Sarah Ponce is a rising senior majoring in Biology and Spanish with a chemistry minor. Her career goal is to become a bilingual psychiatrist and obtain a Masters in Public Health. She is also First-Generation student and was the first of her family to travel outside of North America to study abroad in Granada, Spain. Read about how Sarah reflected on her personal identity throughout her study abroad experience and what she loved most about her travels.
Mackenzie (‘22, Mill Creek, WA) is a rising sophomore at the University of Portland. She will be answering some frequently asked questions that incoming students typically have regarding taking labs, as they can differ quite a bit from high school science labs. Especially if you are a pre-health student, you will be taking many labs throughout your four years here, so a little insight can’t hurt!
Congratulations to the College of Arts and Sciences, which placed second in total donors in #PilotsGive! Thanks to your efforts, 128 donors made contributions to CAS, surpassing our minimum goal of 100 donors to unlock the $200,000 pledge from Kunal Nayyar! Great job, everyone! Together, we all add UP!
Kunal Nayyar ’03, star from the Big Bang Theory, has pledged to give $200,000 to support the Performing Arts Department in the College of Arts and Sciences. Kunal hopes to inspire at least 100 donors to make a gift to any designation in the College of Arts and Sciences campaign. When this goal is reached, his gift will provide support for performing arts students and programs.
Join the challenge starting tomorrow at 12:00 p.m.! On April 4-5 from noon to noon, the UP community will come together for our first ever day of giving:#PilotsGive. With nearly $400,000 in challenge funds available, University of Portland has an ambitious goal of securing 1000 donors in one day! #PilotsGive is OUR chance to make UP stronger. pilotsgive.up.edu Together we all add UP!
University of Portland’s biology professor Elinor Sullivan won a federal grant worth almost $4 million to conduct research at the Oregon National Primate Research Center. Her research concerns the link between maternal obesity and a high-fat diet on the brain development and mental health of primates. For more information on Professor Sullivan’s grant and research, please click here.
Ami Ahern-Rindell of the biology department, and 2013-2014 Dundon-Berchtold Biology Fellow, and her student collaborator and Dundon-Berchtold Scholar, Alex Quackenbush, had a peer-reviewed paper published in the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Quarterly fall issue (Vol. 36 No. 1) dedicated to “Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Undergraduate Research.” The paper is entitled “Applied Ethics Can Foster the Teacher-Scholar Model and Impact Undergraduate Research Campus-Wide.” The article highlights UP’s efforts to support faculty-student scholarly collaborations pertaining to applied ethics and provides a specific example in the biology discipline. UP’s Dundon-Berchtold Initiative is featured in the article and suggested as a possible model for other higher education institutions to emulate.
Nine UP students attended the Sigma Xi Columbia Willamette Chapter Student Research Symposium with three faculty sponsors (Elinor Sullivan, Tara Maginnis, and Christine Weilhoefer) on April 16th at Portland State University. The undergraduates competed under the categories of Biology, Biomedical Sciences and Earth and Environmental Sciences. Below are the awards that University of Portland students won:
1st place – Taylor Rudow
2nd place – Clayton Steed and Ryan Kain
3rd place – Cassidy McCartney
1st place – Kellie Riper
Earth & Environmental Science
1st place – Jeff Fang
2nd place – Sarah Donohoe
Taylor Rudow, was also named one of the ten “Provost’s Initiative for Undergraduate Research” recipients for Spring, 2015.
–Story from Tara Maginnis
No, this isn’t a strange YouTube fascination. Bui teamed up with biology professor Elinor Sullivan this semester to research how the obesity of non-human primates affects their offspring.
“I never thought that it would be so mind blowing,” Bui said. “We can draw conclusions from what we find in the research and help people who are experiencing similar characteristics or maybe even developing healthier lifestyles. It’s so profound to think that you are able to conduct something, and transfer that knowledge to the bigger population to help people become healthier.”
Sullivan and Bui were among the recipients of the Spring 2015 Provost’s Initiative on Undergraduate Research awards. The provost selects faculty members to mentor and collaborate with an underclassman on a co-designed research project.
Bui spends three to four hours a week in the Romanaggi Hall computer lab, working her way through a series of 32 videos. The videos, 45 to 47 minutes each in length, focus on the offspring of an obese non-human primate.
The primate is alone in a cage for the first 10 minutes of the video. Then a researcher, normally Sullivan, walks into the room and sits without interacting with the primate. Eventually, Sullivan will get up close and personal with the primate, attempting to make eye contact.
