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Students, Public Invited to Undergraduate Research Symposium

The public is invited to the University of the Virgin Islands' Eighth Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 30. The symposium will take place in the Administration and Conference Center (former Harvey Center) on the St. Thomas campus. It is organized by the Emerging Caribbean Scientists Programs office in UVI's College of Science and Mathematics. Admission is free.

Click to view Science Symposium Program Book - pdf file

At the symposium, approximately 20 UVI science students will present posters displaying the results of research they have conducted in the Virgin Islands this summer. Their research was conducted while participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and Sophomore Summer Research Institute (SSRI) programs. Topics on display will range from traditional botanical remedies and mobile robotics to odd triperfect number problems and data mining. Fifteen of the presenters worked on the St. Thomas campus, while five conducted their research on the St. Croix campus.

The annual Summer Science Research Symposium is a part of UVI's continuing effort to promote excellence in learning by fostering student research and improving their communication skills in science and mathematics. Organizers of UVI's Emerging Caribbean Scientist Program have extended a special invitation to Friday's symposium to all interested junior and senior high school students and to students attending summer camps. UVI alumni, administrators, trustees and other interested persons are also encouraged to attend.

Symposium Topics

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to interact with students and discuss the diverse topics represented in the student projects. Those topics include:

  • Local Ecological Knowledge of St. Thomas Fishing Community
  • Traditional Botanical Remedies
  • Papaya Seed Germination
  • Mobile Robotics and Sensor Networks
  • Fireworm Food Location
  • Mechanisms of Coral-Algal Interactions
  • Odd Triperfect Number Problem
  • Habitat Preferences of Adult Long-spined Sea Urchins Diadema antillarum
  • Genetic Structure of Two Mangrove Species in the Virgin Islands and Florida
  • Data mining of socio-economic factors to Predict Violent Crime in Communities

Dr. Angela Dikou, one of UVI's summer program coordinators, said the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience and Sophomore Summer Research Institute program participants get a chance to brush up and upgrade their skills in research, teamwork and professional contact. "They are exposed to the entire research cycle from conception of a research problem, through formulation of an experimental design, to communication of their research findings," Dr. Dikou said. "It is a pleasure to work with a diversity of young minds... (they) bring lots of fantasy, enquiry and music to the program."

Math Behind the Science

At the close of the symposium, another 23 students who participated in UVI's "Math Behind the Science" summer bridge program will receive certificates. These students are recent high school graduates, the majority of whom will attend UVI in the fall. The program is designed to enhance the mathematics preparedness of college-bound students who are interested in pursuing careers in science, mathematics, engineering, technology or medicine.

This year's summer bridge program was facilitated by Purdue University doctoral student Alexia Mintos. In 2007, Mintos graduate from UVI with a degree in mathematics. She also participated in research symposiums as a student during her years at UVI.

Support Sought for STEM Programs at UVI

The summer training and research programs at UVI are supported by grants from many sources, including funding from the National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program, VI-EPSCoR, the MARC and RISE programs of the National Institutes of Health, the Jones, Holloway & Bryan Foundation, UVI's Agricultural Experiment Station, HOVENSA L.L.C. and UVI's Center for Marine Environmental Studies. Research is also supported indirectly by grants which fund scientific research for the students' faculty mentors. General support is also provided by UVI's College of Science and Mathematics.

The College of Science and Mathematics is actively seeking funding for programs that help attract and retain more student talent. The biggest need is for funds to support research and scholarships for students with interests in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Persons interested in sponsoring UVI's Research Symposium program should call the Emerging Caribbean Scientists Program office at (340) 693-1232 or send email to tpeters@uvi.edu. Additional information is available at the Emerging Caribbean Scientists program web site - http://ecs.uvi.edu.