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6 Virginia Tech undergraduates to present at the ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference

March 29, 2016

 Clockwise from top left, Hailey Boone, Lauren Cashman, Alyssa Debra,  Stephanie Dolezal and Nneoma Nwankwo.
2016 ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference participants are, clockwise from top left, Hailey Boone, Lauren Cashman, Alyssa Debra, Nneoma Nwankwo, and Stephanie Dolezal. Demetria Lee is not pictured.

Six undergraduate students will present their research at the 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Meeting of the Minds Conference, April 8-10 at Syracuse University.

The conference focuses on undergraduate research and scholarship at the 15 ACC member schools. This is the 11th year for the conference, which gives students an opportunity to present and share their diverse research with their peers.

The selected Virginia Tech students include:

  • Hailey Boone of Gainesville, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science. She will give a poster presentation titled “The occupancy dynamics of ground-dwelling forest birds in Ranomafana National Park, SE Madagascar.” Her mentor is Zachary Farris, a 2014 doctoral graduate from Virginia Tech’s Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation.
  • Lauren Cashman of Yorktown, Virginia, a senior majoring in biological systems engineering in the College of Engineering. She will give a poster presentation titled “Distributed thermistor for temperature monitoring of malnourished infants.” Her mentor is Dr. Andre Muelenaer with the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatric Medicine.
  • Alyssa Debra of Alexandria, Virginia, a junior majoring in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She will give a poster presentation titled “Isolation of new antimicrobials from growth-inducing soils.” Her mentor is Nammalwar Sriranganathan, professor of bacteriology in the Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Stephanie Dolezal, a senior dual degree major in art history in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and classical studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She will give an oral presentation titled “Uncovering antiquity: Hubert Robert’s ‘The Finding of the Laocoön.’” Her mentor is James Jewitt, instructor of art history in the School of Visual Arts.
  • Demetria Lee of Leesburg, Virginia, a senior majoring in philosophy, political science, and English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She will give an oral presentation titled “The same neutral hue: Phoebe Marks’ inconspicuous success.” Her mentor is Nancy Metz, professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
  • Nneoma Nwankwo of McLean, Virginia and Lagos, Nigeria, a senior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. She will give an oral presentation titled “I miss school because there are no latrines: Exploring the real cost of poor sanitation facilities on schoolgirls in underserved parts of sub-Saharan Africa.” Her mentor is Ralph Hall, assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies.

“We are proud to have these six young women represent Virginia Tech at the Meeting of the Minds Conference,” said Keri Swaby, coordinator of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “Their research and scholarship is diverse — the arts, international affairs, literature, science, and medicine — showcasing the breadth and depth of possible areas for our students to explore with our expert faculty.”

In addition to sharing research with their peers, the participants have a full schedule of tours, speakers, meals, and entertainment throughout the three-day conference.

The Office of Undergraduate Research opens up applications to represent Virginia Tech at the Meeting of the Minds early every spring semester. Selected students receive support for travel and accommodations. Interested students should check the office’s website regularly for updates about this conference, among other opportunities to become involved in undergraduate research and present findings.

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