Jared Fernandez, who graduates from the MA in Biomedicine program this week, explains his research during the April 21 Spring STEM Celebration at Suter Science Center. Forty projects were presented. (Photo by Andrea Cable)

Spring STEM Celebration showcases forty individual and group research projects

Senior Derek Harnish and sophomore Braden Herman were upperclass and underclass division winners, respectively, at last week’s Spring STEM Celebration poster show.

Harnish, who performed research under the supervision of Professor Jeffrey Copeland, studied the “Neuronal Basis for Aging in Drosophila melanogaster.”

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Shanae Scott, graduate student, presents her research. (Photo by Andrea Cable)

Herman won for his presentation of research on the effect of a high salt and high fructose diet on rats (his research was titled “The Effect of a High Salt and High Fructose Diet on the Expression of the NFAT5 Gene in Kidney and Intestine Samples of Sprague-Dawley Rats”). Herman works with Professor Julia Halterman in support of her Jeffress Grant-funded project.

Forty projects were presented. Some individuals worked specifically under professors in independent study projects. Others participated as part of required coursework. Professor Matthew Siderhurst’s alternative energy class, for example, presented a range of research on the topic.

The poster show, which is held in both spring and fall, provides undergraduates and graduate students with the opportunity to practice presentation skills in an informal setting. Several students have presented research in the campus setting before moving on to more prestigious venues.

Professors Greta Ann Herin (biology, biomedicine) and Danny King (physics, engineering) headed the judging panel, which also included Professor Abigail Berkey (biology), Professor Daniel Showalter (mathematics) and Professor Corey Cleland, a biology professor at James Madison University.

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Ben Zook and Andrew Troyer present research from their engineering mechanics class to Professor Dee Weikle. (Photo by Andrea Cable)

In the upperclass division, Kaylee Ferguson and Jared Fernandez, who also studied changes in gene expression related to dietary changes in rats with Halterman, finished in second place. Ferguson is a junior biology major and Fernandez a second-year MA in Biomedicine graduate student.

Third ​place went to Katherine Lehman for her research on Judas beetles. She is a research student with Siderhurst.

In the underclass division, Mason Stoltzfus and Maria Yoder won second place for their general chemistry project on the abilities of English ivy and forsythia to phytoremediate copper.

Phoebe Coffie and Maisie Kirkley won third place for their project on the variation of copper concentrations in contaminated soils between sunflowers and beans.

Both of these projects were for a general chemistry II class taught by Professor Stephen Cessna.

Quiz show elite win ‘The Romie’

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The Romie was awarded to Aubrey Shelly, Ayu Yifru, Robert Propst and Jonathan Patterson. (Photos courtesy of Daniel King and Esther Tian)

The quiz show team of “Mind AJAR” were the first recipients of “The Romie,” a bobblehead trophy celebrating Professor Roman Miller, for which the annual games are named. Miller retires this spring after 31 years at EMU (read about his long and dedicated career here.)

Mind AJAR consisted of Robert Propst, Aubrey Shelly, Ayu Yifru and Jonathan Patterson. All teams must include a senior, junior, sophomore and first-year student.

Second place was Stephan Goertzen, Noah Haglund, Hannah Weaver and Hannah Daley.

Third place went to Hannah Chappel-Dick, Tyler Denlinger, Maria Yoder and Kat Lehman.

Honorable mention went to the team of David Nester, Grayson Mast, Derek Harnish and RJ Ocampo.