Roanoke College Senior Presents at Biology Conference

by roanokecollege on April 25, 2014

This past January RC senior Grace England presented her research project at the Meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB), in Austin, TX. Grace’s project was “Does the ventilatory pump affect the gill circulation in blue crabs and lobsters?” and her faculty mentor for this project was Dr. Dar Jorgensen. She and Dr. Jorgensen took data that previous students gathered for this project and combined it with data that Grace collected to support the hypothesis of the ventilatory pump’s involvement in the gill circulation. Grace has been doing research at Roanoke since May 2013.

Grace first became interested in research during her freshman year when she was in Dr. Jorgensen’s Biology 125 lab. Grace explains that he saw her potential for doing research and invited her to get involved and to shadow an upperclassman:

“Through watching research first-hand, understanding its relevance, and expanding my understanding of biology through my 2nd-year courses, I became increasingly intrigued in the physiology research in Dr. Jorgensen’s lab.  I couldn’t wait to start my own research over the summer!”

This was Grace’s first time presenting this particular project and she states that:

“It was truly incredible to come together with Ph.D. scientists, post-doctoral students, graduate students, and undergraduate students like myself to learn from each other.  I went into the conference extremely nervous about presenting.  After the fact, I realized that my nerves had come from all of my previous presentations, in which the audience (a professor or judges) knew more about my topic than I did and were judging me based on how close I came to the ‘right’ answer.  In contrast, with this project, there was not a previously-know ‘right’ answer, and I quickly realized that the people talking to me about my research were not judging me, but were purely interested in the science involved in my project.”

For students considering research opportunities, Grace says:

“Go for it.  Don’t be afraid to approach a professor about research; their research is what they like to talk about most, and they’ll be happy to answer all the questions you have!  The professors at Roanoke will help you find your place, whether in their own lab or a different professor’s lab.  As a result of doing research, you will learn so much—about your subject, about the process of research (including perseverance!), and most importantly, about yourself.  This will help you in any and all future endeavors, wherever life leads you. “

For more information on the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, visit:

Previous post:

Next post: