Six Otterbein University students, who were nominated by their faculty advisors, were selected to present their research projects at the 2011 Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Inaugural Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Ohio Statehouse on Feb. 16.
"These opportunities are so important because it gives the student a better idea of what they are doing and why," said Dan DuBreuil, a junior, biochemistry and molecular biology major. "It connects them to the research community as a whole, and, by teaching others about what they are doing, they begin to better understand it themselves."
DuBreuil presented his research project titled, "Characterization of a Perilipin-5 Splice Variant," in which he is studying the protein called perilipin-5 and the truncation of this protein, which has been found in cultured cells and various mouse tissues. The purpose of his research is to gain insight into disease such as diabetes and obesity and how to treat them. DuBreuil will also be presenting his research at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. in April.
Senior, biochemistry and pre-veterinarian major, Jamie Clapper presented her research project titled, "Investigating the Digestive Physiology of the Yellow-Bellied Slider Turtle, Trachemys scripta, on a Fruit Diet." Clapper’s research consisted of a feeding trial in which she fed the turtles plums, then collected fecal and food samples in order to evaluate the extent to which the turtles can digest and absorb nutrients from a fruit-based diet.
"I felt honored that I was chosen as one of the few to attend this symposium, and it was great to be able to share my research with my peers," Clapper said. "These types of experiences give students the opportunity to make connections and network with other schools and researchers."
Sheema Masood, a senior, international business and economics major, presented her research project titled, "Researching For-Profit and Non-Profit Organizations: Tailoring Research to Draw Comparisons." Masood’s research allowed her to identify key similarities and differences between for-profit and non-profit organizations, which can be used to identify future strategies for both types of organizations.
"It was quite interesting to present my research among other students, most of which had research related to science. I got to introduce the world of business research to the minds of many," Masood said. "I think it’s important for students to learn how to research within their discipline through their time in university. Without this research ability, it becomes hard to set yourself apart from other business students that may be vying for a job."
Other Otterbein student presenters included Linnea Clausen, who presented her project titled, "The Family and the Artist: Exploring Family Relationships through Art" and co-presenters Tiffany Stine and Lindsay Main, who presented their project titled, "Development of a Catalytic, Asymmetric, Imino-ene Reaction."
"Presentation of independent work to an external audience gives the students a real sense of ownership of a project," said Director of Undergraduate Research and Creative Work Dean Johnston. "They have become the expert on their research topic. They know more about their project than anybody else, and opportunities like this gives them a chance to explain their work to a diverse audience."
Among those in attendance at the symposium, Otterbein President Kathy Krendl, Ohio legislators, other university faculty and administration, local high school students, and representatives from Battelle, the American Cancer Society, and local industry.