Centre students win awards at Kentucky Academy of Sciences meeting
December 1, 2011 By Elizabeth Trollinger
Academy of Sciences meeting, including Hillary Botts '13, for
research she conducted with associate professor of psychology
Brian Cusato (above).
A group of Centre students recently held their own — and then some — against major research universities at the annual meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences (KAS).
Two Centre students won awards for papers presented at the KAS meeting, while several other Centre students also won awards for poster presentations. The KAS event is open to undergraduates from any college or university in the Commonwealth.
Ben Slone ’13, a chemical physics major, was awarded first place for his oral presentation in the engineering section of the paper presentations, one of sixteen sections possible for entry. Slone’s paper examined research he conducted while completing an internship at Northwestern University last summer.
Hillary Botts ’13, a behavioral neuroscience major, won third place in the psychology section of the paper presentations for presenting research she has been doing with associate professor of psychology Brian Cusato.
“Hillary and I have been working together for about a year now, and she’s a pleasure to work with – she basically runs my lab. We study the social behavior of birds and the learning that occurs in social situations,” Cusato says. “The fact that she was able to pull together research from this summer and win this award — competing against people from other, bigger Kentucky institutions — is impressive.”
Biology major Andrew Howard ’13 won second place in the physiology and biochemistry section of the poster presentation awards for research he completed at Georgetown University last summer.
“My presentation dealt with understanding the role that sodium reabsorption plays in regulation of blood pressure in the kidneys,” Howard explains. “I utilized radioactive tracers to monitor sodium uptake in renal proximal tubule cells (HK2 cells).”
Howard plans to continue to use the findings from his research in a future career.
“I’m hoping to pursue a career in academic medicine, so I hope this research will result in a publication, and serve as a starting point for that career,” he says.
A group of psychology and behavioral neuroscience students won second place for a poster presentation of research they completed with KatieAnn Skogsberg, assistant professor of psychology and behavioral neuroscience. Chelsea Benham ’13 and Laura Hansen ’12 presented the poster at the KAS meeting, representing their fellow researchers William George ’12, Kent Crick ’12 and Leah Oberst ’12.
“We did a survey to evaluate the attitudes of coaches, athletes and spectators — students who are not athletes — toward concussions. Specifically, we wanted to know how much they know about concussions and return-to-play guidelines,” Hansen says.
“It’s important for the coaches to understand the athlete's view on concussions, and vice versa, so that teams can better understand the thought process of both parties when a concussion is endured,” Benham adds.
The students who conducted this research with Skogsberg plan to put it to good use at Centre.
“These students are now developing a concussion awareness talk that they will present to the students in the introductory psychology classes, addressing questions from our survey as well as correcting some of the more common concussion myths,” Skogsberg says. “We hope to expand this study to include DII and DI schools in the spring and develop a campus-wide ‘Concussion Awareness’ campaign.”
For a full list of winners from the KAS meeting, click here.
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Centre College, founded in 1819 and chosen to host its second Vice Presidential Debate in 2012, is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges, at 42nd in the nation, and ranks 27th for best value among national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 34th among all the nation’s colleges and universities and has named Centre in the top five among all institutions of higher education in the South for three years in a row. Centre is also ranked #4 in the nation by U.S. News for its study abroad program. For more, click here.