2021 Student Awards in Biology
Phillip’s approach to research has been through a combination of professionalism and independence. His Master’s thesis focuses on the stonefly fauna of Maryland and distributional modeling of several uncommon-to-rare species of conservation need. Phillip excelled as a TA for BIOL 225 for two years and earn the Dillard/Hoyt award last year. Phillip has provided excellent service as a graduate student. He served as the Biograds Secretary during the 2019–2020 academic year, is currently President for this academic year, and has also served on departmental and university committees. Overall, Phillip has been a fantastic graduate student for the Biology Department.
Taylor is an outstanding TA and a gifted educator. She has served as the lead TA for BIOL121 labs and she has played a large role in reviewing new laboratory curricula offered because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Taylor is conscientious, thoughtful, and extraordinarily responsible. Her students respect her and are engaged in lab. Taylor has a 4.0 GPA and serves as an active BioGrad member. She has also helped mentor new TAs even as she deftly balances coursework, thesis research, service and teaching. Overall, Taylor is an extremely well-rounded student and a truly exceptional TA.
Robert has taken leadership of his research program and has an ambitious three month field season planned in the western USA. His research involves studying the diversity and evolution of the spider beetle genus Niptus and includes Mexican collaborators to increase the coverage of his project. He has also worked on some Namibian species. Robert has served as a BIOL131 TA, and has been flexible and a conscientious team player; he has proactively covered for other TAs and teaches evening labs during the covid-19 pandemic. His combined dedication to research and teaching make him highly deserving of the Dillard/Hoyt Award.
Zach is an exceptionally talented, intelligent, and motivated individual. He has a 4.0 GPA and is on the President’s list every semester. He has worked diligently in the Ashley lab for the last 2 years and recently defended his Honors capstone thesis. He is also a co-author on a recently submitted publication. Zach also served as an undergraduate TA for Departments of Biology and Physics, a student veterinary technician for three years, and a former President of the WKU pre-vet club. Zach will be attending Auburn University School of Veterinary Medicine in the fall of 2021.
Seth is an excellent scholar (GPA 3.94) and a dedicated researcher. He has performed research in the Smith lab for the past two years, and his honors thesis involves vibrational communication in mudskippers. Seth presented his research at the Kentucky Academy of Sciences annual meeting and received 3rd place in the Zoology section. He has served as a TA for BIOL328 (Immunology) and as an animal care worker. He is applying for physiology graduate programs for Fall 2021. Taken together, Seth is an outstanding biology student, both in the classroom and laboratory, and is highly deserving of this award.
Brittney has been involved in many aspects of biotechnology over the last 2.5 years. She worked as a biotechnology student worker and has learned a number of laboratory techniques. Brittney is an incredibly hard worker and has been instrumental in assisting faculty members with research and classroom activities while developing the biotechnology center’s school outreach program. She has also volunteered her time during preview day to share her experiences with prospective students and their parents. Brittney has been accepted to the Virginia Commonwealth University MS program in forensics for the fall of 2021.
Stephanie is an excellent student majoring in Biochemistry with a Neuroscience minor. She has recently accepted a position with the University of Oklahoma's Graduate Program in Biomedical Science for Fall 2021. Stephanie’s independent research focused on revealing patterns of genomic admixture in salamander populations, which required molecular genetic techniques such as polymerase chain reaction and Sanger sequencing. She has produced important data that will be used to identify conservation genetic priorities for an endangered species. Importantly, Stephanie approaches science with a desire to understand “the why” as much as “the how” and is a highly deserving recipient of this award.
Reuben is a dedicated and hard-working student who is committed to a career in the laboratory and understands the importance of microbiology in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. He has excelled academically and is eager to learn. Reuben has also received glowing reviews from his mentorship at Thoroughbred Diagnostics lab. He is a polite and respectful person and will do great things in the field of Medical Laboratory Science and is highly deserving of receiving the Skean award. Reuben has been accepted into Vanderbilt’s highly competitive Medical Laboratory Science Program for the 2021-2022 year.
John T. (JT) Newman has been an outstanding pre-medical student since arriving at WKU. Mr. Newman has had a long-standing interest in health care and gained his SRNA license his freshman year and began work as a CNA at the Medical Center of Bowling Green. JT has been working as a phlebotomist and EKG Tech for over a year. In April as the pandemic surged, JT volunteered to work in the COVID ward because many of the other techs had families. He is an extraordinary person that will continue his career in medicine at the University of Kentucky, BG Campus.