Students honored with Tri-Beta grant

by Katey Wright

Five Simpson students were recently awarded a $900 research grant. The national biology honorary society Beta Beta Beta gives the grants to students so they can complete detailed biology research projects.

“It’s great to know that there are organizations like Tri-Beta that value undergraduate research,” said grant recipient junior Lindsay Saunders.

In order to become eligible for the grant, Saunders and the other four winners, senior Lonny Miller, juniors Ann Keller and Susan Sandford and sophomore Tasha Beenken, submitted research and budget proposals for their research in September.

According to Assistant Professor of Biology Jackie Brittingham, hundreds of students nationwide applied for the grants.

“[The students] put in long hours outside of lab for their projects,” Brittingham said.

Traveling to the regional meeting of Beta Beta Beta to present their work is one requirement for students receiving the grants. They’re also required to use the money to buy supplies and equipment.

Saunders and her research partner Miller are working with a zebra fish mutant called “Fool’s Gold.”

While Saunders is in charge of mapping the gene responsible for the mutation, Miller is conducting the phenotypic characterization.

“It’s very exciting for me to be given the chance to do research on this level with the support of grants and faculty,” Saunders said.

Beenken and Keller, who are also working with senior A.J. Lenz and juniors Ryan Laughlin and Randy Metzger, have completed their research with sea urchins and are currently compiling information, pictures and procedures to showcase their research and results.

They, like other students both at Simpson and across the nation, hope to be rewarded for their hard work by having their studies published.

At the least, the groups will be presenting their results in a public forum.

“We will be presenting our research this December at the Simpson research symposium and also at Cornell [College] on April 26 for Beta Beta Beta,” Beenken said.