At this year’s 125th annual Texas Academy of Science conference nine students presented their research with five receiving awards for their work. For the last three decades, STEM faculty have taken students to the event supporting the TAS mission of promoting and encouraging scientific research at universities to enhance professional development of its professional and student members. Led by Biology Department faculty mentors Dr. Danielle D. Grove, Dr. Mark Gustafson, Dr. Robert M. Jonas, Dr. Stephanie Perez, and Dr. Kevin Tate, the group represented TLU and the university’s robust commitment to excellence in undergraduate research.
Attendees, presenters, and award recipients included:
Angela Garcia - attendee
Gilberto I. Lares- oral presentation in Biomedical Sciences on research performed at University of New Mexico during summer 2021 004.004
Detection of Sin Nombre Virus and other Orthohantaviruses on Wild Caught Rodents across the State of New Mexico. University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexcio. Gilberto Ian Lares, Samuel Melvin Goodfellow, Robert Anthony Nofchissey, and Steven Blake Bradfute
Spencer A. Lee – 3rd place poster presentation in Systematics and Evolutionary Biology
014.062 Bioengineering Microbes Using Natural Selection to Terraform Mars. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, TX. Spencer A. Lee, Robert M. Jonas
Michael A. Lopez – poster presentation in Terrestrial Ecology and Management
014.068 Effects of Huisache Removal in Areas of Blackland Prairie Restoration in Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. Michael Anthony Lopez, Mark Gustafson, and Alan Lievens
Jesse James Ramos- 2nd place oral presentation in Plant Biology
008.002 Molecular Identification of Oenothera plant specimens collected from Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, TX. Jesse Ramos, Mark Gustafson, Alan Lievens, Danielle Grove, Stephanie Perez
Crystal Rauschuber- poster presentation in Plant Biology
014.047 DNA Barcoding of Plant Specimens in Poaceae from Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. Crystal Rauschuber, Mark Gustafson, Alan Lievens, Danielle Grove, Stephanie Perez
Jacob Sagstetter – 3rd place poster presentation in Conservation Ecology
013.063 Plant Diversity in a Huisache-Dominated Area on the Weston Ranch, Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. Jacob Sagstetter, Mark Gustafson, and Alan Lievens
JaMaurey Webster - poster presentation in Plant Biology
014.048 DNA Barcoding of Amaranthus Plant Specimens from Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. JaMaurey Webster, Mark Gustafson, Alan Lievens, Danielle Grove, Stephanie Perez
Linden C. Williamson – 2nd place poster presentation in Cell and Molecular Biology
013.023 Effects of thermal exposure and feeding status on metabolic and cardiovascular processes in pulmonate land snails. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. Linden Claire Williamson, Joceline Arleth Lopez, Kevin Bryan Tate
Mattison Young - 2nd place poster presentation in Plant Biology
014.050 DNA Barcoding of Plant Specimens in Fabaceae from Guadalupe County, Texas. Texas Lutheran University, Seguin, Texas. Mattison Young, Mark Gustafson, Alan Lievens, Danielle Grove, Stephanie Perez
Science Jeopardy Team – 1st place
- Gilberto Lares
- Jesse James Ramos
- Crystal Rauschuber
- JaMaurey Webster
- Mattison Young
“Presentation of science research is a key step in the scientific process,” Dr. Danielle Grove said. “In addition, communication skills are important for all career fields. Attendance at TAS benefits students by enabling them to present their research in a professional setting, which is great preparation for graduate schools and professional schools like medicine and other health professions.”
Additionally, undergraduate students are also able to attend presentations by graduate students which can inspire them to pursue advanced degrees.
“Many graduate-school professors attend the TAS meeting and seeing awards to TLU students help raises awareness of our strong science programs,” Grove said. “Winning the Science Jeopardy competition against the other schools in attendance such as Southwestern, Mary Hardin-Baylor, and Temple where the students had to answer questions about Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics shows how well-rounded our students are with regards to STEM knowledge.”
The conference is also an excellent networking opportunity.
“TLU faculty network with other professors at potential graduate schools and get to know more about their expectations,” Grove said. “Students from TLU also get to know all their fellow classmates who attend to the meeting well. It’s fulfilling to see them not just form study groups but continue supporting each other in the future.”
Funding for research and event attendance provided by the STEM Undergraduates Reaching for Excellence National Science Foundation grant, the Peoples Fund, Student Government Association, the Weston Ranch Foundation, and the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
More About TLU’s TAS Chapter
When the university first began attending the conference, the TLU student chapter was one of the first of two student chapters in the state, and TLU hosted the 1999 annual TAS meeting. Dr. John Sieben, professor of Math and Computer Science, was president of TAS from 2003-2004 and Dr. Deborah Hettinger, professor of Biology (deceased), was Secretary of TAS for many years and the group’s advisor for most of her career at TLU. Dr. Mark Gustafson currently serves as the chapter’s academic advisor.
More About TAS
First founded by University Professors as the Academy of Science in Texas in 1880, the organization as we know it now emerged around 1929 and included a physicist, a botanist, a mathematician and two biologists as its founding members. Now, TAS publishes a peer-reviewed journal (The Texas Journal of Science since 1949), conducts an annual meeting that highlights research across 17 sections across the sciences, provides substantial funding opportunities for students (~$25,000 awarded annually) and facilitates expert testimony on policy issues related to STEM or science education. TAS membership approaches 600 individuals, with a large portion of the membership as students.