UALR Science Scholars present research at national conference

Six University of Arkansas at Little Rock students present research at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Stem Feb. 25-28 at Washington, D.C. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Jim Winter, Osvaldo Cossio, Kristina Frogoso, C’Asia James, Amber Hill, Taylor McClanahan, and Taylor Washington.

Six University of Arkansas at Little Rock students presented research at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Feb. 25-28 in Washington, D.C., with one student taking home a first place award in chemistry.

C’Asia James, a biology major, earned the top award for her research investigating the potential of using light and phosphorus-nitrogen doped carbon compounds, which can be made from renewable resources such as coffee and wood chips, to remove a dye that represents organic materials from contaminated drinking water.

James, a member of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, conducted her research with Dr. Brian Berry, a UALR associate professor of chemistry. The materials used in her research were created by Dr. Tito Viswanathan, a UALR professor of chemistry.

The additional five students who presented research at the conference included Amber Hill, a biology major; Kristina Frogoso, an environmental health sciences major; Taylor McClanahan, a mathematics major; Taylor Washington, a biology major; and Osvaldo Cossio, a chemistry major.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation hosted the conference. The conference is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF Division of Human Resource Development, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities.

All six students were members of the University Science Scholars and Arkansas Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation programs at UALR. They were awarded travel grants based on the quality of their abstracts, research, and personal statements.

“The Emerging Researchers National Conference is one of the premier student conferences in science and technology,” said Dr. Jim Winter, co-director of the Science Scholars and Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

In addition to James, student scholars and their research presentations include:

  •      Amber Hill examined the contamination of sediment from the Tri-State Mining District in Oklahoma, Missouri, and Arkansas. Her research was conducted with Dr. Laura Ruhl, an assistant professor in the UALR Department of Earth Sciences.
  •      Kristina Frogoso conducted research at the University of Georgia to use environmental and natural history traits to predict the threat of die-off of amphibian species.
  •      Taylor McClanahan conducted research at the University of Georgia to study the effects of microclimate on tiger mosquito populations, which are vectors for many diseases.
  •      Taylor Washington examined the treatment of psoriasis with topically applied tumor necrosis factor alpha compounds, a protein involved in inflammation and regulation of cells in the immune system, at Northwestern University Medical School.
  •      Osvaldo Cossio searched for small molecules that would reduce the production of the focal adhesion kinase protein while conducting research at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre. The protein promotes cancer tumors and metastasis.

In the upper right photo, six University of Arkansas at Little Rock students present research at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Stem Feb. 25-28 at Washington, D.C. Pictured from left to right are Dr. Jim Winter, Osvaldo Cossio, Kristina Frogoso, C’Asia James, Amber Hill, Taylor McClanahan, and Taylor Washington.

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