Undergraduate Mentorship Symposium Showcases Quality Research

Cora Garcia, right, stands with her grad student mentor, Pierre Lau.

Cora Garcia, right, with her grad student mentor, Pierre Lau. Photo by Rob Williams

The Aggie Women in Entomology recently hosted its graduate student mentorship symposium during the 2020 Mentorship Symposium in Heep 413 on Friday, February 7.

The event featured talks by undergraduate students in entomology that were mentored by a graduate mentor. Each student was given 10 minutes to talk on their research projects. This year, four undergraduates presented research ranging from striped cucumber beetle’s preferences for host-plant olfactory cues to determining the effects of nutrition on honey bee pathogen defense against the Deformed wing virus.

Laura Marmolejo, center, with Morgan Thompson, left, and Jaclyn Martin

Laura Marmolejo, center, with Morgan Thompson, left, and Jaclyn Martin. Photo by Rob Williams.

Several awards were also given at the end of the symposium to two students to help fund travel to a national or regional professional conference of the student’s choice.

The first place award was given to Cora Garcia for her talk titled “Honey bee (Apis mellifera) macronutrient regulation: Nurse bee nutritional preferences for proteins and lipids” while second place was awarded to Laura Marmolejo for “Striped cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittatum) preferences for host-plant olfactory cues.”

The symposium’s purpose is to recognize and reward research excellence and mentorship accomplished by undergraduate students and their graduate student mentors within the Department. It also offers undergraduates a way to present their research to their peers, as well as to compete for travel awards for professional conferences.

AWE Member Alex Payne said that having a mentor helps the students in their development both professionally and academically.

“Personally speaking, I think that having a graduate student mentor was extremely beneficial to developing both my research skill set and my professional development when I was an undergraduate research assistant,” Payne said.  “This symposium allowed us to not only recognize the hard work being done by undergraduate researchers, but it also recognized the time and effort that their graduate student mentors have invested in these students and their projects.”

“The presentations during the symposium were put together very well!” AWE president Jaclyn Martin said. “All of the speakers did an amazing job. It’s really awesome to see what kind of research undergraduate students are doing in the department!” president Jaclyn Martin said.


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