February RC Research Newsletter

by roanokecollege on February 20, 2012

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Ms. Sarah Ahlbrand and Dr. Steve Powers

RC Senior Co-Authors Publication with Faculty Mentor

Congratulations to Dr. Steve Powers (faculty member in Biology Department) and Ms. Sarah Ahlbrand (senior in Biology Department ) for the recent acceptance for publication of their study titled “Systematics of the Ashy Darter, Etheostoma cinereum (Teleostei: Percidae) species complex (subgenus Allohistium)” in the international journal Zootaxa.  Ms. Ahlbrand: “It was a great experience and really helped me realize that I want to pursue a career in biology lab research.”  Sarah’s participation in the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) and Summer Scholars at Roanoke College gave her the opportunity to do research with faculty members and allowed for the completion of this project.   Due in part to her experience with research at RC, Sarah was able to secure admission and financial support to some of the premier Ph.D. programs in the country and will continue her research this fall as a graduate student.

Dr. Stella Xu and 4 RC Students to do Fieldwork in China this Summer

Congratulations to Dr. Stella Xu (History Department) for winning a Freeman Foundation Fellowship for Summer 2012. Dr. Xu and four Roanoke College students will be doing field work in China this summer. Read the blog post about this award.

Apply to Summer Scholars Program by March 15

Would you rather flip hamburgers (or paint houses or mow lawns) or spend a summer on the Roanoke campus using your mind? Would you like to get paid $2,500 (and free housing and independent study credit) for feeding your curiosity? Roanoke’s Summer Scholar Program is designed for serious students who want to use their summers wisely and work one-on-one with faculty. Every year, students compete to receive one of the coveted slots. Applications are due March 15, 2012. P.S. The application has changed, so see the Summer Scholars page for new details on what is required.

Top 5 Reasons RC students Should do REU Summer Research

  1. REU experience looks great on a grad school application.
  2. You can apply for RC Summer Scholars and REUs to decide whether you’d like to stay at RC or go elsewhere for research this summer.
  3. You experience what “big school” research is like.
  4. You will be paid a stipend to do research.
  5. You will get a realistic preview of graduate school.

Students, if you’re interested in doing research at a different college, you should look into NSF’s REU programs (REU = Research Experiences for Undergraduates). REUs are fantastic preparation for graduate school. The application process varies by school, but you can search for opportunities through the following website:


Find a Faculty Member to Work with on Research or Creative Works

Faculty research interests are posted under the “Faculty Research” section of the website.

Need Money to Present at a Conference? Apply now.

Students are eligible for funding to present their research or creativity at professional conferences. To apply, students should submit a request (including budget numbers) via: https://tiny.cc/travelfund. Funding is capped at $500 per student per year. Students planning to travel before June 30th should apply now for priority consideration.

Faculty Awarded External Grants

During  Fall 2011, the following faculty were awarded external grants:

  • Dr. DorothyBelle Poli was awarded a grant from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology for her project, “Bryological Respiration & Photosynthetic Comparisons: A Case to Connect Virginia High School Students to Active Research.”
  • Dr. Timothy Johann was awarded a renewal of his grant from the Jeffress Memorial Trust for his study, “Characterization of the Active Site of MTHFS.”
  • Dr. Catherine Sarisky was awarded a renewal of her grant from the Jeffress Memorial Trust for her study, “Purine Biosynthesis in Archaea.”
  • Dr. Gerry McDermott received a grant from the Gaillot Center for Newman Studies for his project, “Typology in the Thought of John Henry Newman.”

Present at on-campus Conference on Research & Creativity in March

Save the date: Friday, March 30, 2012, 4-7 p.m. in Colket.
Submit an Abstract by the Priority Deadline:  March 13.
We will begin reviewing submissions and making decisions on that date, though you can submit through March 20th at 11:59pm.

Online submission: https://tiny.cc/Conference2012

Any Roanoke College student can present research or creative work at the conference. Projects from class, independent study, URAP, honors, etc. are welcome.

Recent Student Research  Presentations Off-Campus

National Conference Presentations

  • Kayla Klingensmith presented at the Society for Integrative & Comparative Biology Annual Meeting in Charleston, SC in January 2012 on “Rapid Hemocyte Mobilization Following Acute Bacterial Exposure in the American Lobster.” Her research mentor was Dr. Dar Jorgensen  in Biology.
  • Paul Vines presented at the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston, MA in January 2012 on “Computational Model of Iron Metabolism in Breast Epithelial Cells.” Paul’s research mentor was Dr. Anil Shende  in Computer Science.

State Conference Presentations

  • Margaret Anderson presented at the Virginia Assessment Group conference in Williamsburg, VA in November 2011 on “Assessing Applied Learning Programs: The Role of Reflection.” Maggie’s research mentors are Dr. Kimberly Filer, Director of Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment and Dr. Julie Lyon of the Business Administration & Economics Department.

For more details on student-faculty research at Roanoke College, see https://roanoke.edu/research 

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