Undergraduate research showcased

From left, Jackelyn Tolentino Garcia, Cynthia Chang, Camilo Jose Acosta. Marc Studer photo

A record number of University of Washington Bothell students — 61 — presented their work at the 22nd Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium May 17 on the UW campus in Seattle.

In his opening remarks to the symposium, UW Provost Mark Richards said the great thing about undergraduate researchers is, “They don’t know yet what they can’t do.”

In honor of the role faculty play in students reaching their potential, Richards also presented six Undergraduate Research Mentor Awards, including one to Cynthia Chang, an assistant professor in UW Bothell’s School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM).

Native Bothell bees

Jordan Fette, Kristen Attebery
Jordan Fette, Kristen Attebery. Marc Studer photo

There were more than 1,200 posters or oral presentations at the symposium. One was “Diversity and Abundance of Bee Species on the University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia College Campus.” It was presented by Kristen Attebery, a senior in Computer Science & Software Engineering, and Jordan David Fette, a senior in Environmental Science.

Their mentor is School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences faculty member Amy Lambert, and the work was part of the CCUWBee research initiative, which aims to conserve native bees.

One finding that Fette and Attebery reported was that more than half of the bees from the 2018 campus survey were bumblebees and only 20 percent honeybees.

“The students that come after us will continue this research, and each year make it better,” said Fette.

Local sockeye populations

Jeff Jensen, Seleen Jaber, Atom June Zheng
From left, Jeff Jensen, Seleen Jaber, Atom June Zheng. Marc Studer

Another UW Bothell poster was “Variation of Gill Rakers Among the Oncorhynchus nerka Species.” It was presented by Atom June Zhen, a senior in Biology, and Seleen Jaber, a sophomore pre-major. Their mentor is Jeffrey Jensen, senior lecturer in the School of STEM.

Oncorhynchus nerka is the sockeye species of fish, and gill rakers filter food. The researchers examined differences in four populations.

“This is my first real research experience,” said Zhen. “This has really taught me a lot about the whole process of conducting research — organization, the way to present your data,” he said.

Recognized research mentor

Cynthia Chang and Mark Richards
Cynthia Chang and Mark Richards. Marc Studer photo

Chang was one of more than 200 nominees from across the UW for the mentoring awards. This honor is based on student nominations, said Carolyn Brennan, assistant vice chancellor for research. In particular, Chang’s students cited her personal attention to their success.

“It’s the persistence and motivation that she gives us. She encourages us to be more than just students. If I hadn’t had her pushing me and sending me constant emails with opportunities, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Camilo Jose Acosta, a Biology major graduating next fall.

“She’s so encouraging. She really pushes me to do more for my best interest. She cares about me not only as a student but also as a person,” said Jackelyn Tolentino Garcia, a Biology major on track to graduate in winter 2020.

Chang was surprised to learn that she had been nominated. “These students are so amazing — just a great joy to work with,” she said after receiving the award.

More research diversity

Garcia’s project, “Phenotypic Plasticity and Transgenerational Epigenetic Modification of Arabidopsis thaliana in Response to Variable Conditions Predicted with Climate Change,” researched the impact of simulated climate change on plants. She is a Mary Gates scholar who also is mentored by Thelma Madzima, an assistant professor in the School of STEM.

Acosta, another Mary Gates scholar, conducted research titled “Boom and Bust: Successional Shifts and New Additions to the Ground Beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) Community on Mount St. Helens.” He also was mentored by Michele Price, a lecturer in School of STEM, for the research in the volcano’s blast zone.

After graduating, Acosta has an internship with the National Park Service to assist with Island Marble Butterfly conservation at Friday Harbor, Washington.

From left, Carolyn Brennan, Shawn Ge, Zhen Yang, Deanna Kennedy. Marc Studer photo

Here are some of the other posters representing the diverse and creative research by undergraduate students at UW Bothell:

  • “The Importance of Referent Power and Trust in Team Interactions”
    Presenters: Zhen Yang, junior, Business Administration; and Shawn Ge, senior, Business Administration Mentor: Deanna Kennedy, associate professor, School of Business
  • “Understanding the Demand on WA I-405 HOV Lanes through Economics”
    Presenters: Elaine Montes, graduate, Policy Studies; Christine Ngoc Nguyen, recent graduate, Applied Computing; Yann Ka Shaw, recent graduate, Mechanical Engineering; and Dan Ye, fifth year, Business Administration
    Mentor: Xiahua (Anny) Wei, assistant professor, School of Business
  • “The Characterization of Quality of Life among Older Women Living with HIV”
    Presenters: Allen Marcus Lewis, senior, Health Studies and Biology; and Fatima Ali Mirza, junior, Health Studies
    Mentor: Katryna McCoy, assistant professor, School of Nursing & Health Studies

More than 40 of the UW Bothell posters also were presented May 24 at the Research Rendezvous event in the North Creek Events Center.

Posters in Mary Gates Hall
Posters in Mary Gates Hall. Marc Studer photo

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