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Drinko Center Announces Environmental Symposium Awards

Posted on Thursday, December 15, 2011

Westminster College students won numerous awards at the Dec. 8 Student Symposium on the Environment.  The event was hosted by Westminster and co-sponsored by the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition.  Awards were sponsored by Westminster's Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Oral and poster presentations were given by students from Westminster and Allegheny Colleges, Slippery Rock University, and Slippery Rock High School

Among the award winners were Westminster students Andrew Clark, Nathaniel Delk, Kelly Gould, Caitlin Roberts, and Cory Seese (Best Oral Presentation - "Removal of Metal Pollutants from Western Pennsylvania Wastewater with Recovered Manganese"); Caleb Smathers and Haley Gabor (Best Science Poster Presentation - "Chemical Analysis and Sub-Lethal Effects of Produced Water from Natural Gas Drilling on Zebrafish (Danio rerio) Embryos and Larvae"); Hilary Stenger (Honorable Mention Oral Presentation - "Environmental Health: Mosquito Control"); Jordan Zabo (Honorable Mention Science Poster Presentation - "The Effects of Male-Produced Olfactory Cues on the Sex Ratio of Jewel Wasps, Nasonia vitripennis, under Local Mate Competition"); and Rebecca Beers, Matthew Pereslucha, and Tyler Umstead (Honorable Mention Non-Science Presentation - "Mordant and Temperature Effects on Logwood-Dyed Wool Yarn").  Elyse Schmitt of Allegheny College earned the award for Best Non-Science Presentation ("Urban Aquaponics").

Student work was displayed from the cluster "Pattern and Process in the Natural World," a course that paired the disciplines of biology and art to explore patterns, processes, and colors found in nature.  Beers, Pereslucha, and Umstead, who were part of the cluster, entered a separate poster.  Their project described how temperature and different metal ions interact to change the color produced by logwood, a natural plant-based dye.  The cluster was taught by Peggy Cox, professor of art, and Dr. Ann Throckmorton, professor of biology.

Two of the Westminster students, Smathers and Noel Galuschik, received Drinko Center undergraduate research grants to assist in conducting their research.

The Drinko Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning was created to enrich undergraduate education at Westminster through advancing world-class teaching as well as by participating in collaborations that address community and regional needs including strengthening K-12 education.  The Undergraduate Research Initiative provides funding for students to conduct research and to present their research at regional and national conferences.  Click here for more information about the Drinko Center and its programs.

Contact Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster associate professor of chemistry and symposium organizer, at (724) 946-6293 (email) or click here for additional information on the symposium.

(L-r) Elyse Schmitt (Allegheny College), Kelly Gould, Andrew Clark, Cory Seese, Nathaniel Delk, Caitlin Roberts, Hilary Stenger, Caleb Smathers
Matthew Pereslucha (l), Rebecca Beers, Tyler Umstead