Multi-Week Laboratory on the Effect of  Various Treatments on the Pulsation Rate of the Dorsal Vessel of California Blackworms (Lumbriculus variegatus)” published in Tested Studies for Laboratory Teaching, Proceedings of the 34th WorkShop/Conference of the Association for Biology Laboratory Education (ABLE). This peer-reviewed paper was written in support of an invited presentation (workshop) given at the annual ABLE conference at UNC-Chapel Hill, June 21, 2012.

Dianne Baker

Dianne Baker

Michael Killian

Michael Killian

In Search of Turtles

An uncommon reptile discovery will help shed light on the species in the Fredericksburg region.