Science students win outstanding poster award


Leslie Kanat

A team of students from Johnson State College was awarded top honors at this years Geological Society of America, Northeastern Section’s annual conference.

The research and poster presentation titled “Bacterial Adaptation to an Anthropogenically-Altered, Serpentine-Rich Aquatic Environment” by JSC students Heather Murphy, Shayna Bennett, and Erika English, as well as Professor Elizabeth Dolci was selected by a panel of 46 judges to receive the Outstanding Undergraduate Poster award for 2015.

Poster presentations at this years event exceeded 200 entries, and only the top 5 percent of received the Undergraduate Poster award. The judges grade each poster on organization, aesthetics, and the science behind the presentation. They also evaluate the student’s knowledge of the subject, the ease in which they present their information, and the overall impression of the presentation itself. “[For 2015] There are only nine posters that won the ‘Outstanding undergraduate poster award,” said JSC Professor Leslie Kanat, “and we’re really proud of these students.”

Held from March 23-25, at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the event hosted over 1,000 attendees. “[This is an event] where people present their science, they talk about the science, and what they’ve been working on over the years, over the decades,” said Kanat.

Thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the Student Transition, Achievement, Retention and Teaching scholarship was created in 2012, and will continue through 2017.

There are 17 students at JSC that benefit from the START scholarship.

“The National science foundation gave me $560,000 to be used only on students. I can give them up to $10,000 per year to offset their expenses for tuition,” said Kanat, “plus I have additional money to send them to conferences.”

“The START scholarship is for students in the sciences who are academically talented and financially needy,” said Kanat, “and we can give them a ton of money to help them on their way.”
JSC was not the only Vermont college to have a winning presentation. The poster by Cynthia R. Connard, Raymond Coish, Jonathan Kim, and William H. Amidon from Middlebury College, titled “U-PB Dating of Detrital Zircons in the Cram Hill Formation, Vermont: Implications for Paleogeography and Orogenesis was also awarded the title of Outstanding Undergraduate Poster award.