Thursday, June 11, 2015

UVI Student Researchers, Largest in History, Present at NSF Conference

UVI students, faculty and administrators pose for a fun photo at the 2015 Emerging Researchers National Conference

Fourteen University of the Virgin Islands students, representing the largest contingent in the University’s history, attended the 2015 Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM,) in Spring 2015 in Washington D.C. The UVI students from the College of Science and Mathematics were also accompanied by six faculty members.

UVI student poster presentations at the ERN Conference displayed the results of research projects students were engaged in during summer research experiences at UVI and abroad. “Our students were selected along with hundreds of other students from across the country to present posters after a competitive application process in which they submitted a scientific abstract for approval,” said Aimee Sanchez of the UVI Emerging Caribbean Scientists (ECS) Programs. “It is the largest group ever to participate and represent UVI in history.”

The objectives of the ERN conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. The conference is aimed at college and university students.

Two UVI students, Rafael Almonte and Jamar Liburd, received awards for their outstanding poster presentation after a rigorous review process from judges at the conference. Liburd won first place in the category of nanoscience and physics for his presentation titled “Swift Observations of the Recent X‐ray Activity of Eta Carinae.” The research for his presentation was part of his summer research experience conducted at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies with Dr. David Morris, director of the UVI Etelman Observatory and assistant professor of physics. Rafael won first place in the category of Technology and Engineering for his presentation titled, “Testing of a Narrow Gap Detector Designed for a Sensitive X‐ray Polarimeter.” Rafael was also mentored by Dr. Morris at the NASA Goddard Institute.

Attendance to the conference is funded through National Science Foundation (NSF) programs. Several students also received travel awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and UVI sponsored the rest through funding from the NSF Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program grant.

Other student presentations at the 2015 ERN Conference include:

· Sherika Alexis - “Low level of Chytrid Fungus Found on the Island of St. Thomas.”

· Darnel Allen - “Investigating the Electronic Properties of Doped CVD Graphene.”

· Keturah Bethel - “Spillover Effects in Catalysis by First Principles.”

· Shakim Cooper - “Determining the Limiting Magnitude of the Virgin Islands Robotic


· Nichole Etienne - “A Study of Classification Accuracy of the Hunt Algorithm using

Entropy and Gini Measurements on Breast Cancer Wisconsin Dataset.”

· Gejae Jeffers - “Chlorophyll - A Concentration in Bioluminescent Mangrove Lagoon, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.”

· Lorne Joseph “Spectroscopic Elucidation of the Equilibria Involving Pyridine and Its

Analogues with Cobaloximes in Various Solvents.”

· Ruel Mitchel - “Neutron Stars.”

· Bonnie President - “Sophorolipid Production Using Candida Bombicola.”

· Ariane Ramsundar - “Absorption Studies on a Clinoptilolite Packed Column for Treatment of Septic Tank Effluent.”

· Omani Tuitt - “Antioxidant Activity in Commercial Spices.”

· Elangeni Yabba - “Comparison of Hydrophilic and Lipophilic Antioxidant Activity

between Commercial and Fresh Herbs.”

· Ykeshia Zamore - “Surface Segregation in Mixed Oxides.”