October 30, 2020

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 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.

UMW to Host STEM Events, March 29

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics will be in full swing at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, March 29 with the following events:

SeaPerch Competition

Local high school and middle school students come together to compete with SeaPerch robots or underwater remotely operated vehicles at the Anderson Center pool from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Check out www.seaperch.org for more information.

 STEM Summit 16

UMW will host the third annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit showcasing the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the Anderson Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. More information available at http://members.fredericksburgchamber.org/events/details/3rd-annual-stem-summit-3205

 Calculus Tournament

Six teams from regional high schools come together to compete in a tournament sponsored by the Department of Mathematics in Monroe Hall from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call or email (540) 654-1332(540) 654-1332 or llehman@umw.edu for more information.

 

UMW to Host STEM Summit, March 29

The University of Mary Washington will host the third annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit on Saturday, March 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Anderson Center. The annual event showcases the achievements of the region’s students, educators and businesses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Chem-lab-2Missy Cummings, director of the Humans and Autonomy Lab and associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, will deliver the keynote address at noon. She is a leading authority on drone technologies and human-machine collaboration and is one of the U.S. Navy’s first female fighter pilots. Featuring more than 40 local secondary schools, UMW, Germanna Community College and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, the event will include STEM-related booths and technology demonstrations throughout the day. This event is free and open to the public. For more information or to register, visit http://members.fredericksburgchamber.org/events/details/3rd-annual-stem-summit-3205.

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.

Symposium Showcases Student Research

Kimberly Hildebrand shares her poster presentation during the Summer Science Institute Symposium.

Kimberly Hildebrand shares her poster presentation during the Summer Science Institute Symposium.

University of Mary Washington students and faculty gathered in Jepson Hall on Wednesday, July 24 for a day dedicated to original STEM-related research. The Summer Science Institute Symposium was the culmination of 10 weeks of research for more than 20 undergraduate students and their faculty mentors.

During the symposium’s awards ceremony, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Richard Finkelstein, applauded the dedication of the faculty mentors and the innovation of the students’ projects. The importance of research, he asserted, is how it fosters in students the ability to think through abstract concepts with an eye toward practical applications.

Brooke Andrews (left) and Professor Nicole Crowder

Brooke Andrews (left) and Professor Nicole Crowder

Ngoc Quyen Huynh (right) and Professor Hai Nguyen

Ngoc Quyen Huynh (right) and Professor Hai Nguyen

The following students received awards for their research:

  • First Place Poster Presentation: Brooke Andrews, “Synthesis and Purification of 4,4′-di(n-alkyl)-2,2’bipyridine” Adviser: Nicole Crowder
  • Second Place Poster Presentation: Ngoc Quyen Huynh, “Fabry-Perot Interferometer” Adviser: Hai Nguyen
  • First Place Oral Presentation: Patrick Mullen, “Absorption Spectroscopy of Rubidium” Adviser: Hai Nguyen
  • Second Place Oral Presentation: Kathie Belrose-Ramey, “Locating the Binding Site of RAI1 within the CLOCK Regulatory Region” Adviser: Deborah Zies
Kathie Belrose-Ramey (right) and Professor Deborah Zies

Kathie Belrose-Ramey (right) and Professor Deborah Zies

 

A list of all student research projects is available in the symposium’s program.

 

STEM Summit Showcases Area Technology

The second annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit brought together more than 350 educators, students, community members and business leaders at the University of Mary Washington on Saturday, April 20. Click here to view the embedded video. The day-long event featured seminars on STEM programming in school districts and women in technology, as well as a STEM career panel.  The summit also included more than 45 projects from UMW, regional elementary and secondary schools, Germanna Community College, and local and regional businesses and nonprofit organizations. Six UMW offices and academic departments were represented at the summit, including the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Computer Science, the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, the Department of Mathematics, the Office of Admissions and a 3D printing demonstration. UMW computer science student David Peworchik was honored with the “SWIFT Scholarship in Computer Science” Award for the 2013-2014 academic year, which provides a merit scholarship to a top computer science major in the region. The scholarship is funded by the Society for World Interbank Financial Telecommunications, Inc (SWIFT). In addition, UMW students, Alex Gilley, Zach Goodwin, Jerome Mueller and Russell Ruud , were named as SWIFT Student Research Fellows for the 2013-2014 year.  They received funding from SWIFT and UMW to attend the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) conference  in San Diego in July.  The students will present their part of an interdisciplinary research project in the area of pharmaceutical discovery.  Their work with supercomputers and data analysis may lead to new treatments for diseases such as HIV and Tuberculosis, according to Associate Professor Karen Anewalt, chair of the Department of Computer Science. In conjunction with the summit, UMW held a titration competition and its seventh annual calculus tournament. In the team competition of the calculus tournament, the team from Paul VI High School in Fairfax came in first place and the team from the Commonwealth Governor’s School came in second place. In the individual competition, Jack Sweeney of Paul VI High School won first place and Lina Hong of Paul VI High School won second place. In the titration tournament, members of UMW’s honors general chemistry class won first place, followed by senior chemistry majors in second place. The summit culminated with a keynote lecture by David Kerr, a program lead in the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Communications.

UMW To Host Regional STEM Summit, April 20

The University of Mary Washington will host the second annual FredTech STEM 16 Summit on Saturday, April 20 to showcase innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics from across the region. The summit, co-sponsored by UMW, FredTech and the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, will be held at the Anderson Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The event will showcase STEM-related projects from students, educators and businesses. More than 25 local secondary schools and universities will participate, including UMW, Germanna Community College and the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren. Additionally, more than 50 booths will include STEM-related presentations. The summit also will include demonstrations on advancements in robotics and lasers and a STEM career fields panel. To register for the summit visit, http://fredericksburgregionalchamber.chambermaster.com/Events/details/stem-16-summit-2500 or call (540) 373-9400. For more information, contact Mary Garber, FredTech executive director, at Mary@fredericksburgchamber.org or George Hughes, the STEM 16 chairman, at ghughes@simventions.com.

Radio Show Features UMW Chemistry Professor

Leanna Giancarlo, chair and associate professor of chemistry at the University of Mary Washington, will discuss issues surrounding boosting student performance in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, during an interview scheduled to air on the “With Good Reason” public radio program. The program, “STEM Education in America,” will air beginning Saturday, Jan. 26. Giancarlo, one of four experts in the program, will explore the negative stereotypes of scientists in pop culture. The program also will feature Linda Rosen, the chief executive officer of Change the Education, Robert Tai, associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Special Education at the University of Virginia and Sevan Terzian, associate professor and associate director of graduate studies at the University of Florida’s College of Education. Giancarlo earned a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, after receiving a bachelor’s of science in chemistry from the University of Scranton. Giancarlo is a member of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society, the Virginia Academy of Science and the American Chemical Society. A recipient of UMW’s Alumni Association Outstanding Young Faculty Member Award, she also received a School of Arts and Sciences Dissertation Fellowship while at the University of Pennsylvania. “With Good Reason” airs weekly in Fredericksburg on Sundays from 1-2 p.m. on Radio IQ 88.3 Digital. To listen from outside of the Fredericksburg area, a complete list of air times and links to corresponding radio stations can be found at http://withgoodreasonradio.org/when-to-listen/. “With Good Reason” is the only statewide public radio program in Virginia. It hosts scholars from Virginia’s public colleges and universities who discuss the latest in research, pressing social issues and the curious and whimsical. “With Good Reason” is produced for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and is broadcast in partnership with public radio stations in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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News release prepared by: Sarah Tagg