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UVI Announces Winners for 2018 Research Day

Photo of Nadia Monrose Mills, UVI Assistant Professor of Mathematics

The University of the Virgin Islands announces the students and faculty winners of the 7th annual Research Day held in Spring 2018.

Of the 32 undergraduate student entries on the St. Thomas Campus, Shantae Lewis from the College of Science and Mathematics emerged as the winner on the St. Thomas Campus.

Lewis’ poster was titled “DNA Extraction of Halophila stipulacea Plants for Genetic Variability Around the Virgin Islands.” Halophila stipulacea is an invasive species of sea grass that is quickly spreading throughout the territory’s waters. It originates from the western Indian Ocean and is thought to have spread into the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas in ship ballasts and by fragmentation caused by anchoring and other bottom disturbances. In her abstract, Lewis mentioned that the goal of the project is to determine the genetic variability of Halophila stipulacea and to use that information to help create an invasion history model. She conducted her research using samples from Magens Bay, John Brewers Bay, and Lindbergh Bay on St. Thomas. UVI Professor, Dr. Alice Stanford advised Lewis during her research.

On the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, there were nine entries, Tione Grant from the College of Science and Mathematics walked away as this year’s undergraduate winner.

Grant’s research poster entitled “Identification of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Particle-Phase Vehicle Emissions” examines motor vehicle emissions. Grant used samples of particulate matter collected from the tailpipes of a 2006 and a 2016 Toyota 4Runner and analyzed them.  Dr. Antonio Brathwaite, UVI faculty, advised Grant during his research.

UVI Research Day 2018 saw eight faculty entrants with four on each campus. Desiree Bertrand, UVI assistant professor of nursing, from the School of Nursing and Nadia Monrose Mills, UVI assistant professor of mathematics, from the College of Science and Mathematics of the Albert A. Sheen and St. Thomas Campus respectively are the faculty winners for this year’s competition.

Faculty winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000 while undergraduate student winners will receive a cash prize of $500.Bertrand presented on the “Contraceptive Use Among Abused African Caribbean and African American Women,” while Mills presented on “The role of affect and productive struggle in the problem-solving process.”

“It is inspiring to witness the improvement in the level of research of our undergraduates and graduates on both campuses, as this is what was envisaged in our current strategic plan Pathways to Greatness,” said Dr. Frank Mills, chair of the UVI Research Day steering committee.

UVI’s Research Day featured posters and presentations from students and faculty. The round-table and poster presentation format allow the general public to have one-on-one interactions with researchers. Though some projects were aborted because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, some found new direction and were born because of the opportunity the passage of the storms presented, according to Dr. Camille McKayle, provost.

Tionne Grant

This year's Research Day also featured demonstrations related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. 

UVI Research Day provides the Virgin Islands public with exciting and informative research performed by the colleges and schools of the University of the Virgin Islands where students, faculty and staff showcase diverse topics that impact our community, our youth and the Territory.