EWU undergrads and grad students show off their final projects and give presentations at the 2016 EWU Research and Creative Symposium. It is the culmination of countless hours of research, and critical thinking, data analysis, and presentation design. The event encompasses all majors, from STEM to the Humanities. For a complete list of the more than 500 presentations, check out the PDF here.
The Hargreaves Hall reading room was packed with undergrads and grad students showing off their research and colorful poster presentations, everything from green infrastructure, to geological research, biology and robotics.
Not only college students presented: High School students from North Central High School in Spokane presented their own scientific research, too.
Chris Golden, an incoming EWU Freshman, and his classmates David Song, and Oliver Miller, discussed their findings after sampling for the presence of metal reducing bacteria Geobacter sulfurreductens’s in Spokane regions contaminated with metals from industries like mining and smelting. The hope is a certain bacteria when released into the polluted water will actually eat the heavy metals.
They took their samples back to the lab and successfully incubated them in low-oxygen petri dishes filled with iron oxide and salt, the bacteria’s preferred environment. They pointed out that more information is needed to make sure that releasing the bacteria in the environment will not backfire and get out of control in the environment.
Zoe Zywiak and Nadina Mrkaljevic, both from North Central High School, presented their findings confirming a fish called the Montana Big Hole River Arctic Grayling, found in Montana streams and rivers and suffering from genetic mutations and health problems is originally from Asia, and that the current species is too genetically isolated causing it to inbreed, with the hypothesis that a low genetic variance of ATP-6 loci would be detected.
Current efforts to boost the dying population by simply reproducing the local species in hatcheries are not working, they said. “Compare it to what would happen if people were only marrying their cousins,” they said. The Arctic Graylings need a wider genetic pool to draw from.
Miranda Street, also a North Central HS senior, tested fish guts, specifically sturgeon guts. More specifically, she tested their frozen fecal matter for the presence of certain bacteria to confirm whether hatchery sturgeon lack the correct gut flora to flourish when released in the wild.
While research is still ongoing, the death rate of hatchery sturgeon is alarming, and Miranda is proud to help biologists in their quest to solve this problem.
EWU freshman Jessica Blackwood presented on geology research conducted as part of the “Cataclysms of the Columbia,” taught by professors of Geology, History and English. Students in the First Year Experience (FYE) pilot-course tested basalt formations at dramatic Rock Lake, located south of EWU.
They used a Brucker Tracer 3 portable X-ray fluorescence gun to confirm boundaries of basalt flows, and examine regional basalt layers eroded by waterfalls, such as above spectacular Palouse Falls. The 2 credit introductory class led by Prof. Chad Pritchard combined English and History with Science. She found that studying with Eco-Poet Prof. Paul Lindholdt helped inspire her passion for a broad range of learning.
EWU Admissions intern Afaria McKinney spoke with Beanca Thai about her presentation “Not Going to write you a love song.” Beanca found that multicultural relationships are viewed as comedic relief, whereas white couples are seen as either serious, dramatic, or comedic, meaning that some cultures are not allowed the privilege of emotions in media.