Undergraduate Student Presenters at Fall Research Day
Azusa Pacific University’s Department of Biology and Chemistry hosted its Seventh Annual Fall Research Day in Segerstrom Science Center Friday, September 20, 2013, which drew more than 90 attendees to hear research presentations from APU students. The event highlighted the current, ongoing research of APU students and faculty, consisting of two oral sessions and a dinner reception with other students presenting their research on posters displayed throughout the atrium. The evening ended with honoring some of the students with awards.
Dr. Kathleen Tallman, associate professor for the Department of Biology and Chemistry, organized this year’s event. She says its purpose is to allow students who researched over the summer to present their findings, and practice for future presentations at other conferences. “We want to train our students to present here where it's comfortable, and they feel comfortable in this setting with other faculty and other students,” Tallman said.
She says it also allows the rest of the APU academic community to see the current work happening in the department. “It benefits all of us by helping raise the level of scholarship at the university. Plus it’s training our students to go out and be advocates for APU at other venues and other national meetings,” Tallman noted.
Some students have presented before at other events and for others it is their first time presenting research. This preparation for future work motivates many students to participate in research opportunities and present in events like these. Senior biology major Alexis Barajas said last year’s event was the night before she left to present at an international conference in New Orleans, LA and that it made her ready for the large event.
“It isn't as nerve-wracking as going to these huge conferences, so I feel prepared for later on when we go to conferences to present…it breaks us into a little bit of what it's like to be at the big ones,” Barajas said.
Junior psychology major Lindsey Hutchinson pointed out the unique aspect of the day. “We are undergraduate students and we have an amazing opportunity here to do research, which isn't the case at a lot of other universities. This gives us practice for what we would do in graduate school,” Hutchinson said.
Each student researcher works alongside an APU faculty member who serves as their guide and advisor. The students choose which faculty member they want to work with, and join that professor’s ongoing research. In turn, the student receives help from the faculty member to formulate his or her own research and prepare the presentation.
Senior biology major Austin D. Layton says he “inherited” his topic, and worked on a topic the professor had been researching since her time in graduate school at USC. “The first three months was the process of me catching up and getting on point with the project. Since then it has been me essentially running the project from here,” Layton said.
Other students pick the professor to work with for personal reasons. Senior biology major Snay Mallick chose to work with a professor who was doing cancer research because she has an uncle that was diagnosed with colon cancer. “It has a special place in my heart,” Mallick said.
Award winners of the night included seniors Ethan Gerdts, applied health and Danielle Hart, biology, for their presentations, and sophomore Tyler Laird, applied health, and junior Jane (Yinghui) Huang, biology, for their posters.
The Fall Research Day is the first research event of the 2013-2014 academic year, with the next major APU science research event occurring in the spring at Common Day of Learning. Students will also present at other national and international conferences throughout the year.
Note: This information is current for the 2013–14 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog
for more information.