Six SMC Students to Present Scientific Research at Sigma Xi Conference


Six Saint Mary's College students will present their scientific research projects at the annual Sigma Xi undergraduate research conference in Detroit in early November.

Among the presenters will be senior Katie Azevedo, who was awarded the prestigious Joseph P. McKenna Science Award for best poster presentation at a ceremony held in Brousseau Hall on Oct. 6. Her project monitored pollution in Joshua Tree National Park and the award, presented by Dean of Science Brian Jersky, represented the first time that it has gone to an environmental science project.

"It is a huge honor," Azevedo told the Collegian. "I didn"t expect it. This award gives me confidence that my work was good and acceptable in the scientific community."

Joining Azevedo at the annual meeting of the Sigma Xi scientific research society in Detroit on Nov. 2-5 will be senior Annie Chase, senior David Drummond, junior Emily King, Michael Pisarek '06 and sophomore Jia Shen. The conference offers a research competition as well as networking opportunities for students from more than 100 colleges in North America. At last year's conference, seven Saint Mary's College students were honored for their research projects, the largest number of high-level ratings of any college.

During the Oct. 6 ceremony on campus, 14 students displayed poster presentations of original research they performed during the summer under the guidance of Saint Mary's faculty members. While some conducted their research on campus, others traveled to sites including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Harvey Mudd College.

The names of the 14 students and their projects are:

* Barry Amos '07 - "In Vitro Classification of Immunologic Responses to Five Immuno-dominant and Five Putative Type III Secretory C. Trachomatis Proteins" (mentor: Dr Troy Skwor, Biology)

* Katie Azevedo '07 - "Surface Ozone Concentration and Weekend Effect Study in Joshua Tree National Park and Surrounding Urban Locations" (mentor: Dr. Joel Burley, Chemistry)

* Annie Chase '07 - "Optimization of Baseball Swing Parameters for Three Levels of Play" (mentor: Dr. Chris Ray, Physics, Engineering)

* Rommel Devera '08 - "Sphingosine-1-phosphate Levels in Sickle Cell Disease" (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute)

* David Drummond '07 - "The Analysis of the Gordon Game" (mentor: Dr. Chris Jones, Mathematics)

* Emily King '08 - "Transport Dynamics Associated with Surface Ozone Concentrations at Remote Locations in Joshua Tree National Park" (mentor: Dr. Joel Burley, Chemistry)

* Beatriz Marquez '07 -- "A Study in the Effects of Summer Orientation Programs on the Self-Concept of Minority Students" (mentor: Dr Elena Escalera, Psychology)

* Ashley Martin ‘07 - "Testing Hypotheses for the Fish Population Collapse in Suisun Bay" (mentor: Dr Steven Kelley, Biology)

* Sara Nownes ‘08 - " Synthesis of Dihydroxyacetone Phosphate Analogs" (mentor: Dr Valerie Burke, Chemistry)

* Maria Peralta ‘08 - " Synthesis of New Iridium Complexes for C-H Activation and Functionalization" (mentor: Dr William Jones, University of Rochester)

* Michael Pisarek ‘06 - "Antimicrobial Natural Products from the Red Sea Urchin Strongylocentrotus Franciscanus" (mentor: Dr Gerard Capriulo, Biology)

* Scott Rodriguez ‘07 - "Hydride transfer from Magnesium Alkoxides to Substituted Benzaldehydes" (mentor: Dr Ken Brown, Chemistry)

* Scott Rodriguez ‘07 - "Solid-phase Organic Synthesis of Asymmetrically Substituted Axially Linked Ruthenium Porphyrin Oligomers" (Dr. Hal Van Ryswyk, Harvey Mudd College)

* Thomas Scarry ‘07 - "Background Characterization of Microchannel Plate Optic and Avalanche Photodiode for Autonomous X-Ray Navigation System" (Dr. Derek Tournear, Los Alamos National Laboratory)

* Jia Shen ‘09 - "Manatee Vocalization Computational Analysis" (mentors: Dr. Jennifer Robbins, Biology, and Dr. Roy Wensley, Physics)

--Debra Holtz
Office of College Communications