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Students, Public Invited to Summer Research Symposium on Friday, July 29

The public is invited to the University of the Virgin Islands' Ninth Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, July 29. 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.

At the symposium, 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 the Sophomore Summer Research Institute (SSRI) programs. 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.

The National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program funds this summer program. The main goal is to expose students to research while still at the undergraduate level. Students are learning the different steps of the research process under the supervision of research mentors. Students have to formulate a research hypothesis, study background and relevance, complete an abstract and a poster, and present research outcomes at the symposium. At the completion of this program it is expected that students will become ready to establish relevant connections between coursework and the research process. It is extremely challenging and rewarding for the students to be propelled on a research career fast-track and have to compete nationally at an early stage.

A special invitation to Friday's symposium is extended to all interested junior and senior high school students in the territory 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:

  • Machine Learning to Classify E. coli Promoters into Functional
  • Categories Is More Accurate When using Tetranucleotide Frequencies Rather than Di- or Trinucleotide Frequencies
  • Larval settlement of the long-spined sea urchin, Diadema antillarum, corroborates seasonality and importance of post-settlement processes in the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • An efficient Algorithm for Solving the Berth Assignment Problem
  • DNA Extractions of White Mangroves: The enzymes RNase & Proteinase K produced the purest DNA
  • Studying the Interactions between Coral Reefs and Participants of Marine Conservation Activities
  • Elimination of Cruzan Rum's Vinasse Effluent Discharge Into the Caribbean Sea
  • An examination on the synergistic effects of phytochemical compounds found in traditional Virgin Island's preparations of Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • The never-ending pairs of (m, n) where sigma (m+n)=sigma(m) + sigma(n)
  • Threats to Our Reef Lionfish-The Eating Machine
  • Temperature and feeding affect Caribbean corkscrew sea anemones' stinging temperament

Math Behind the Science

Another 10 students who participated in UVI's "Math Behind the Science" summer bridge program will receive certificates at Friday's Symposium. 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.

The summer bridge program was facilitated by Purdue University doctoral student and UVI alumna Alexia Mintos. Mintos graduated from UVI with a degree in mathematics. She also participated in research symposia as a student during her years at UVI.

Support Sought for STEM Programs at UVI

The summer symposium is supported by grants from many sources, including funding from the National Science Foundation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program, the Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the MARC and RISE programs of the National Institutes of Health, and the Jones, Holloway & Bryan Foundation. 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 Programs office at (340) 693-1232 or send email to awright@uvi.edu. Additional information is available at the Emerging Caribbean Scientists Programs website - http://ecs.uvi.edu.