Saturday, September 8, 2018

Ashland Science students intern at OARDC


Three Ashland University Science majors spent their summer interning in research laboratories at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the agricultural research campus for Ohio State University. Here is some news from one of those students, Biology/Toxicology/Environmental Science major Shelby Reutter.  Shelby is also one of our Choose Ohio First scholars.

"Over this summer I was an entomology intern at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, specifically the Horticultural Insects Research Laboratory working under USDA Research Entomologist Christopher Ranger and alongside his technician Jenny Barnett and another undergraduate student. The main focus of study in the lab is ambrosia beetles, which are a non native invasive species that attacks ornamental trees and other types of stressed trees. I assisted in a few different field experiments throughout the summer."

Shelby describes examining how the ambrosia beetles infect trees that are flood damaged or exposed to frost.  She also gained experience using analytical chemistry tools like High Performance Liquid Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry (HPLC-MS) to measure levels of chemicals in soil, and learned how to tell the difference between multiple species of beetles that farm fungi on local trees.

Check back for news on the other two students who did research at the OARDC this summer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Four AU students receive Ohio EPA Scholarships


Four AU science students were part of a group of 21 environmental science and engineering students who have been awarded scholarships to study at Ohio colleges and universities through Ohio EPA’s Environmental Education Fund. Since 2006, a total of 20 AU science students have been awarded this scholarship. 

The AU students receiving the $2,500 scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year are: Biology major Emily Nicholls of Mt. Vernon; Biology and Toxicology major Hayley Nininger of Centerburg; Biology and Environmental Science Major Tyler Theaker of Bellville; and Biology and Toxicology major Jordin Vidmar of Wadsworth.




All of the AU students selected are involved in environmental research projects.  This year, Emily Nicholls will continue her field studies using is
a combination of field sampling and aerial photography to compare the quality of a marsh dominated by invasive reed canary grass with that of a marsh with a diverse native plant community.  Tyler Theaker is studying the Sora and Virginia Rails, birds that inhabit emergent Wetland plant communities such as that of the Black Fork Wetlands.  He is analyzing feather samples to determine whether these birds are picking up toxic lead from lead shot accumulated from previous hunting.  Hayley Nininger and Jordin Vidmar are collaborating on a project to develop a rapid, reliable and cost-effective method to extract organochlorine, organophosphate, and pyrethroid insecticides from sediments.   They plan to sample AU’s Black Fork Wetlands later this year.


The funding for the scholarships comes from civil penalties collected by Ohio EPA for violations of air and water pollution control laws. The scholarship program is administered by the Ohio Academy of Science.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Life Science Education Major worked at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute this summer

Calum Watt is studying to become a high school science teacher.  For the past two summers he has been working in the Training and Education Department at a cancer research institute in Nashville, Tennessee.  Here is Cal's report from this summer.

This summer I’m working my second summer at Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA down in Nashville, TN. As a Life Science Education major, I was placed with their Training and Education Department for the second year in a row. Being back with these highly skilled individuals was great, as this summer I ran a course from development through production and facilitated those classes. It was a fantastic internship! 
Some facts about Sarah Cannon: 
  • It's the only company with a standardized cancer navigation network. 
  • Out of 48 new cancer drugs to hit the market, 37 of them had come through Sarah Cannon at some point. 
  • Sarah Cannon is a global company with roots in Nashville, it has clinics in Denver, London, Kansas City, and many other eastern cities. 
  • Sarah Cannon is the largest private oncology research company in the country, rivaling most universities.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Forensic Biology and Chemistry major studying Nuclear Chemistry at Brookhaven National Laboratory


This summer we are featuring stories from our students involved in science internships.  Coriana Borton is a double major in Forensic Chemistry and Forensic Biology, and is a member of the Honors Program.  She will be a senior this fall. She writes about her experiences this summer learning about nuclear and radiochemistry at the US Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory:

“I am currently one of twelve students taking part in a 6-week intensive program funded by the U.S. Department of Energy at Brookhaven National Laboratory. The main focus of this program is teaching nuclear and radiochemistry to undergraduate students. While here I am attending lectures, labs, and seminars. In laboratory I have gotten hands on experience working with radionuclides such as 59Fe, 113mIn, 113Sn, 3H, and 14C. Throughout the labs I have also been exposed to new instrumentation including Geiger-Müller, NaI, high-purity germanium, and liquid scintillation radiation detectors. Due to the work being done in the laboratories I first had to be trained as a radiation worker. So far, this program has done a great job in showing me the real life applications of nuclear and radiochemistry. I have been able to visit Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, Groton nuclear submarine base, a synchrotron light source, a heavy ion collider, and the NASA space radiation lab. With all of these experiences, it has been amazing to see the topics I am learning about in real life applications. So far I have had a great experience here; I have learned so many things that I would not have been able to anywhere else. In addition, I have been able to meet so many new people and talk to professionals who actually work in this field. While this program is a lot of work, I would definitely recommend it to any chemistry or physics major who is interested in learning more about nuclear and radiochemistry!”

