Natural Sciences Day Observed at Bowie State

By David Thompson

The Natural Sciences Day and Undergraduate Research Celebration held earlier this month highlighted student research projects conducted during the academic year and recognitions students earned for participation in national research conferences.

The research work included projects from the Title III-funded Undergraduate Research Experiences, the National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Experience for Undergraduates, and the faculty-mentored Research Investigations projects.

Prizes were awarded by a panel of judges to group research presentations led by faculty in the various CURE research teams. First prize went to the Applied Biotechnology group, led by Professor Jason Abraham and Dr. Supriyo Ray, for a project entitled “Microbial Fuel Cells.” Second prize went to the Physics group, led by Dr. Hyeokmin Choe and Dr. Dawit Hailu, for a project entitled “Dynamics of a Helical Spring Model by Using Optical Laser Diffraction.” The third prize went to the Physics group, led by Dr. Hailu, for a project entitled, “The Physics of Sneezing and Social Distancing.” Individual prizes were also awarded for faculty-mentored research, which included three projects led by Dr. Anne Osano.

“This event is one of many that punctuate the research reputation that the department has established both nationally and internationally over the years,” said Dr. Chimdimnma Esimai, course-based undergraduate research experiences (CURE) program manager.

The event also featured guest speaker Seye Olafimihan, a scientist and training specialist at the global biotechnology firm Milltenyi Biotec.  He emphasized the value of grit in carving out a path for continued success for students.

Seven natural science students were recognized for their oral presentations made at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held at the University of Eau Clair in Wisconsin in April 2023. The student presenters were Kamsi Nebo, Isata Conteh, Chris Geo Provido, Lance Nuique, Chartise Coleman, Alexandria DuBuclet, and Annaya Andrews. Their research was among 25 Bowie State abstracts accepted by this premier conference.

Several students and faculty also presented their research at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Washington, DC, held in February 2023. Valdel Lekane won second place for his project entitled, “Determination of Nutrient and Anti-Nutrient Factors in Cassava Leaves of Selected Varieties in Kenya.”

Dr. George Ude, chair of the Natural Science Department and the CURE activity director, is very excited about the level of undergraduate research activities that occurred in the 2022-2023 academic year.

“I firmly believe that Bowie State will become a leading HBCU institution in undergraduate research in the STEM disciplines in the United States,” said Ude.  “Infusion of hands-on and inquiry-based research projects into undergraduate STEM courses is how we can avail every student an opportunity to experience research.”