Bui observes the primates’ behavior and takes detailed notes. Bui says that she has taken note of several social similarities between humans and the non-human primates.
“We found that monkeys who are more obese or have obese parents are less likely to make eye contact because they are afraid or more drawn back,” Bui said. “And you can think about that in our society as well. There hasn’t been a specific study done, but if someone is less confident about the way they look, they are not as likely to go out and interact or make eye contact.”
Sullivan and other researchers also experimented with trying to frighten the animal. Bui said the videos sometimes show Sullivan wearing a vampire mask or a cone head to see how the primate will react.
“One behavior I found in the primate when someone is wearing a vampire mask or a cone head was lip smacking,” Bui said. “It kind of correlates with anxiety, like grinding your teeth when you get nervous about something.”
The world of undergraduate research is new to Bui. She says she is grateful to Sullivan, who was her physiology professor last semester, for helping her gain experience.
“She cares that I’m interested in this, and she’s appreciative of my time and the effort that I’m putting in,” Bui said. “It’s just so nice to have her as a mentor.”
Sullivan has been working on this project with a team of researchers since 2008. She hopes to translate her results to human problems with obesity.
“We knew that obese mothers were more likely to have children that would grow up to be obese.” Sullivan said. “But we didn’t know if that was just genetic, or a result of a shared environment, or if something else is happening during development. That’s why we started investigating.”
The ultimate goal of Sullivan and Bui’s research is to help pregnant women who struggle with obesity find the best way to take proper care of their pregnancy and their child’s health.
Through her experiments, Sullivan has discovered that cutting out unhealthy food from the primate’s diet just during it’s pregnancy can seriously impact the physical and psychological state of the offspring.
She hopes this evidence will help obese pregnant women make healthy choices during their pregnancy.
“They may not be able to give up McDonald’s and eating ice cream forever,” Sullivan said. “But perhaps, just like you give up alcohol and smoking during pregnancy, they’d be willing to give up unhealthy food as well.”
Bui is working towards a career in dentistry and she hopes that this research will further her work.
“The choices you make correlate to your lifestyle and overall that’s something I want to do as a career,” Bui said. “I’m interested in oral health. I think this research will not only make me a better science student but it will make me a more knowledgeable dentist in the future.”
–Story from the Beacon
Excerpts from comments made by Dean Andrews:
At the beginning of the semester, each senior and junior athlete-student was invited to nominate one professor for The 2015 Difference Award. The main criterion for this award is that the faculty member embody whatever difference-making characteristic, idea or attitude students felt made a positive and substantial impact in their life as an undergraduate Pilot. Professors Hannah Callender, Terry Favero, and Christopher Lee were chosen by our athlete-scholars as key difference-makers at our University. They were honored as Difference Award recipients at a public presentation during the UP Men’s Basketball game on Thursday, February 12.
Congratulations Hannah, Terry, and Chris!
|Dr. Hannah Callender, Department of Mathematics|
|Dr. Terry Favero, Department of Biology|
|Dr. Christopher Lee, Department of Mathematics|
University of Portland senior Alexandra Quackenbush was awarded the Rita W. Peterson Award in Science Education from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during its recent Pacific Division conference. Quakenbush also received second place in her division for her project and presentation. Quackenbush, a biology and mathematics double major and member of the University’s Honors Program, worked on her project with biology professor Ami Ahern-Rindell. The project, “Ethics Tutorial for Students Engaging in Undergraduate Biological Research,” was completed as part of the University’s Dundon-Berchtold Fellowships.
For the project, Quackenbush surveyed junior and senior students in biology labs by posing behavior scenarios. The pair found that students had gaps in their understanding of ethical situations, especially in the areas of data management, authorship, and experimental design.
The Rita W. Peterson Award in Science Education, was established in 2002 to honor an outstanding student presentation in an area of science education research.
The Dundon-Berchtold Fund for Moral Development and Applied Ethics was established by University of Portland regent Amy Dundon-Berchtold and her husband Jim Berchtold ’63. The fund is designed to ensure that the University meets its “aspirations both to form the moral character of its students and to conduct sustained ethical reflection in applied aspects of business, science, engineering, education, health care, and the arts. The fund includes Dundon-Berchtold Fellowships, which started in 2013 and provide for students and faculty mentors to study contemporary ethical issues related to their own academic disciplines as well as the many vocations and professions supported by the University’s educational mission.
For more information contact Dan McGinty, provost’s office, at 7105 or email@example.com.