BATON ROUGE – Student researchers from LSU and Baton Rouge Community College, or BRCC, were recognized for their outstanding poster presentations at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students, or ABRCMS, held in Tampa, Fla. LSU’s Joselyn Knowling, a native of Bogalusa, La., and BRCC’s Caitlin Cox, a native of Kansas City, Mo., won awards for their poster presentations in the categories of social and behavioral science/public health and immunology.
ABRCMS is one of the largest professional conferences for underrepresented minority students, military veterans and persons with disabilities pursuing advanced training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. This year’s theme was “Diverse Voices, Diverse Science: A Future of Excellence in STEM Research.”
More than 4,000 individuals attend the four-day conference annually, including approximately 2,100 undergraduate and post-baccalaureate students and 450 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. ABRCMS also attracts about 1,500 STEM faculty, program directors and administrators. Students from more than 350 U.S. colleges and universities engage in presenting and networking. In this sixteenth year, 1,800 students participated in poster and oral presentations, and 286 awards were given in twelve disciplines within the biomedical and behavioral sciences.
Knowling, an LSU junior in biological sciences and undergraduate researcher in the laboratory of Samithamby Jeyaseelan in the Department of Pathobiological Sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, is a scholar in the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, or IMSD, program. Her poster, titled “Both Interleukin (IL)-1a and IL-b Contribute to Host Protection Against Pulmonary Klebsiella Pneumoniae Infection,” was presented in a total of three competitions this past fall semester. In addition to her win at ABRCMS, Knowling won first place at the Phi Zeta competition at the LSU Veterinary School and the top prize for the level one category at the 2016 LSU Undergraduate Research Conference.
“On behalf of the LSU College of Science, I congratulate Joselyn and Caitlin for a job well done. They are an outstanding representation of the top-notch undergraduates involved in research at LSU,” said Cynthia Peterson, dean of the LSU College of Science and Seola Arnaud and Richard Vernon Edwards Jr. Professor. “Conferences like ABRCMS allow students an opportunity to share their research with their peers and professionals throughout STEM fields. It is also a great way to hone their science communication skills, learn about the latest research innovations and explore opportunities for collaboration.”
Knowling plans to receive her bachelor’s degree in May 2018 and enroll in an M.D./Ph.D. program.
Cox is a participant in the LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives, or OSI, National Institutes of Health Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program. She is also an undergraduate researcher working with Janna Oetting, professor in the department of communication sciences and disorders and director of the language development and disorders lab. Cox’s poster titled, “The Genetics of Specific Language Impairment: Race, Gender, and Positive Family History,” was one of eight winning presentations by community college students. Her win is particularly noteworthy, as she achieved this honor for a presentation based on only ten weeks of research experience.
“Our college takes great pride in linking faculty with undergraduate students who are enthusiastic about independent research projects. Dr. Oetting is an incredible scholar whose collaboration with Caitlin provides a research experience that is second to none,” said Stacia Haynie, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences dean and J.W. Annison Jr. Family Alumni Professor.”
With extensive guidance through workshops on developing and presenting research posters as well as individual consultation, led by Becky Carmichael, science coordinator with the LSU Communication across the Curriculum, or CxC, Cox represented BRCC and LSU well.
Cox commented, “Attending and presenting at ABRCMS was a gratifying and inspirational experience. The conference allows like-minded individuals to come together to speak about their research. I learned a lot about current studies and was able to make sincere connections with others on a professional level. I truly enjoyed the experience overall.”
The recognition of these outstanding students at prestigious national competitions like ABRCMS is a testament to the exceptional collective support provided by BRCC, IMSD, LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences, LSU College of Science, LSU CxC and OSI.
ABRCMS is designed to encourage underrepresented minority students to pursue advanced training in STEM and provide faculty mentors and advisors with resources for facilitating students’ success. During the four-day conference, students participate in poster and oral presentations in twelve disciplines in the biomedical and behavioral sciences, including mathematics. All undergraduate student presentations are judged, and those receiving the highest scores in each scientific discipline and in each educational level are given an award during the final banquet. In addition to the presentation competition, more than 600 representatives from graduate programs at U.S. colleges and universities, as well as scientists from government agencies, foundations and professional scientific societies join ABRCMS in the exhibitors program to share information about graduate school and summer internship opportunities. The conference is sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity under award number T36GM073777 and managed by the American Society for Microbiology. For more information about ABRCMS, visit http://www.abrcms.org.
Bridges to the Baccalaureate
The Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25GM102765. This program is an LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives project in collaboration with the LSU College of Science and Baton Rouge Community College to help BRCC students transition into biomedically-related baccalaureate degree programs at LSU. Program activities include individual mentoring, peer tutoring, academic success programs, and undergraduate research opportunities. For more information, visit www.lsu.edu/nihbridges.
LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences
The LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences offers a diverse range of courses and majors that provide students with a foundational base of skills that are critical to success in today’s global market. The college consists of 13 departments and 13 programs, with 16 major fields of study and more than 40 concentrations available to LSU students. To learn more, visit www.hss.lsu.edu.
LSU College of Science
The LSU College of Science is an international leader in scientific research and instruction, elevating LSU to the highest level of excellence among major research universities in the U.S. and abroad. The college consists of five academic departments including biological sciences, chemistry, geology and geophysics, mathematics, and physics and astronomy, and the LSU Museum of Natural Science. Seven major fields of study and more than 20 concentrations are available to students interested in pursuing a science major at LSU. For more information on LSU’s College of Science, visit science.lsu.edu.
Communication across the Curriculum
LSU’s Communication across the Curriculum, or CxC, is the first program in the nation focused on improving student communication skills within the disciplines. Through communication intensive courses, LSU students can enhance critical thinking, while improving their communication skills in written, spoken, visual and technological forms.
The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development, or IMSD, program at LSU provides research training, academic and personal development, and career opportunities for underrepresented graduate and undergraduate students majoring in biomedical or behavioral science disciplines. The IMSD program has been supported since 2004 by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under award number R25GM069743. IMSD activities include individualized counseling, training and mentoring, as well as group learning and outreach opportunities. For more information, visit www.lsu.edu/imsd.
Office of Strategic Initiatives
The LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives, or OSI, leads and coordinates institutional efforts to assist in raising LSU’s academic standing among its peers through competitive and outstanding achievements by students, staff and faculty. Our core mission is to prepare the next generation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics leaders. Through multifaceted initiatives, OSI assists the Office of Academic Affairs in creating and implementing programs that enhance the diversity of students and faculty at LSU. For more information, visit http://osi.lsu.edu.
Contact Melissa Crawford
LSU Office of Strategic Initiatives
LSU Media Relations