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COS students earn 20 awards at ACES research symposium

College of Science students came away with 20 awards - by far the most of any college - during UTA’s 2016 Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students (ACES) symposium on March 23.

ACES is a university-wide, daylong event that showcases the best of students' research and creativity. Undergraduate and graduate students work with faculty mentors to write and submit abstracts for the competition. The approved abstracts are then turned into poster or oral presentations to be presented at the symposium. Monetary awards are given in graduate and undergraduate categories. ACES attracts an audience from a range of academic fields. Students and judges come from all disciplines, educational levels, and backgrounds.

“Our students are doing great work every day, as evidenced by the number of awards they received at this year’s ACES symposium,” College of Science Dean Morteza Khaledi said. “They are involved in cutting-edge research in a wide variety of fields, all of which fall within the key initiatives as outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan 2020. I’m very proud of all our students who presented at the symposium and am inspired by their achievements.

“I also want to congratulate all of the faculty members who helped our students succeed. These awards are a testament to the high quality of mentorship provided by our faculty.””

ACES award winners from the College of Science, the categories in which they were honored, along with their project titles, fellow group members and mentors, include:

Sustainability Awards
Daren Card, Biology, “Genome-wide evidence of evolution and adaptation in the invasive Florida python population”. Group members: Drew Schield, Richard Adams, Audra Andrew, Giulia Pasquesi, Blair Perry, and Nicole Hales. Mentor: Todd Castoe.

Allison Paige Wicker, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Assessing Remediation Protocols for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and their Metabolites in Contaminated Soils”. Group members: Doug D. Carlton Jr. Mentor: Kevin Schug.

Morning Graduate Oral Presentation
President’s Award - Jonathan Thacker, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Use of Mass Spectrometry to Detect Proteins Conferring Antibiotic Resistance to Bacteria”. Group member: Brad S. Pierce. Mentor: Kevin Schug.

Provost’s Award - Daren Card, Biology, “Genome-wide evidence of evolution and adaptation in the invasive Florida python population”. Group members: Drew Schield, Richard Adams, Audra Andrew, Giulia Pasquesi, Blair Perry, and Nicole Hales. Mentor: Todd Castoe.

Honorable Mention - Andrew Corbin, Biology, “Population structure and gene flow in Texas cave and spring salamanders”. Group members: Phillip Hejduk, Andy Gluesenkamp, and Todd Castoe. Mentor: Paul Chippindale.

Morning Undergraduate Oral Presentation
Provost’s Award - Zane Winer, Biology, “Understanding the relationships between urbanization, nitrogen deposition, and plant growth using a North Texas native species, little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)”. Group member: Michelle Green. Mentor: Laura Gough.

Dean’s Award - Jamie Schenk, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Carbohydrate Analysis using Gas Chromatography Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectroscopy in Comparison with Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry”. Group members: Xiaojian Mao, Jonathan Smuts, Gabe Nagy, Nicola Pohl, Phillip Walsh, Peter Kroll. Mentor: Kevin Schug.

Honorable Mention - Caitlynn Reeves, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Exploring Modified Vitamin B1 as an Antibiotic”. Group member: Diego Lopez. Mentor: Frank W. Foss Jr.

Afternoon Graduate Oral Presentation
President’s Award - Emmanuel Varona Torres, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Reducing Matrix Effects for the Quantification of BTEX in Contaminated Soils using Ionic Liquids in Headspace Analysis”. Group members: Michelle Reyes, Doug D. Carlton Jr. Mentor: Kevin Schug.

Provost’s Award - Evelyn Wang, Chemistry and Biochemistry,
Poster presentations are a big part of the ACES symposium.
“Investigating to Improve Protein Quantitative Analysis”. Group members: Dananjaya Kalu Appulage, Erin A. McAllister. Mentor: Kevin Schug.

Dean’s Award - Lauren Fuess, Biology, “No Free Lunch: Symbiodinium modulate coral immune response via the transforming growth factorbeta signaling pathway”. Group members: Jorge Pinzon, Contessa Ricci, Ernesto Weil. Mentor: Laura Mydlarz.

Honorable Mention - Nicole Hales, Biology, “Predator-induced Transgenerational Plasticity”. Group members: Matt Walsh, Drew Schield, Audra Andrews, Rich Adams, Daren Card. Mentor: Todd Castoe.

Afternoon Undergraduate Oral Presentation
Honorable Mention - Aiesha Calhoun, Psychology, “An Exploratory Qualitative Assessment to Identify Skills-Gap Perceptions Among Graduate Students, Early Work Professionals, and Industry Leaders in the STEM Fields”. Mentor: Nicolette Hass.

Graduate Poster Presentation
Provost’s Award - Daniel Kirkwood, Earth and Environmental Sciences “Stable Isotope Compositions of Early Eocene Carbonates Associated with Fluvial Sedimentation in Central Wyoming”. Mentor: Marie Fan.

Honorable Mention - Atreyi Dasmahapatra, Chemistry and Biochemistry, “Atomistic simulation and investigation of thermal conductivity of amorphous silicon boron nitride materials (a-SiBN)”. Mentor: Peter Kroll.

Honorable Mention - Cory Newell, Psychology, “What’s really influencing why you work out? Evaluating the effects of Stress, Physique Anxiety, and Self-Efficacy on Exercise Intentions”. Group members: Adeel Sajid, Daniel Tebbe. Mentor: Angela Liegey-Dougall.

Undergraduate Poster Presentation
President’s Award - Arunika Oyshi, Biology, “Effects of the circadian feedback genes on symbiotic nitrogen-fixing bacteria”. Group members: Christina W. Koo, Dylan B. Parks, Sanober Lateef, Sanjaya K. Shrestha, Dan C. Chu, HaeIn Lee. Mentor: Woo-Suk Chang.

Provost’s Award - Afsoon Gazor, Psychology, “The Serotonin Transporter Gene and Child Temperament: An Exploratory Genetic Analysis”. Mentor: Jeffrey Gagne.

Dean’s Award - Elizabeth Brown, Earth and Environmental Sciences, “Detrital Zircon U-Pb Geochronology and Sedimentary Provenance of Oligocene-Miocene Strata in South Texas”. Mentor: Majie Fan.

Honorable Mention - Taryn Flink, Biology, “Arctic wolf spider diet determined by stable isotope analysis”. Group member: Ashley Asmus. Mentor: Laura Gough.

Learn more about ACES here and find the complete list of winners as well as project abstracts here.

Posted April 12, 2016