Recent SBS student Kylie Noelle Perez honored for her research on biological and sociological characteristics that makes a human being at the seventh annual Showcase for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) in today’s Daily Evergreen.
Recent SBS Assistant Professor Dr. Jim Cooper analyzes fish skull development and evolutionary success in today’s WSU Insider.
Looking to get some research experience this summer? The following SBS faculty members are looking for undergraduates to work in their labs. Email them directly to apply!
At WSU Pullman:
Dr. Wes Dowd (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Project: Multiple stressors of tidepool copepods
Project: Stress and disease ecology in the wood frog – ranavirus system
Dr. Ben Harlow (email@example.com)
Project: Gaining technical lab experience in the WSU Stable Isotope Core Facility
Dr. Mechthild Tegeder (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Project: Molecular biology of plant nutrient dynamics
At WSU Vancouver:
Dr. Jonah Piovia-Scott (email@example.com)
Project: Amphibian conservation in the Cascades and Sierras
Pictured: Erika Serrano
Recent SBS Clinical Assistant Professor Dr. Elly Sweet is honored with March 2018 Crimson Spirit Award featured in today’s WSU Insider.
By: Sophia O’Brien
WSU’s inaugural Week of Women in STEM will be held April 2-5. It is a week to celebrate, acknowledge, and inspire women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Women remain underrepresented in all fields of STEM, and are continually paid less than their male counterparts. Women can be credited for many accomplishments in science, but have historically been shadowed by male peers. While there are pioneers for women in the STEM fields like Jane Goodall, Rachel Carson, Mary Leakey, and Rosalind Franklin, young girls are still in dire need of role models in their everyday lives. The week is designed to help Washington State University women in STEM gain the confidence they need to excel in their futures.
On Monday, a screening of the acclaimed movie Hidden Figures will take place, it is the story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. CUB Auditorium at 8 p.m.
Events continue on Tuesday with a keynote address by Cougar Alumnae, Starbucks Executive V.P. and Chief Technology Officer, Gerri Martin- Flickinger.
A dinner on Wednesday night will include a networking session and panel discussion with STEM professionals. Dr. Noel Schulz, WSU First Lady and professor in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, will moderate the discussion. This is a private event that required previous registration and invite.
Thursday includes workshops by AAUW on salary negotiations. It will compromise of two workshops, one for those just beginning in their careers, and another on how to advocate for a raise or promotion. AAUW’s research on the gender pay gap shows that, one year out of college, women are already paid significantly less than their male counterparts.
The week wraps up with showings of WSU Performing Arts production of the play Silent Sky. Based on the true story of astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, the play explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed—until men claimed credit for them.
Dr. Irene Pepperberg will present the 2018 Robert Jonas Lecture in Biological Sciences, “Cognitive and Communicative Abilities of Grey Parrots,” on Tuesday, March 27, at 6:00 p.m. in Todd Hall, 230. Pepperberg is a lecturer and research associate at Harvard University and well known for her comparative studies into the cognitive fundamentals of language and communication. She was one of the first to work on language learning in animals other than the human species. She is also active in wildlife conservation, especially related to parrots.
The 2018 Robert Jonas Lecture is sponsored by the WSU Zoology Club, School of Biological Sciences, and College of Arts & Sciences. The lectureship was established in memory of professor “Bob” Jonas, who taught biology and wildlife management at WSU for 25 years, and brings to campus prominent speakers on important conservation and environmental topics.
Recent SBS PhD Dr. Omar Cornejo & Joanna Kelley’s work on population genetics is featured in today’s CAS Story Hub.
By: Sophia O’Brien
Senior Claire Popke, doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, especially if there are earthworms involved.
A few semesters ago, Popke decided she wanted to get involved in research as an undergraduate at WSU. Now she works closely with University of Idaho professor, Dr. Jodi Johnson-Maynard, analyzing soil samples’ isotopic C:N values in hopes of finding a relationship between earthworms and soil quality. This tells them how healthy the soil is by comparing the amount of carbon to the amount of nitrogen. They are looking into how the soil microbiology is affected by invasive and noninvasive earthworm species. Studying earthworms becomes challenging because, according to Popke, most earthworms are invasive species from Europe.
Because invasive species typically carry the connotation of being bad for a native area, Dr. Johnson-Maynard wanted to look into that relationship with earthworms. Invasive earthworms can damage the organic earth matter that sits on the forest floor. This could cause a transformation between of the relationships between plants and animals and the soil. Dr. Johnson-Maynard, her team of graduate students, and Popke are researching how these invasive earthworms could be affecting the Palouse environment.
According to Popke’s preliminary findings, there might not be a huge difference between native and invasive earthworms.
“Earthworms just seem to help the soil, whether they’re invasive or not,” she said. “This is different from most invasive species which are shown to be harmful.”
Popke grew up outside of Seattle in Edmonds, WA and has always been fascinated by earthworms. When she decided she wanted to get involved in undergraduate research, she looked to one of her favorite professors, Dr. Dave Evans. After class one day she asked if she could work in his lab, and soon began work with one of his graduate students. Popke began with helping the graduate student analyze her soil samples until Dr. Evans asked how she felt about earthworms; once he learned of her unique love for earthworms, he put her in contact with Dr. Johnson-Maynard at U of I.
Popke graduates this May from WSU and will head to Thailand the following month for a veterinary service. She plans on having that be a deciding factor in whether to pursue veterinary school or not. Popke feels she made find the conservation part of the project more exciting than the veterinary studies.
Undergraduate research has been a staple in Popke’s experience here. Not only did she feel more prepared for her microbiology classes because of it, but she feels more prepared for graduation in general.
By: Sophia O’Brien
SBS professor Dr. Michelle McGuire has been named the winner of the American Society for Nutrition’s (ASN) 2018 Excellence in Nutrition Education Award.
The Excellence in Nutrition Education Award is given for outstanding contributions in teaching nutrition. The award is given to a senior investigator who demonstrated superior ability as an educator in nutrition science, as shown through acknowledged excellence in nutrition teaching or nutrition education research and original contributions to teaching and translating new discoveries into classroom or educational materials. Dr. McGuire will receive the award this coming June during ASN’s Nutrition 2018 hosted in Boston, MA. She is currently researching the variability and regulation of milk composition in humans. Dr. McGuire believes that understanding milk constituents is important for both scientific and public health purposes.