Monday, July 9, 2018

Environmental Science major working as Natural Resource Intern at Gorman Nature Center

This summer we are featuring stories from our students involved in science internships.  Today we hear from Environmental Science/Biology major Tyler Theaker, our second student working at the Gorman Nature Center this summer.
I am the current summer Natural Resource Intern at Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield,
Ohio. My position mostly involves exotic/invasive species control, assisting in surveying and monitoring biotic inventories of park properties, assisting with preventative maintenance of power equipment and other heavy machinery, as well as Trail maintenance. The exotic/invasive species that I have and will be managing include garlic mustard, reed canary grass, multiflora rose, glossy buckthorn, honeysuckle, and Autumn-Olive. Eventually I will be assisting in the application of herbicides on such invasive plants. We do this to help restore parts of the park to their natural state. I have been surveying the activity of cavity nesting birds that inhabit the Park’s bluebird houses such as Eastern Bluebirds, Tree Swallows, Carolina Chickadees, House Wrens, and the invasive House Sparrow. We take note on which species inhabits which bird house, whether or not the bird was present, and if there is a nest present the number of eggs as well. If there happens to be a nest of an invasive species such as the House sparrow, I have to take care of it. For preventative maintenance of equipment I take good care of and clean the equipment to last longer. When I maintain the trails I usually assist in cutting trees that may have fallen over the trails, mow and weed whack around the property, hedge trim over hanging tree limbs, lay out gravel in ruts, and pick up trash/litter to keep the property looking nice for the general public. Occasionally, when I am not working outside I interact with the public: answering phone calls, directing visitors, and interpreting nature center information; assist with and conduct natural history programs; and work with and care for educational and display animals. This internship has been a great experience thus far, and I encourage future biology or environmental majors to apply for this internship!

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ashland Toxicology major interning with the Ohio EPA

Ashland Toxicology major Hayley Nininger conducts independent research with faculty member Dr. Andrew Trimble, presenting this Spring at our annual undergraduate research symposium.  This summer Hayley is applying her research skills in her internship with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.  Hayley sent in a description of her work:
I am currently an intern at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency - Division of
Environmental Services in Reynoldsburg, Ohio. This lab’s primary focus is to study samples for environmental contamination. These samples include water, air filters, sediment, and fish samples. My placement was into the Nutrients and Mercury Laboratories. These labs conduct over 20 different tests on the individual samples such as ammonia, COD, mercury, nitrate, sulfate, TKN, etc. My primary duty is to digest samples for COD (Carbon Oxygen Demand) and TKN (Total Kjeldahl for Nitrogen). I also assist with other testing as well when necessary. My other functions include organizing MSDS sheets, organizing samples, and developing chemical inventories for the full lab. I am also keeping track of what samples are arriving, when they will be arriving, and what tests need to be performed on each one. I have also been shadowing other research scientists who are doing things such as pesticide and herbicide extractions from sediment and analyzing metals in drinking water to ensure a safe quality. The Microbiology lab is another lab which I have assisted in. This lab does E. coli testing, ELISA, and qPCR. The main function of the Ohio EPA is to identify sources of known environmental problems and reveal pollution that might be undetected. This internship has already given me so many great experiences and I cannot wait for more of them! I have already learned so much and I am so grateful! Every day is completely different. I love working here! This internship is one that I would recommend to anyone that has any interest in environmental science or toxicology!
You can look for future internship opportunities with the Ohio EPA on their website or Twitter feed.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ashland Toxicology major interns at Gorman Nature Center

Over the summer we plan to share stories about our many science students working in science-related internships this summer.  First is a report from Danielle Bates, a Biology and Toxicology double major.  The Gorman Nature Center, where she works this summer, has hired AU science students for the past few summers, and the Center's Volunteer Director, Amanda Kriner ('13), is one of our alumna.

I am the current summer education intern at Gorman Nature Center in Mansfield, OH. A
large part of my position is educating the public on the wildlife and habitat in the area. We have numerous programs for kids and adults alike. During the month of May we have several school field trips visiting the Nature Center and we set up different stations that allow the kids to learn and do different activities. These activities include using aquatic nets at the pond and fossil hunting in the stream. Part of my internship is also caring for the animals we have at the Nature Center, including snakes, turtles, frogs, and salamanders (tiger salamander in photo)! I check their behavior every day and ensure that they have clean tanks and water. I will be working on a project while I am here, hopefully documenting smooth greensnakes on the property! They are endangered in Ohio and we have documented the first one in Richland county. While my internship is technically "indoor", I am outside quite a bit. It is truly a blast working here! Every day is different. This internship is a great opportunity for any college student majoring in a field of science or education!