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Shepherd University hosts the 89th West Virginia Academy of Science meeting April 12

ISSUED: 27 May 2014
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The West Virginia Academy of Science (WVAS) hosted its 89th Annual Meeting on April 12, 2014 on the campus of Shepherd University. The all-day event provided opportunities for over 160 undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and other professionals to present their research in numerous areas of science.

The Academy was founded to advance scientific knowledge and to promote science in West Virginia, notes Dr. Jason Best, WVAS president and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Shepherd University. This year’s conference was designed to highlight and celebrate scientific achievements across a spectrum of disciplines, from astronomy to zoology.

The morning session reflected this diversity. In addition to Shepherd University President Dr. Suzanne Shipley’s first remote Skype conference welcome and remarks from Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean Dr. Colleen Nolan, the Academy presented its Dr. John Warner Outstanding Teacher Award to Martinsburg High School forensic science/biology teacher Jodi Kissner. The main focus of the morning was the plenary session, A Sampler Collection of Great Science Stories, in which Shepherd faculty Dr. Jeffrey Groff, Dr. Jordan Mader, Dr. Carol Plautz, and Dr. Ralph Wojtowicz presented the latest exciting discoveries and innovations in the areas of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, and computer sciences.

The meeting featured numerous oral presentation sessions and a poster presentation session, which provided attendees the opportunity to view over 100 different scientific presentations. Competitive awards were presented to both undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of Best Poster Presentation and Best Oral Presentation. Among the winners were Shepherd University undergraduate students Darryl Johnson, a mathematics senior from Kearneysville, and Christian Shimer, a mathematics junior from Harpers Ferry, for their poster Stability and Bifurcation Analysis of a three-Compartment Tumor Model. When asked about his experience, Shimer stated, “I was not expecting to win at all, but it was good experience, and I’m very happy.” Reflecting on the overall meeting experience, Johnson added, “We need symposiums like this to remind us that, yes, we don’t know everything possible about our respective fields, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate just how far we have come.” Over 50 student volunteers from Shepherd were present as well to serve as support staff for the meeting, and were a vital part of a meeting that was described by attendees as “Well-organized with great facilities”, and “Top notch. Shepherd has set the bar high.”

The 89th Annual Meeting of the West Virginia Academy of Science at Shepherd was supported by donations from Valley Proteins, Inc. and the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity from both private and public sources,” says Best. “Such a clear indication of the support of science from Shepherd alumnus Michael Smith at Valley Proteins and from West Virginia Space Grant demonstrates the continued value and impact of the sciences in West Virginia.”

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