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Five students present at Nebraska Academy of Sciences annual meeting

April 23, 2014

Five Chadron State College students presented at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences annual meeting. From left, Brady Baker of Kimball, Neb., Maggie Darnell of Chadron, Sarah Blackstone of Castle Rock, Colo., Stephanie Steele of Osceola, Neb., and David Draper of Valparaiso, Neb. Five Chadron State College students presented at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences annual meeting. From left, Brady Baker of Kimball, Neb., Maggie Darnell of Chadron, Sarah Blackstone of Castle Rock, Colo., Stephanie Steele of Osceola, Neb., and David Draper of Valparaiso, Neb.

Five Chadron State College students presented at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences recent annual meeting. It was the first time for each of the students to present at the conference.

CSC science professor Mike Leite said, “Once again, Chadron State College science students have shown themselves to be among the best in Nebraska. They have been motivated by their curiosity and worked hard to get results. They put together presentations that people enjoyed hearing. I was proud to represent this group.”

Stephanie Steele of Osceola, Neb., presented “Testing for the presence of Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus in the Nelson Physical Activity Center at Chadron State College” which addresses ongoing research with fellow student Markus Potter of Valentine, Neb., and science faculty member Dr. Ann Buchmann.

“Using Social Media Platforms to Enhance Student Learning in the Sciences” was presented by Maggie Darnell of Chadron, representing her work this semester with her fellow NASA grant science mentors Sarah Blackstone of Castle Rock, Colo. and David Keim of Bridgeport, Neb. The three mentors demonstrated fun and exciting techniques to teach science to children grades K-5. This year was Darnell’s second time attending the conference.

Leite said, “This group is doing good things. NASA supported us this year as part of their STEM workforce development initiative. Elementary education students really need help teaching science at that level and these student NASA mentors made some real progress, I think, in reaching out to them. Lots of people think science is scary. The NASA mentors think science is fun and they were able to find ways to get that across to the elementary teachers in training.”

The following presentations made at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences conference will also be part of the Student Symposium April 29 from 11 a.m.–5:30 p.m., April 30 from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. and May 1 from 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. in the Learning Commons of the King Library.

Brady Baker of Kimball, Neb, presented his research plans titled “Antibiotic Activity of Bacillus Licheniformis.”

Darnell presented “Postmortem behavior of Vertebrate Carcasses in Aquatic Environments: The Physics of Bloating, Floating and Exploding,” about laboratory research she has conducted with faculty member Dr. Michael Leite. She measured the tensile strength of decaying chicken skin as it was being stretched. She said one person who attended her session in Lincoln was very excited to see the topic being addressed.

Leite said, “When you mention bloating and exploding carcasses people take notice, and not only to express revulsion. This problem has real application in trying to figure out why animals become fossils. Maggie has made great progress in figuring out some of the basic questions in this sort of unpleasant area of research.”

“Paleontological Inventory of a New Land Parcel in the Ogalala National Grasslands, Nebraska National Forest” is the title of the presentation by David Draper of Valparaiso, Neb. It describes his plans for a future research project he will conduct near Toadstool Park on a parcel of federal recently acquired through a parcel swap with a private owner.

“David is helping CSC build on our good relationship with the Forest Service and promote the public’s love of fossils. He is going to follow up on his preliminary work by discovering what there is to find on a piece of land that’s now in the public trust for the first time,” Leite said.

—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator

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