MUW Students Win at State Competition
COLUMBUS, Miss. – Students from the Department of Sciences and Mathematics at Mississippi University for Women won awards at the 78th annual Mississippi Academy of Sciences conference recently held in Hattiesburg.
The MAS is a regional scientific conference that meets every spring in Mississippi. Faculty, undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from throughout the state present their latest data.
This year more than 15 students and three faculty members from The W participated.
Five of The W students were nominated to compete in the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship award. James Kent of Sharkey County and Ariel Finch of Pickens County, Ala., each tied for third place and received $150 cash and a certificate. Barsha Subba and Tshering Lama Sherpa, both from Nepal, received honorable mention. Birendra Sharma of Nepal won third place in the undergraduate oral presentation category of the Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology (CMDB) Division.
Finch and Sharma worked at The W in the laboratories of Drs. Ghanshyam Heda, assistant professor of biology, and Lauren Brandon, professor of microbiology, respectively. Kent, Subba and Lama worked at Jackson State University, Mayo Clinic and Princeton University, respectively. Subba and Sherpa also presented their work conducted at The W in the laboratory of Dr. Jiben Roy, professor of chemistry.
“This increased participation and winning awards at the state level competitions not only indicates the involvement of MUW students in research but the quality of their research work among their peers,” said Dr. Heda.
“MUW biology students are also now increasingly working outside of the campus during summer to accomplish these achievements,” he added.
Dr. Heda chaired the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Division for this year. The CMDB is the second largest division in the MAS, and Dr. Heda has worked year round to increase participation to more than 40 percent compared to the previous year.
Dr. Ross Whitwam, professor of biology, coordinated the travel of students to the meeting. Dr. Paul Mack, associate professor of biology, vice-chaired the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Division, and Deanna Watson, a technician in Dr. Heda’s lab, presented her work.
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