The Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society hosts a Biennial National Convention to provide students and faculty members a chance to share current research and discuss scientific topics. Millikin biology students from the Iota Epsilon Chapter presented their posters of research during this year's convention held at Gannon University in Erie, Pa., from June 4-8.
Students Ashley Fulk, a senior biology allied health track major from Altamont, Ill., Morgan Kincheloe, a junior biology major from Lincoln, Ill., and Kendra Peterson, a senior biology major from Batavia, Ill., were among top biology students from universities across the nation that presented their work. Kendra Peterson received the 2nd Place John C. Johnson Award for her presentation in the Ecology Division.
"Although Beta Beta Beta was founded in 1922, Millikin University has only had a chapter (Iota Epsilon) since 2011," said Dr. Travis Wilcoxen, Millikin assistant professor of biology. "In that short time, we have fully embraced the mission of Beta Beta Beta and our student success at the national convention is evidence of that."
Kendra Peterson presented her work on soy bean responses to herbivory and simulated herbivory, while Morgan Kincheloe presented her work on blood parameters in raptor rehabilitation; both students competed in the Ecology Division. Ashley Fulk presented her work on the effects of stress during development on chorus frog antioxidant levels at metamorphosis. Fulk competed in the Cellular and Developmental Biology Division.
"In the long run, it was a great opportunity to present my research on a national level because it helps me prepare for graduate school," said Fulk. "It was great to see all the different types of research projects that are being conducted by students."
It was the first time that Fulk presented her work while Morgan had only presented her research once before at Millikin's Celebrations of Scholarship.
"The convention was a very interesting experience," said Kendra Peterson. "We were able to meet many different students from all over the nation and see their research. Presenting my research in such a place was exciting because of the competition format. It's astounding to believe that my research was good enough to get an award."
For Peterson, the 2nd Place Johnson Award adds to a 3rd Place Poster Award she received at the Tri-Beta District Convention back in March 2014. Peterson also received a 3rd Place Award at the 2014 Millikin University Celebrations of Scholarship Poster Symposium, and a 2nd Place Oral Presentation Award at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science in April.
Dr. Wilcoxen added, "Students from 28 universities participated in this national convention, and all students presenting were among the top biology students at their respective universities. Kendra Peterson's receipt of a 2nd Place Johnson Award, combined with presentations from Ashley Fulk and Morgan Kincheloe, shows that Millikin University is an excellent university for undergraduate research in biology."
When asked about what she learned at the convention, Peterson said, "To effectively communicate my ideas to other students and professors who had never heard my research. This was a challenge that I learned a lot from and will help me when I have to present different research. The faculty at Millikin have given me a lot of support and assistance with my research, which made all of my success possible. I would not have been able to present on a national stage, or even have hopes of winning an award, without their continued support of my projects."
Tri-Beta is a society for students, particularly undergraduates, dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Since its founding in 1922, more than 200,000 persons have been accepted into lifetime membership, and more than 670 chapters have been established throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. For more information on Tri-Beta, visit tri-beta.org