Asbury student scientists win at state-wide research competition

Published 10:03 am Thursday, December 13, 2018

From staff reports

At Asbury University, students are given the agency to dip their toes into research in a variety of majors.

Students from the science and health department are not only given ample opportunity to conduct independent research projects, but they also present their findings at statewide and national competitions.

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Earlier this month, a group of six students traveled with Dr. Bruce Branan to the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) 2018 annual meeting to present their research. Two Asbury students were recognized for their hard work and dedication to their research.

Asbury students Ramon Guivas and Sarah Rhodes both recieved awards for their poster presentations in the ecology and agricultural sciences categories at the annual meeting.

Guivas, a biology and adventure leadership double major, took home the second-place ecology award. Rhodes, was awarded first place for agricultural sciences.

Held last month, the event drew hundreds of students from across the state who presented their research at the conference.

Rhodes, who is a senior biology major with a pre-medicine emphasis, said she wanted to challenge herself through her research endeavors before she walks across the graduation stage in May. She chose to conduct a presentation on the topic of “Assessing the Rising Plate Meter Method to Determine Forage Production on Organic Dairies.”

“I wanted to pick a topic that was new to me because I realized this would be one of the last opportunities for me to branch out of my major interests and discover new learning experiences, so I chose to study agriculture,” Rhodes said. “KAS is something Asbury participates in every year and my research advisor, Dr. Baldridge, thought it would be good for me to compete.”

Branan, who assists many students with their independent research in his courses, was proud to see Guivas and Rhodes take home awards, as he said their success speaks to the quality education students are receiving in the department.

“It is always exciting to see our students present at conferences such as the Kentucky Academy of Science,” Branan said. “They represented our science programs well.”

During the KAS annual meeting, students were also able to attend a mini film festival and enjoyed a free science policy workshop before oral presentation sessions began.

Rhodes said she found the process of conducting her own independent research to be empowering and looks forward to taking her experiences to medical school in the near future.

“I plan on applying for medical school soon and I have absolutely no background or experience in agriculture at all,” Rhodes said. “I decided to choose agriculture as my area of interest because I knew nothing about it and I wanted to challenge myself. I really wanted to use my research project as a learning experience. The fact that I won first-place just shows that if you set your mind to it, you can accomplish anything with God’s guidance.”