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Communications:
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For immediate release
June 3, 2014

Contact: Lesley Fry at (419) 995-8671 or Pam Joseph at (419) 995-8284

Ohio State Lima students awarded undergraduate research fellowships

Four students at The Ohio State University at Lima have been awarded the Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology Summer Research Fellowships through the Undergraduate Research Office. Alexandria Crawford of Waynesfield, Alexander Davis of Maumee, Kaitlyn Philpot of Germantown and Jacqueline Smith of Lima each receive $3,500 to conduct research under the guidance of Dr. Jackie Augustine, assistant professor of biology at Ohio State Lima.

"Research allows undergraduates to learn valuable skills such as goal setting, problem solving, working independently and as a team, reading and synthesizing literature and writing and communicating results," said Dr. Augustine. "Employers look for these skills in job applicants and students can use these research experiences to set themselves apart from others applying to professional schools. When students present their data both locally and nationally, often after working on their projects for more than year and a half, they demonstrate that they have the drive and focus to follow an extensive project through to its completion."

Crawford, a senior in biology, will test the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth to reduce mite load and increase reproductive success of the house wren. She will apply diatomaceous earth, a natural insect deterrent, to the insides of nest boxes. She will then determine whether it reduces the mite load on the nestling wrens and in the nest.

Davis, a sophomore biology major who plans to go to dental school, will study whether or not house wrens vary their alarm calls in response to different predators. He will present models of a great horned owl and a garter snake to the wrens, record their alarm call and determine whether the pitch, length or rate of calling varies by predator.

Philpot, a junior majoring in biology, will study whether male house wrens are open-ended or close-ended learners. She will record the song of wrens to see if it varies between first and second nests within one season and between nests in different years. She will use recordings collected from previous undergraduates as well as her own recordings. If wrens are open-ended learners, the song should get longer or be sung at a faster rate at second nests or in the second year. If they are closed-end learners, their song will be consistent throughout the recordings. She will analyze her findings on the Columbus campus this fall, where she’ll be taking classes.

Smith, a senior in health sciences, will conduct a hematological study of house wrens, researching the relationships between parental health and reproductive success. She is currently a medical lab technician outside of the University where she analyzes human blood for signs of various diseases. She is applying this knowledge to wrens by collecting blood samples and having them analyzed for the presence of malarial parasites and to quantify the different types of white blood cells. To fund the analysis of this data, Smith and her professor have obtained two additional grants – a Critical Difference for Women Professional Development Grant and an Ohio State Lima Undergraduate Research and Mentorship committee grant.

Fellowship awardees are expected to work 40 hours per week for ten weeks, complete a research thesis and present their findings to others in the field, such as at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum on the Columbus campus the following spring. The monetary award allows students to concentrate on research rather than have to balance the demands of work and school with research. More than 140 undergraduate research fellowships were awarded through Ohio State’s Undergraduate Research Office this summer.

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