May 24, 2016
Shayna Bennett of Belvidere, a rising senior at Johnson State College, has been selected to participate in a competitive program sponsored by the National Science Foundation that is sending her to California this summer to work as a research assistant.
The program, known in academic circles as NSFREU, stands for National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Bennett will be based at the University of California at Merced, where she will contribute to an Applied Research in Modeling and Data-Enabled Science (ARCHIMEDES) project. The objectives of the project are to use mathematical models to solve real-world problems, analyze results using data, and translate results into scientific context. It is a nine-week program that covers all expenses and includes a $4,500 stipend.
Bennett, who is pursuing a double major in mathematics and environmental science at JSC, has been involved in applied research at the college since her freshman year. This April she and three of her JSC classmates were selected by the Council on Undergraduate Research to attend the 20th annual “Posters on the Hill” showcase, a competitive event that brings undergraduates and their faculty mentors to Washington, D.C., to present their research to members of Congress, congressional staff and federal agency representatives.
Their winning submission, titled “Bacterial Response to Human-Induced Stress at the Vermont Asbestos Group Mine,” is a culmination of data on heavy metal resistance, antibiotic resistance, and antibiotic production in bacteria found at the site of a former asbestos mine in Lowell and Eden, Vt. Bennett was the paper’s lead author.
Johnson State was one of only 60 colleges nationwide chosen by CUR from more than 350 applications to present at the 2016 Posters on the Hill showcase. Only one other Vermont college, Middlebury, was chosen as well. The annual event affords an elite group of students the opportunity to share their undergraduate research with lawmakers, not only demonstrating how federal programs and dollars impact students and faculty, but educating them about the value of undergraduate research.
Faculty-mentored student research takes place across the curriculum at Johnson State College. It is one of many high-impact practices at the liberal arts college that take students into the laboratory, the field and the community through internships, research, study away, civic engagement and other career-building opportunities.