Athens, Ga. – More than 30 undergraduates studying in the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences competed in the third annual CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium April 18.
The symposium gives students a chance to highlight research they have completed this academic year and gives them experience presenting their work in a professional environment.
“We are very exciting to have this many students participate in undergraduate research. The quality of their work is excellent,” said Jean Bertrand, CAES assistant dean for academic affairs. “We hope this will encourage some of them to pursue graduate school and a research career. We need a lot of bright, young minds interested in solving problems related to producing food and protecting the environment.”
This year’s winners in the oral presentation competition are—in first to fifth place—Holly Young, agricultural communications; Forrest Goodfellow, biological sciences; Elizabeth Carr, food science and technology; Amber R. Williams, animal science; and Jessica Guthrie, animal science.
In the poster presentation competition, winners are—in first to fifth place—Buck Trible, entomology and ecology; Simone Lavani, animal science; Richard Evans, biological sciences; Charnae Ross, food science and technology; and Andrew Norton, food science and technology.
Winners received cash prizes ranging from $200 to $750.
This year dozens of students in the college completed an undergraduate research project. Faculty members, in disciplines ranging from food science to plant breeding, serve as mentors to undergraduate researchers.
Three of the students participating in this year’s symposium started their research careers during their high school years through the college’s Young Scholars Internship Program.
The Young Scholars Internship Program allows high school student from across Georgia to work in one of the college’s research labs during their summer vacation. The students earn money, learn job responsibility and are introduced to the work of agricultural scientists. The goal of the internship program is to encourage outstanding high school students to pursue careers in science, which many do.
Nakia Lee, a freshman from DeKalb County, started her research on the oxidation of beef during Young Scholars this past summer under Anand Mohan in the department of food science and technology.
Kelly Murray, a senior from Tifton, who is performing research on how the introduction of guppies affects insect populations in streams, started her research with a Young Scholars internship on the UGA Tifton Campus. She is now pursuing bachelor’s degrees in both ecology and entomology, working with researchers Marianne Shockely Cruz in entomology and Catherine Pringle in ecology.
Ridwan Amin Mahbub, a biological sciences major from Athens is working with Marin Talbot Brewer, is currently researching genetic markers that can be used to identify dormant fungus on blueberries. He started his research with a Young Scholars internship on the UGA Griffin Campus.
Other students who presented are Tae-Young Lee, Taylor Childress Lee, Brandon Lord, Brigid Burns, Josh Caldwell, Elizabeth Carr, Dervin Junior Cunningham, Jacquelyn Dahling, Cody Gibbs, Caitlin Hodges, Rachel Hughes, Jeanette Jiricek, Jenn Kicklighter, Delaney Kolich, Yeon Lee, Daniel Isaac Rodriguez-Grandose, Tori Staples and Emily Vermillion.