Chowan Seniors Score STEM Stipends
MURFREESBORO, NC – While many college students find themselves concerned about stress two Chowan University seniors have a different kind of stress on their minds. Biology majors Crystal Sarnor and Wrenn Woordard were awarded stipends from North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) to support stress research that will be presented at the 2016 North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium on November 5th at North Carolina Central University.
Sarnor, of Monrovia, Liberia, and Woodard, of Pendleton, NC, were two of nine North Carolina students who received this stipend. Under the mentorship of Dr. Corina Wack, Assistant Professor of Biology, the students applied for the $350 research stipend with NCICU last semester, submitting a written description of their research. The stipends are earmarked for students performing undergraduate research in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields of study at one of North Carolina's 36 private, non-profit colleges and universities.
“The results of these projects related to stress physiology will add to our biological understanding of how organisms respond to stress,” says Wack. “This type of research is of particular importance due to global climate change and human influence on the environment.”
Sarnor’s research concerns mud minnows from the biology department’s Meherrin River Field Site. She will present her findings on how stress affects the fish’s immune system, activity, behavior, and oxygen consumption.
“Science is fun,” Sarnor says of her project. “Experimentations lead to a whole new world of unanswered questions. I am very grateful for this opportunity to answer some of the unanswered questions out there.”
Woodard’s study involves exposing African clawed frog eggs to three different kinds of water: fresh water, high salt water, and low salt water. He will monitor the effects of salt on the frogs’ behavior, stress, and growth rate. Findings from this 60-day experiment will also be presented in New Orleans, LA at the annual, national meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.
“When Dr. Wack told me we received the grant I was ecstatic and ready to get started on my research,” says Woodard. “Rather than do senior seminar like most other biology majors, I wanted to do something more fun that would give me hands on experience in a lab. I considered doing an internship at first, but the idea of doing research by myself was more enticing.”
“Crystal and Wrenn are both outstanding biology students,” says Wack. “I gave them these projects specifically because I knew they had the dedication and work ethic necessary to see them to completion. We appreciate NCICU and their Undergraduate Research Program for providing the funds to support this work.”
Congratulations Sarnor and Woodard!