Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Spring 2015 Geology Field Trip to the Northeast

Group photograph on Doane Rock on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  It is the largest glacial erratic on Cape Cod, standing 18 feet (5.5 m) high and extending below the ground an estimated 12 feet (3.7 m).  It was deposited by the Laurentide Ice Sheet, 18,000-12,000 years ago.

The Geology program took its biannual field trip May 11-22 to eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, eastern Massachusetts, and northern New York.  Dr. Hudson had not conducted a field trip to New England since 2003.  He was accompanied by eight students:
  • Jaylynn Buchmelter – a Music Education major
  • Ryan Deemer - a Geology major
  • Madisen Fletcher - a Geology/Environmental Science major
  • Tyler McFarland – a Biology major
  • Deric Roll – a Geoscience Technology and Management major
  • Jennifer Savage – a Middle Grade Science Education major
  • Rachel Swartz – a Biology/Environmental Science major
  •  Jason Wolf – a Geology major
Active garent-wollastonite mine (a skarn formation) in the Eastern Adirondack mountains in New York State.  The red layers and large red boudin are primarily garnet, the white layers are wollastonite, and the dark layers are largely pyroxene.
This trip provided students with exposure to a wide variety of minerals, rocks of all three types, and geologic structures . . . and they collected a lot!!  Four days were spent examining metamorphic rocks of eastern Connecticut where they collected such minerals as garnet and sillimanite and rocks from schists to gneisses and saw structures such as folds, faults, and boudins.  One day was spent in the Triassic basin of central Connecticut where basalts and shales were collected and dinosaur footprints were observed.  Two days were spent near or on the Connecticut and Rhode Island coasts where they collected such minerals as garnet and staurolite and rocks from schists to gabbros, and saw structures such as faults and joints.  One day was spent on Cape Cod primarily to give students exposure to this somewhat unique geologic feature.  Two days were spent in the Adirondack Mountains looking at glacial geomorphology and erosion of the Potsdam sandstone by the Ausable River . . . but the highlight was wollastonite and garnet collecting at an active mine near Elizabethtown . . . and some of the 1980 Olympic memorabilia in Lake Placid! 

They towed a large U-Haul trailer behind a large four door Dodge Ram truck and also had a minivan.  While not quite as “convenient” as using the departmental box truck, it worked out well.  They camped in the Wolf Den Campgrounds in Mashamoquet Brook State Park located in Pomfret Center, Connecticut for nine nights and then a Quality Inn in Lake Placid, New York for two nights.  While in New England, temperatures were in the 40-55oF range at night and 65-75oF during the days.  They only had one significant rain event, which lead to one flooded tent!! Night time temperatures in the Adirondacks were in the low 30oF . . .  hence the hotel stay!  Ryan impressed everyone by swimming in the ocean and everyone swam in the indoor pool at the hotel Lake Placid!!

Two interesting comments from Dr. Hudson:  (1) Normally I take students to one good restaurant on our field trips and they eat my campsite cooking during the rest of the trip except for the two days we travel to and from Ohio … and these are fast food restaurants.   However, due to logistics we ended up eating at Mexican, Italian, and Seafood restaurants and two sports bars!  (2) The hotel owner in Lake Placid was an AU graduate who played soccer for by brother–in-law in the 1980’s!  Please enjoy the photographs that Dr. Hudson has provided. 
Left:  Group photograph on a large glacial erratic in the Ausable River at the base of Whiteface Mountain in the Adirondack mountains in New York State.  Center:  Gillette Castle, which is made of quarried Hebron Formation rock, a greenschist facies epidote-actinolite-muscovite schist.  The inside of the castle was not open for the season yet, but we toured the outside and took the ferry across the Connecticut River, which it overlooks.  Right:  Sand dunes and sand covering the asphalt road near the northern tip of Cape Cod.

Group photograph on an outcrop of Purgatory Conglomerate, a “stretched pebble conglomerate” on a beach in the Rhode Island Sound, with most of the “pebbles” ranging from cobble to boulder size!!  “Stretching” was due to pressure solution and not extension!

New quarry in Lower Member (amphibolite facies garnet-biotite gneiss) of the Tatnic Hill Formation near West Thompson Dam north of Putnam, Connecticut.  We collected fantastic garnets here … perhaps two generations due to size and color.  

Friday, August 7, 2015

Mastodon Dig and AU Geology in the News

AU Geology Professor Dr. Nigel Brush and his mastodon dig in Morrow County were featured in a Mansfield News Journal article titled "Morrow County mastodon might have coexisted with humans." The article talks about how a team led by Brush spent several days digging up hundreds of bones and fragments from the Morrow County site and then several months piecing together fragments, identifying bones, cleaning and preserving the artifacts and collaborating with experts throughout the country and in Canada to research the findings. Several AU students assisted with this project.  The items from the dig were displayed in a lecture hall in Kettering Science Center. Check out the article at -- http://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/local/2015/08/03/morrow-county-mastodon-might-coexisted-humans/31082307/

Dr. Nigel Brush holds up two mastodon bone fragments

Thursday, June 18, 2015

STEM Exemplars Wanted

The Believe in Ohio program of the Ohio Academy of Science seeks STEM Exemplars to serve as role models and to encourage the pursuit of STEM careers.  Applicants must be graduates of an Ohio high school, have attended higher education in Ohio or elsewhere, and either be gainfully employed now or retired from a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) in Ohio.   

