Sharing Scientific Research—and Passion

science research symposum 2022

Photo by Khoa Le '24.

Students present original research at annual on-campus symposium

by MaryAlice Bitts-Jackson

Students studying the sciences, social sciences, mathematics and computer science have been hard at work all semester—or year or longer—on original research projects. Recently, they shared their findings, and their enthusiasm, with the campus community during the 37th Science Student Research Symposium.

The annual symposium brings student researchers in science and technical fields together to present posters about their research projects and answer questions about their work. All members of the campus community are invited to attend this showcase of the high-level work Dickinson undergrads do—experiences that students at larger institutions may not enjoy until graduate school.

“I love interacting with the public and, hopefully, getting them excited about my research and the implications that it may have,” says Liz McCreary ’22 (earth sciences, history), who researched the geoarchaeology of historic stone steps in Maryland.  

Presenter for Dickinson's 2022 Science Student Research Symposium

Photo by Khoa Le '24.

One project, conducted by a neuroscience major and three biology majors, outlined a method to evaluate real-time metabolic costs of women’s-lacrosse players by player position, via special vests that record heart rate, accelerometry and GPS data during lacrosse practice. Another, led by a physics major, involved designing and creating printed circuit-board electronic self-oscillators. Student-researchers also investigated a rare autoinflammatory disease, grew yeast in a lab and used fluorescent dyes to characterize novel nontoxic bioimaging methods.

Additional research topics include:

  • Biochemistry & molecular biology: the expression and repression of acute myeloid leukemia cells, the use of sulforaphane to protect plants from generalist pests, the impact of heat-shock inhibitors, the turnip crinkle virus, the impacts of two predators—diving beetles and red-spotted newts—in a temporary pond
  • Biology: the diet of the American toad, the construction and analysis of subviral RNA dimers
  • Chemistry: evaluating bioluminescent tools via an E. coli cross-screen
  • Computer science: data communication between 6G devices, a mathematical analysis of the game Tilt
  • Earth science: magma storage beneath an Icelandic volcano
  • Environmental science: the effects of climate change as reflected in the study of the snapping turtle, the use of cover crops to reduce water stress
  • Mathematics: detecting evasive prairie rattlesnakes via camera-trap images, the dynamics of the Dixon elliptic functions
  • Neuroscience: inhibition and proliferation in NRAS-driven acute myeloid leukemia cells, the effects of methamphetamine sensitization on conditioned hyperactivity in mice
  • Physics & astronomy: synchronized patterns in mechanical and electronic oscillator networks, the mysterious GM Ori star
  • Psychology: the effects of exercise and shared/solitary housing on anxiety levels in female mice
Presenter for Dickinson's 2022 Science Student REsearch Symposium

Photo by Khoa Le '24.

As McCreary notes, the presentations are helpful practice for future research and proposal presentations—and can also help students network with others studying and working in fields they’re interested in.

“It’s a great experience for all presenters and faculty,” agrees Ben Shoul ’22 (biology), who researched the effects of climate change on algae bloom in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. “I would recommend that anybody who has an opportunity to participate in research and the symposium absolutely should!”


Published April 29, 2022