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RELEASE DATE: July 10, 2013

Berry Students Participate in National Science Foundation program

Two Berry College students and one recent graduate are spending their summer in the Research Experience for Undergraduate program funded by the National Science Foundation.

Iris Avila, who recently graduated from Berry with a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science with a biology concentration, was accepted into the University of Arkansas' research program on Assessment and Sustainable Management of Ecosystem Services. Avila will be in Arkansas for 10 weeks. She works under a mentor and her project consists of calculating the amount of carbon sequestered from the trees on campus. This information will help the university attempt to become carbon neutral by 2040. Her day consists of taking measurements of tree circumferences in order to calculate the carbon. Avila also has learned how to do a Rapid Bio-assessment on streams, and is currently getting certified in Geographic Information Systems (GIS.)

"The best part of this experience is meeting other students from all over the country and enjoying the field trips such as camping and floating down the Buffalo River," said Avila, of Fayetteville, Ark. She plans to continue her work in environmental science-related fields such as environmental consulting or conservation agency for a year before attending graduate school.

Rising senior Dillon Yost, a chemistry and math double major, is spending his summer at North Dakota State University, in Fargo, N.D. Yost is from Cleveland, Tenn. Yost's research consists of conducting computational chemistry research on the photo physical properties of platinum and iridium complexes. His team wants to modify the structures of these molecules to tune them for applications in high-energy light absorption materials. These materials could be used to protect sensors and the human eye from lasers. Also, they have potential applications in energy conversion materials, such as solar cells. Last summer, Yost participated in the research program at Southern Illinois University.

Rising Berry senior Koty Swanson, a chemistry and physics double major from Ringgold, Ga., is spending his summer researching pesticides at Colorado State University. Swanson will spend 10 weeks studying the efficiency of cleaning processes on pesticide tanks. Inefficient cleaning can lead to cross-contamination as well as health risks to agricultural workers. By analyzing samples donated by local pesticide applicators for up to 48 different species of pesticide, his research group will produce feedback that will benefit both the pesticide applicators and the agricultural community.

"I felt overwhelmed, excited and fortunate. Over 300 people applied to this and 11 were admitted into the program. I knew right away this opportunity was on I could not pass up," said Swanson.

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Story by Student Public Relations Assistants Garrett Peace and Brittni Trollinger

 

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For more information contact:

Chris Reinolds Kozelle
Director of News & Editorial Services
ckozelle@berry.edu
Jeanne Mathews
Asst. VP of PR & Marketing
jmathews@berry.edu


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