Monday, January 29, 2024

Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition: 16th Annual Student Symposium On The Environment Draws Over 130

January Catalyst newsletter from Butler County-based Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition included this article on Westminster College Student Symposium On The Environment in Lawrence County.

The 2023 Student Symposium on the Environment was hosted at Westminster College’s McKelvey Campus Center on December 7th and drew in over 130 attendees. 

Each year, this Symposium showcases the incredible research, internships, projects, service work, and artwork completed by students from several regional schools. 

A total of 74 projects were presented by students from six colleges and universities, including Westminster College, Saint Vincent College, Chatham University, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Thiel College, and University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, as well as from four high schools, Butler Senior HS, Central Valley HS, Wilmington Area HS, and Neshannock HS. 

As always, an impressive variety of topics were presented, including, but not limited to: pollution impacts on wildlife, behavioral/population changes of local Pennsylvania species, and microbial influences on the environment.

Winners were celebrated across seven major categories: Environmental Project Posters, Environmental Research Posters, Oral Presentations, High School Presentations, Painting, Photography, and Creative Works, and were awarded cash prizes sponsored by BioMost, Inc. and Stream Restoration Inc.

This year’s winners and honorable mentions were:

-- Environmental Project Winner: “Alaskan Fisheries Internship” by Bridgette Gorg, Saint Vincent College

-- Environmental Project Honorable Mention: “DIY Raman Spectrophotometer” by Zachary Burghgraef, Ellian Ascencio, Charles Moller, and Lucas Whitcomb, Westminster College

-- Environmental Research Poster Winner: “Utilization of under-road culverts by wildlife in riparian corridors” by Noah Gray, Westminster College

-- Environmental Research Poster Honorable Mention: “Variation in offspring sex ratio in American kestrels (Falco sparverious)” by Aislinn Andrews, Westminster College

-- Oral Presentation Winner: “Are deer exclosures really doing any good? Exploring native plant abundance and the legacy of white-tailed deer overbrowsing” by Gillian Revenis, Chatham University

-- Oral Presentation Honorable Mention: “It’s an acquired taste: Annotation, phylogeny, and expression of gustatory receptors in Culex quinquefasciatus provides insight to mosquito host preference” by Sarah A. Parker, Chatham University

-- High School Presentation: “Advanced Scientific Research Student Projects - Works in Progress” by Mr. Chris Cassano’s Advanced Scientific Research Students: Paige Buckwalter, Colin Hill, Ellie Cullen, Linnea Funari, Emily Fuchs, Ellie Postema, Casey Lukacs, Sonya Merz, and William Huff, Wilmington Area School District

-- High School Presentation Honorable Mention: “Integrating Place-Based Education into the Classroom Through Bird By Bird” by Sarah Maloney, Neshannock High School

-- Photography: “Historic Kijik Village as Viewed from Floatplane” by Bridgette Gorg, Saint Vincent College

-- Photography Honorable Mention: “Busy Bee” by Amelia Lenz, Neshannock High School

-- Painting: “Lazarus Species: Costa Rica Golden Toads” by Joshua Glaser, Westminster College

-- Painting Honorable Mention: “Field Guide: Cantharellus” by Hannah Piccirilli, Westminster College

-- Creative Works: “The Words of Westminster” by Amelia Mason, Kathryn Rankin, and Aaron Snyder, Westminster College

-- Creative Works Honorable Mention: “Ingesting Toxins” by Olivia Hodil, Kevin Wright, Connor Hutchison, Westminster College 

Additional photos are available online.

The new logo for the Student Symposium on the Environment was updated for this year’s event (pictured on the right) and was designed and presented by Hannah Plowman, a junior Strategic Communications and Social Media major at Westminster College. 

Congratulations to the winners and to all the students for their remarkable work. Their hard work is recognized and appreciated. 

We also extend our appreciation to the judges for volunteering their time, to Westminster College for hosting the event, and to all the attendees who came out to support the students’ work. 

The Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition was happy to have once again been involved as a co-host for this amazing event. 

Visit the 2023 Student Symposium on the Environment webpage to view the online showcase of virtual components to the Symposium, poster presentations, oral presentations and more!

Next Symposium

Next year’s symposium is already scheduled to be held on Thursday, December 5th, 2024, so save the date. 

Click Here to read the entire newsletterClick Here to sign up for your own copy.

For more information on programs, projects, upcoming events and how you can get involved, visit the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition website.  Follow them on FacebookClick Here to sign up to sign up for regular updates.

The Butler County-based Coalition was established in 1994 to restore land, water and wildlife resources in the Slippery Rock Watershed.

[Posted: January 29, 2024]  PA Environment Digest

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