Students From Across Disciplines Present Research

Cole Eskridge ’12 explains his findings on terrestrial nematodes in Virginia during Student Research and Creativity Day. Photos by Norm Shafer.

Biology major Cole Eskridge ’12 presented a project at this year’s Student Research and Creativity Day that got its start at last year’s Summer Science Institute. The two events, designed to foster UMW’s ongoing emphasis on undergraduate student research, worked in tandem to produce Eskridge’s worm-related work, “Phylogenetic Analysis and Diversity of Free-Living Terrestrial Nematodes in Virginia.”

Spotlighting undergraduate research across disciplines – from the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and math) to art and the humanities – this pair of programs showcases the hard work and long hours students pour into an array of projects each semester. Presentations allow participants to share their methods and findings and to answer questions posed by their peers.

Drema Khraibani ’13 talks about wind energy in the Middle East.

More than 100 undergraduates from each discipline the University offers took part in April’s sixth annual UMW Student Research and Creativity Symposium. Topics included such areas as soil erosion, wind energy, zombie films, and mad cow disease. Either in oral presentations or visually through posters and artwork, participants reported the essence of their studies, which can take several months of work and often represent collaboration between students and professors.

Co-directed by Assistant Professor of Biology Deborah Zies and Professor of Mathematics Debra Hydorn, the Summer Science Institute supports research in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, physics, mathematics, and computer science.

Kiersten Anderson ’13 (left) and Ali McClellan ’13 present the results of research on spoken language in children.

Research includes subjects like the impact of development on water quality, producing iPhone games for elementary schools, and gene cloning. Nearly 40 students and faculty members participated in this year’s summer session. Students shared the results of their research during a symposium in July.