Asbury University students excel at annual conference

Published 10:26 am Thursday, December 12, 2019

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From staff reports

Each year, Asbury University sends a number of its biology, chemistry and biochemistry majors to the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) Annual Conference providing a platform for bright, young minds across the state.
Students at KAS present their research to a panel of judges and professional researchers. Graduate and undergraduate students alike spend months in preparation and compilation for the final display of their conclusions.
Biology major Madeline Cox presented two of her research projects in different sections of the conference.
“The first was a study done on resource partitioning on two species of salamanders in western Virginia,” Cox said. “The second is a study being conducted on invasive honeysuckle at the Asbury trails.”
CJ Leow is also a biology major at the university. His project on the use of herbicides for weed control and their effects won second place in the category of agriculture.
“I was quite surprised that I got second place for the poster presentation in the agriculture category,” Leow said. “Last year, two students from Asbury won first and second place in their categories.”
To gather their data, students worked under professional researchers and professors. They then compiled all of their raw information and drew conclusions that they presented to the KAS committee.
“I spent a summer working at Mountain Lake Biological Station in Virginia gathering data on salamanders,” Cox said. “We would make them regurgitate their stomach contents and identify the insects found within. This enabled us to look for resource partitioning which would allow us to make conclusions about competition between the two species.”
Cox also conducted research with Asbury faculty.
“The other research has been in the making for about a year and a half at the Asbury trails,” Cox said. “Dr. Ruffner and I cleared a large plot of land of invasive honeysuckle.
We are planting native plants to see if they prevent the honeysuckle from re-growing as quickly.”
The event allowed students to not only gain experience in presenting their findings and receiving feedback on their research, but also to connect with professors from across the state. Students have the chance to network with these potential advisors about their thesis topics for graduate school.
For Asbury’s Science & Health Department, this event is the capstone of their research throughout their college career, akin to gallery presentations for artists or Highbridge Film Festival for media communication students. world.

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