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Biology and Environmental Science News

Congratulations to Dr. Blatch for receiving a Faculty Development Research Grant from Stevenson. Her project will help determine why only some fruit flies are able to survive with little folic acid in their diet.  She and her research students “will test the hypothesis that with little folic acid in the diet, only some fruit flies can survive to adulthood because only some individuals have the “right” kinds of microorganisms living in them, those able to provide folic acid to the flies.”  Consequently, flies inherently lacking microbes that can provide the vitamin die, which causes the higher death rates seen in flies not consuming folic acid.  They will also determine at which developmental stage(s) the flies grow faster and when they are more likely to die when they rely on folates from their microbes. Good luck this semester!

Congratulations to Dr. Tucker for receiving the Faculty Development Scholarship Grant from Stevenson. Her project is titled “Incorporating Electronic Laboratory Notebooks (ELNs) into an Introductory Ecology Course” and its purpose is to introduce students to ELNs and collect data to assess the effectiveness of incorporating technology into an introductory field-based ecology laboratory course (BIO115L).  Dr. Tucker proposes to enhance the course by incorporating a collaborative ELN that is stored online via the cloud and accessible through a variety of interfaces (PC, tablet, smartphone).  Specifically, student groups will use a tablet to record experimental methodology and observations in the field.  At the end of each project, each student will analyze and document the group’s data independently, as previously determined to meet the course objectives.  Using the ELN will help students to more efficiently collect and share data among their groups.  Incorporating ELNs in introductory courses will help to get students prepared to use ELNs in practice for their research and in upper-division undergraduate courses. Good luck this semester!

Forensic Science graduate student Kari Norquist (BS BT ’14) is performing her forensic science internship in Washington, D.C. She is one of our first BS/MS students in the Biotechnology/Forensic Science program and she will be completing her graduate studies this school year. The link to the story can be found below. It also includes a video that shows Kari working with the instrument. Way to go Kari!

Congratulations to Senior Biology major Sergut Admasu for winning the Stevenson University Student Employee of the Year Award this past April. Sergut works as the Front Desk Coordinator in the Academic Link. She started working there in Fall 2011 as a Front Desk Receptionist, but was promoted to Front Desk Coordinator in Spring 2012.

She also won the North East Association of Student Employment Administrators Student Employee of the Year. Each spring, the National Student Employment Administration coordinates a Student Employee of the Year competition in conjunction with the regional affiliates. The Northeast region includes Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, Virgin Islands, Vermont, and Washington, D.C. Congrats on this achievement as well Sergut!

Kerry Lambert, a rising Senior Biology major, performed research with Dr. Obae during this year’s S3RP program. Her research dealt with making a molecular key to identify Japanese barberry cultivars. When asked what she liked most about this research, she said the subject matter and the lab techniques. This was Kerry’s first research experience.

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