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Biology and Environmental Science News

Jessica Kim, a biology major with minors in chemistry and theatre, has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will be posted to Cameroon upon graduation next May .

The Peace Corps is a global organization that has been involved in international development and citizen diplomacy for over 50 years. Its mission is to promote world peace and friendship, and it is involved in more than 139 countries.

Jessica decided to join the Peace Corps because she wanted to gain this amazing experience before applying to medical school. She is most excited about the opportunity to immerse herself in another culture and help others through medically related work. Jessica, being a theatre minor, was also recently featured in an episode of the popular show “House of Cards.”

Congratulations on your achievements, Jessica!

For more information about the Peace Corps please go to:

Taylore Willis, a Senior Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Biology and Psychology, participated in a 9-week program at the University of Montana located in Missoula. The program was sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the Introductory Multicultural Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (IM-SURE) office. While there she worked with the university's College of Forestry and Conservation under the direction of Dr. Cara Nelson. 

The research she is performing is looking to determine spatial variation of soil nematodes in western Montana grasslands, and is anticipated to be completed by spring 2015 with the Biology Department at Stevenson University. The things Taylore values most about her experience are the opportunities she was given to build professional connections, to conduct research heavily reliant on field work, and the fact that she will receive a guaranteed acceptance to her mentor's lab for graduate school. You can follow this link for more information:

“This was truly one of my best summers so far, and I am looking forward to seeing how this experience will prepare me for life after Stevenson.” –Taylore Willis


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!

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