Story by Kevin Damore MFA '07

Six SMC students received awards in November at the 2006 conference of Sigma Xi, an international honors society that promotes excellence in research.

Sigma Xi judged three SMC projects to be of "superior" quality: senior Annie Chase's physics experiment on the optimization of baseball swing parameters, senior David Drummond's research on sequencing in the mathematical "Gordon Game" and junior Emily King's work on ozone concentration levels at the Joshua Tree National Park. "Superior" works are of publishable quality.

"I think my project is extremely important, especially since environmental pollution is becoming such a critical issue in our world," King said. "It brings awareness to others, and hopefully others realize that even our precious national parks are heavily polluted."

Three other SMC student projects were judged "excellent" by the Sigma Xi panel: sophomore Jia Shen's analysis of manatee vocalization, senior Katie Azevedo's research on ozone concentration and the "weekend effect" at the Joshua Tree and work by Michael Pisarek '06 on antimicrobial products from one variety of the Red Sea urchin.

"I am very interested in biological study, and I feel it has paved an important road for me for future research and graduate school," Pisarek said. "It has certainly showed me what it means to do research in the lab and how exciting it can be."

Researchers at more than 100 colleges and universities participated in the conference, and 2006 was the second consecutive year that all SMC presenters earned awards.

School of Science Dean Brian Jersky said the Sigma Xi awards show the College's excellence in science and math education. "We are grateful that our scientific peers recognize and value the work that students do here in conjunction with their faculty members."

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