Conducting and presenting research is a major part of undergraduate life in Schmid, and although the majority of 2020 was conducted in a virtual capacity our students have still found ways to share their research. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology sophomores Aubrey Emmi and Delilah Schuerman presented their work at the virtual Center for Undergraduate Excellence Student Scholar Symposium last semester. We talked with Emmi and Schuerman to hear about their experience conducting research with faculty and presenting virtually this past fall.
Emmi and Schuerman worked last summer and fall on a project determining if testosterone affects sickness behaviors in male quails. Schuerman explained, “These birds got combinations of different injections of saline, sham, LPS (simulates an increase in sickness), and or GnRH (simulates an increase in testosterone). With the males, I was collecting data and recording how many times they crowed, were inactive (standing or sitting), mounting the female, eating and drinking.” The researchers then observed and analyzed the behavior of different treatment groups using a program called BORIS (Behavioral Observation Research Interactive Software).
Dr. Patricia Lopes, assistant professor of biological sciences, reached out to both students after they took one of her seminar classes during their freshman year. They both expressed that building relationships with professors is key to gaining research experience. “If students are currently taking a class with a professor they’d possibly like to do research with, then I would highly suggest participating and answering questions in class as much as possible. I think getting to know your professors and showing them that you care about their class is really important. I would ultimately encourage them to pursue or take advantage of every opportunity they are presented with,” Schuerman recommends.
Both students spoke highly of their experience presenting virtually. Just starting out their research careers, neither of them has had extensive experience presenting their research. Emmi said, “My partner and I got to present to fellow Chapman students and some staff members, [and] my parents also got to watch us present which is an opportunity they would not have had if we were presenting in person.” Schuerman agreed, noting that presenting several times over the course of the conference helped improve her confidence and speaking skills.
Congratulations to all our students who presented at conferences last fall!