Roanoke College Students Travel to Snowbird, Utah for Biology Conference

by roanokecollege on September 17, 2015

Pictured above from left to right: Alex Kramer, Ben Walker, Seth Fortmann, and Rebecca Hudon

Roanoke College students Alex Kramer, Ben Walker, Seth Fortmann, and Rebecca Hudon traveled to Snowbird, Utah in mid-July of 2015. They attended the 74th Annual Meeting for the Society for Developmental Biology to present their research. Seth recently graduated from Roanoke College and works at Johns Hopkins University. Three current students, Ben, Alex, and Rebecca, were interviewed about their research experience.

Ben’s research topic was investigating the effects of atrazine on embryonic zebrafish development. He decided to do this research after finishing a similar study on estrogen. Ben won the award for Best Undergraduate Presentation, Honorable Mention and was one of only four undergraduate students to win an award at the conference.

Rebecca’s topic was assessing estrogenic pollution in the Roanoke River using embryonic zebrafish as a bioindicator. She decided on this topic because of her previous experience on the topic during her work in the lab and looks forward to her future endeavors.

Alex’s research topic is about aquatic toxicity of a dental sealant compound. He chose that topic because of its relevance to public health and the large impact it can cause on the industry.

When asked about how it is to work one on one with a professor, Alex said:

“I really enjoy working with Dr. Lassiter because [of] how accessible he is. Whenever I get to a new stage in my research, Dr. Lassiter has always been very helpful in explaining what I need to do next. After we decide what to do next, I am actually running the experiments and am collecting data on my own and at my own pace. Once the data has been finished being collected, we will meet together to analyze and interpret the results together”

Rebecca stated that her favorite part about presenting her research was the feedback she got from other researchers.

“While talking about my research with others I was often given advice about procedures and asked questions that I had not previously considered. These interactions have helped to shape the future of my project.”

Ben’s advice to any students who haven’t gotten involved in research is to find a field that interests you and approach any faculty who performs research that may interest you.

“Being able to use knowledge you learn from the classroom to make an impact, no matter how big, on your specific field is an extremely rewarding process.”

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