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Westminster College Announces Environmental Symposium Awards

Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Westminster College students won numerous awards at the Dec. 6 Student Symposium on the Environment.  The event was hosted by Westminster Environmental Programs and co-sponsored by the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition with support from the Drinko Center for Experiential Education.  Awards were sponsored by Stream Restoration, Inc.

Oral and poster presentations were given by students from Westminster College, Slippery Rock University, Allegheny College, Butler Community College, Geneva College, University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, and Youngstown State University.

Among the award winners were Westminster students Lance Jubic and Tyler Umstead (Best Oral Presentation, "Creation of a Website as a Means of Enhancing Collaboration of Volunteers for Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring"); Kyle Filicky (Best Environmental Project Poster, "Habitat Evaluation of the Allegheny Woodrat"); and Christin Helwig (Best Environmental Science Research Poster, "Development Change in Neuromast Distribution in the Anterior Lateral Line of Muskellunge (Esox masquinongy)").

Among the honorable mentions were Westminster students Sabrina Rearick (Oral Presentation, "Policy Tools and Political Power: How the Natural Gas Industry is Maintaining Power over Hydraulic Fracturing Operations"), and Jubic (Environmental Project Poster, "Visual Comparison of Thiourea Dioxide Versus Yeast as Means of Deoxygenation of Indigo Dye Baths in a Nonscientific Setting"). Andrew Franze from Slippery Rock University was also given an honorable mention (Environmental Science Research Poster, "Analysis of Dreissena bugensis Shell Ca/Mg Rations and Ecological Implications in Lake Michigan").

During the symposium students from the "Wild Color" course displayed fabric collages on silk small tapestry weaving and felt wall-hangings. Students created the dyes from local plants and plants harvested from the dye garden at the College Nature Center. Weaving and felting works were created in part with regional wool from Churro sheep. The course is taught by Peggy Cox, professor of fine art.

The symposium was organized by Dr. Helen Boylan, Westminster associate professor of chemistry; Leslie Watson, secretary for the Environmental Programs office; Cliff Denholm from BioMost, Inc., and Wil Taylor from Jennings Environmental Education Center.

Moderators for the symposium were two Westminster sophomore environmental science majors: Mara Sawdy and Ashley Wyland.

In addition to the presentations there was a time for networking and a special guest presentation by Dr. Sarah Kennedy, Westminster assistant professor of chemistry. She discussed what chemists can do to help improve environmental sustainability.

Contact Boylan at (724) 946-6293 (email or visit for additional information on the symposium.

Environmental Symposium Award winners and Honorable Mention: (l-r) Lance Jubic, Tyler Umstead, Christian Helwing, and Sabrina Rearick.