2017 Summer Research Community Symposium

Published: August 25, 2017

The mention of bed bugs causes most people to cringe, but College of Western Idaho (CWI) alumna Leticia Camacho, had a group of fellow scientists laughing as she played a YouTube video of bed bug grooming behavior.

Camacho was among a number of CWI students and alumni who presented their findings during a summer research symposium at Boise State University on Aug. 11.

The symposium was the culmination for CWI summer research participants who completed 12-week internships conducting original research under the mentorship of CWI faculty and community partners.

This was an important opportunity for students to celebrate their completion of a rigorous, yet rewarding summer. Students had the chance to give oral presentations about their research, its importance to the scientific community, and experiences as developing scientific researchers.

Student projects ranged from studying water quality in agriculturally adjacent wetlands at Lake Lowell, to monarch butterfly breeding ecology in the Treasure Valley, and understanding pathways to control breast cancer.

Over the summer, interns gained hands-on experience in the process of scientific research and learned an array of new skills and techniques in their respective fields.  Each internship placed a student in a lab or research teams where they had the opportunity to work alongside other scientists. 

“Many students who complete the programs make connections with other students, faculty and professionals that develop in to new opportunities for academic and professional engagement and growth,” said Dusty Perkins, Associate Professor of Biology at CWI.

Both the LSAMP and MURI programs are funded through state and site specific sub awards under the National Science Foundation. These programs focus on enhancing undergraduate science participation among underrepresented and underserved demographics. One key goal for the programs at CWI is to give students a chance to create bridges between their early academic and co-curricular experiences and future opportunities at four-year universities.

Among the presenters at the symposium, six were CWI alumni who are now undergraduate researchers in labs and research programs at Boise State University. 

CWI students and projects:

Tyson Mann: Showy Milkweed (Asclepias Speciosa) Propagation and Transplant Survivorship

Dave Draper: Monarch Butterfly Habitat Suitability in Western Idaho

Kassandra Townsend and Talia Jolley: Breeding Ecology and Habitat Suitability of Ferruginous Hawks (Buteo regalis) in Southern Idaho

Karina Gutierrez: Carbon and Nitrogen Characterization of Agriculturally Adjacent Lakeshore Wetland Soil

Austin Madsen: Investigation of Physical and Chemical Water Quality Parameters in Agriculturally Adjacent Lakeshore Wetlands

Hugo Napoles: A summer’s Insight to the Importance of Biological Water Renewal

CWI alumni now at Boise State University:

Sara Rostron: Inhibiting Inflammatory Cytokines to Prevent Metastasis in Breast Cancer

Sandra Ambriz: Mentoring Underrepresented Groups in Science, Technology’ Engineering and Mathematics: What Have We Learned?

Sylvia Perritte: Mapping Vegetation Using Advanced Field Survey Methods in a Sagebrush Steppe Ecosystem

Laura McSherry: Mapping the Effects of Agriculture from Urban Sprawl in the Treasure Valley

Daniel Marquette: Identifying Peak Alfalfa Flowering to Optimize Pollination Using Remote Sensing Techniques

Leticia Camacho: Using Chemicals in Plants to Disrupt Antennal Grooming in Bedbugs

Continued funding may provide an opportunity for CWI to support additional positions in the fall.  For more information please contact Dusty Perkins dustyperkins@cwi.edu or Rebecca Flock rebeccaflock@cwi.edu.

EPSCoR MURI is funded by Idaho EPSCor. LSAMP funding is provided by the University of Washington and the National Science Foundation.

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