Students from all over the Mississippi area came together at the 80th Annual Mississippi Academy of Science Meeting held February 18-19 at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, MS at the Cochran Center. This two day event is centered around different science related professions such as the ones featured in this symposium. The 13 divisions were Agriculture & Plant Science; Cellular, Molecular & Developmental Biology; Chemistry & Chemical Engineering, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Geology & Geography, Health Sciences, History & Philosophy of Science, Marine & Atmospheric Sciences; Mathematics, Computer Science & Statistics; Physical and Engineering Science, Psychology and Social Sciences, Science Education and Zoology and Entomology.
This symposium is intended to expand the scope and depth of opportunities for undergraduate student researchers and their mentors as well as to provide a dedicated venue to disseminate and present their research activities. This event helps research students increase their self-confidence, independence, critical thinking skills, communication and presentation skills. According to Dr. Marta A. Piva, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Alcorn State, “You have all of these different universities, so you are competing statewide against everyone.” Not only were undergraduate students able to attend and be considered for awards, graduate students and professors were also eligible to win awards. Professor of Biological Sciences at Alcorn State, Dr. Alex Acholonu won the Healthcare Disparities Award.
Student representatives in this event were from Alcorn State University, Belhaven College, East Central Community College, Holmes Community College, Itawamba Community College, Jackson State University, Millsaps College, Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Mississippi Museum of Natural Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Northwest Mississippi Community College, Pearl River Community College, University of Mississippi, University of Mississippi Medical Center, University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University.
This year’s event was sponsored by the Mississippi IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence, the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, The University of Southern Mississippi, the Chemisty and Biology Department at Jackson and Millsaps College.
Each chair and vice chair selected the top 20% undergraduate student posters to represent their division and present in the Millsaps Howard Hughes Medical Institute sponsored lunch symposium, “Honoring Excellence in Science in Mississippi”, on Friday February 19th from noon-2 pm. The nominated students presented their posters in their division and in the poster symposium. “We spent weeks preparing for it. My teacher helped me put the board together. She rehearsed it with me and helped me understand the experiment and what was going on. So when I presented I didn’t even need to like at the board,” said Junior Biology major Ariel Walker. Ariel tied for 1st place in the presentation. Each selected presenter received a complementary 1-year membership to the Mississippi Academy of Sciences (MAS) and a certificate of achievement. Award certificates were presented at the end of the event in the amount of $250 for winning 1st place, $200 for 2nd place, $150 for 3rd place and $100 for 4th place.