Career Profiles will be developed for each selected STEM Exemplar to be shared with students and educators across Ohio, both online and through The Ohio Journal of Science.  STEM Exemplars will be honored with a certificate, proclamations from public officials, and associate membership in The Ohio Academy of Science.  Apply by June 30th.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Biology and toxicology students earn University honors

With the academic year coming to an end it is time to congratulate our students who earned University honors recognitions this Spring.  Let's start with our three department honors:

Hannah presenting at the 2015
URCA symposium
Our outstanding senior this year is Toxicology major and Choose Ohio First scholar Hannah Baumann.  Hannah has done research here at AU with Drs. Doug Dawson and Jeff Weidenhamer, recently presenting her results at the annual URCA student research symposium.  Last summer she took part in a research internship at Ohio State University in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy identifying and isolating novel anti-cancer compounds.  Hannah will be starting a PhD program in chemistry at the University of Akron this June.

Isabella Steiner, a Biology major, Spanish minor, Choose Ohio First scholar, and member of the University Honors Program, was selected as our Department's outstanding junior.  Isabella plans to attend veterinary school and currently works in the kennel at Spring Meadow Veterinary Clinic.

Our outstanding sophomore is Biology and Math double major, and University Honors Program member Alyssa Predota.  Alyssa plans to pursue graduate work to become a physician assistant and has shadowed at Lakewood Hospital and and the Parma Veterans Affairs Hospital.  She is currently working as a State Tested Nursing Aid (STNA) at the Good Shepherd here in Ashland.

Mack presenting at URCA 2015
Congratulations as well to Biology major Mack Reece, who was selected as the University's Male Undergraduate Student of the Year.  Mack has conducted research for the past few years with Dr. Paul Hyman on bacteriophage, viruses that infect bacteria.  He has presented his work at meetings of the American Society of Microbiology, at Ashland's own URCA students research symposium, and recently at the American Medical Students Association (AMSA) Meeting in Washington, D.C..  Mack also lead the formation of an Ashland chapter of the AMSA.  He will be attending Case Western Reserve University's Applied Anatomy program this Fall with plans to pursue medical school afterwards.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Ashland science students heading off to great summer internships

We have started to hear from students who have been accepted into research internships for this coming summer.  If you are thinking of internship opportunities for the future these may give you some ideas.  While most internship application deadlines have passed, we are still hearing about some opportunities, so keep checking back with our Science News and keep searching Google.

These are some of the internships our students are heading to this summer:
  • 10-week field ecology internship at the Environmental Research Center at the University of Notre Dame involving both classwork and independent research at their field station in the upper peninsula of Michigan
  • Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program with Oregon State University working at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, OR 
  • Summer internship at Gorman Nature Center, Mansfield, OH 
  • International Volunteer HQ summer program in Cusco, Peru. Typical activities can include planting/reintroducing native species, inventory/observation of wildlife, seedling propagation, and helping with community projects 
  • Internship at the Columbus Zoo
Remember that you can always talk with your faculty advisor for information about internships, use the resources of the AU Career Center, and check our occasional blog post with internship searching information.  If you are interested in environmental science or field biology related internships you will want to be on Dr. Saunder's environmental science email list.  Contact her to ask to be added if you are not.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Eleven ashland science students, including many Choose Ohio First scholars, present at research symposium

Toxicology major Alison Biro and Biochemistry major
Peter Kobunski, both COF scholars
Ashland science students represented a wide range of disciplines at this year's College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Symposium (URCA).  In its sixth year, the URCA event was originally chaired by a faculty member from the Department of Biology/Toxicology and has always highlighted a strong contingent of science presentations.  This year eleven science students from biology, biochemistry, chemistry, environmental science, geology and toxicology presented their independent research projects in oral and poster presentations.  Six of these students are members of our Choose Ohio First scholars program, which provides scholarship funding for excellent graduates of Ohio high schools majoring in the sciences.

Biology major Mack Reece
You can see photos of all our presenters on the Ashland Science Twitter feed.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ashland science students earn track and field honors

Toxicology major and All-American Jamie Sindelar
It has been an action packed few weeks and a very successful season for three of our science students on the AU track and field team.  Last week we learned that Toxicology major and Choose Ohio First Scholar Jamie Sindelar was named the Midwest Region Women's Field Athlete of the Year by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.  This year Jamie threw the second farthest indoor shot put in Division II history.

Jamie joins two senior Biology majors, Jennifer Foster and Jennifer Bjelac, in earning All-American honors this year.  At the national indoor championships in Birmingham, Alabama this past week Jamie finished second in the shot put, Foster tied for second in the high-jump and Bjelac took second team All-American honors in the pentathlon.  As a team the women tied for third place in the nation.