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Scholarship and Awards for Female Students at Research Appreciation Week Women in Math, Science, and Technology Event

Posted on 4/11/2017 4:35:25 PM

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics sponsored the annual Research Appreciation Week program to highlight scholarly accomplishments of female graduate and undergraduate students as well as faculty. Women in Mathematics, Science, and Technology was held on Monday, April 3.

The program includes a poster competition for women scientists and a panel discussion about women in STEM fields.

2017 Hilliard Robertson Memorial Scholarship winnerPatricia Hilliard-Robertson Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Female Science Student

The Patricia Hilliard-Robertson Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Female Science Student is given annually, and the 2017 recipient was Jakyra Simpson, a chemistry pre-pharmacy major.

The scholarship was established as a living legacy for Dr. Patty Hilliard-Robertson, a 1985 graduate of IUP from Homer City who died May 24, 2001, in Houston. 

In the summer of 2001, Hilliard-Robertson had been assigned as a crew-support astronaut for the Expedition Two crew that was preparing for service aboard the International Space Station.

Simpson is also the recipient of the Edward Brown Memorial Scholarship and the IUP Chemistry Academic Achievement Award. She is in the McNair Scholars program at IUP, which is designed to prepare undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities.

She is a member of the American Chemical Society, Alpha Chi Sigma, Residential Hall Council, IUP Boxing Club, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. 

This year’s panelists were three IUP alumnae: Sally Amero, who serves as National Institutes of Health review policy officer; Donna Olejniczak, project manager at Noveome Biotherapeutics, Inc.; and Mary Sewatsky, chief medical officer and patient safety officer at Moses Taylor Hospital, Scranton.

College-Level Poster Session Awards

This year, a total of 45 students presented 38 posters judged by a panel of IUP faculty. Winners and their projects were:

Graduate Student Awards

  • First place: Elisabeth Smith, a biology and nutrition major from Indiana, “Effects of the Antihistamine Fexofenadine on Body Fat, Glucose and Body Weight: Impact of Dietary Fat Type and Pre-Drug Run-in Period;” research project advisor, Dan Widzowski.
  • Second place: Karli Rogers, a biology major from Philadelphia, “Assessment of Brook Trout Passage through Ambiguous Culvert Barriers in Pennsylvania Headwater Streams;” research project advisor, David Janetski.
  • Third place: Kusuma Anand, a biology major from Slippery Rock, “The Importance of Gender and Reward Contingencies in Auditory Discrimination Tasks for the Zebra Finch;” research project advisor, Paul Nealen.

Undergraduate Student Awards

  • First place: Mary Chey, a biology major from Lebanon, “qPCR Analysis of Tomato Mosaic Virus (ToMV) Viral RNA from Different Environmental Substrates;” research project advisors, N. Bharathan and Seema Bharathan.
  • Second place: Christina Maziarz, a biology major from Spring City, “Chronic administration of a clinically relevant dose of H2 antagonist ranitidine to female mice has no effect on body weight or abdominal fat accumulation;” research project advisor, Dan Widzowski.
  • Third place: Anna Manges, a biology major from Indiana, “Water Mite Parasitism of the Asian Bush Mosquito and Asian Tiger Mosquito: A Putative Vector of Zika Virus;” research project advisor, Tom Simmons.

Science Education Award

Korey Dailey, a biology education major from Dingmans Ferry, “The Effects of Nearpod on Student Learning in a Keystone Biology 9 Class;” research project advisor, Holly Travis.

Best Computational Science Poster

Gerneleh Paye, a biology pre-med major from Folcroft, “Sex Differences in the Circadian Effects of Adolescent Alcohol Exposure;” research project advisor, Christina Ruby.

High School Poster Session Awards

In addition to the IUP students, seven Indiana Area High School students participating in the Science Club Research Collaboration Project, coordinated by Holly Travis, also presented their work during the poster competition.

Three high school posters were selected as the most outstanding: Layan Jouhari, “The Fungus Among Us” (IUP research project advisor is N. Bharathan); Shane Moran, “Fresh vs. Frozen: A Study of Insect Growth” (IUP research project advisor is Holly Travis); and Tian Schiera “Comparison of AMF Diversity in Goldenrod Roots” (IUP research project advisor is Ellen Yerger).

Photo Information: From left, Ilse Hilliard, mother of the late Patricia Hilliard-Robertson; Jakyra Simpson, the 2017 winner of the Patricia Hilliard-Robertson Memorial Scholarship for Outstanding Female Science Student; and Deanne Snavely, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at IUP