From spiders in Panama to a 3D-printed syringe pump, the Student Scholar Showcase on April 6 will highlight a variety of projects by more than 150 University of Lynchburg students.
The annual event brings together students from all disciplines represented at the college to share projects they are working on. They represent the some of the most outstanding academic work done at the College and demonstrate the wide variety of hands-on learning experiences that LC students participate in.
For example, Anna Ledin ’16 will explain the research she conducted in Central America about the relationships between orb weaver spiders, acacia plants, and ants.
The ants and the acacia have a mutualistic relationship in which the ants protect the plant and benefit from food the acacia produces. “It is remarkable that the spiders live on these acacias in the first place because the ants are so protective of the plant,” Anna said.
In 2014, Anna and Dr. John Styrsky, a biology professor, worked on research in Panama to determine whether the spiders played a predatory or protective role in the relationship. They found evidence of both. “I got a lot of field experience and realized that there are always more questions to be answered,” she said.
Anna will discuss her research in a poster presentation session in Memorial Ballroom from noon to 1 p.m.
From chemistry, Kerry Codoley ’17 will show off a syringe pump design he is perfecting. The goal is to automate the process of slowly and steadily dispensing chemical during a chemistry experiment.
Dr. Jason Crumpton and Kerry used designs found online to and assemble a pump controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. Now Kerry has been running tests to determine the accuracy and modifying the Arduino’s program to make the pump’s speed more exact.
He hopes to eventually expand the design to accommodate multiple syringes. “You could have two or three or four reagents and have them all dispensed at different rates,” Kerry said. The final product would cost hundreds of dollars less than professional-grade syringe pumps. “I’m pretty sure it’s going to be comparable in the accuracy and precision,” he said.
This project is one of many examples of ways LC professors give their students the chance to go beyond textbook learning. “They’re really good at challenging students at what they can do,” Kerry said. “Dr. Crumpton found out I had a physics background and threw an awesome project at me.”
Kerry will give an oral presentation about his project at 10:15 a.m. in Schewel room 232.
Seven athletic training students will give updates on their research about head impacts in sports. They include Dane Bower ’16, whose study might be the first to use nanoindentation to gain insight into the performance of athletic helmets, said Dr. Tom Bowman. All seven students have had their research accepted for presentations in the National Athletic Trainers’ Association conference this summer.
This year’s showcase includes two poster presentation sessions — one in Memorial Ballroom at noon and one in the Flint Family Lobby of Schewel Hall at 4 p.m. Oral presentations will take place in Hopwood Auditorium, Sydnor Performance Hall, Schewel room 231 and 232 throughout the day. A full schedule is available at on the Student Scholar Showcase webpage.