Students share research findings during CCU’s Summer Coastal Research Experience program
For his project, Zachary Padgett, a CCU senior with a double major in biochemistry and marine science, collected estuarine and freshwater samples from a nearby state park for DNA extraction. Working with a team of students under Megan Cevasco, Ph.D., Padgett learned how to perform polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) and analyze and interpret the data.
“The INBRE program has allowed me to develop new skills that I have never learned before, and I can now apply those skills to other projects,” Padgett said. “The program also showed me what it takes to perform actual research, which is much different than what I thought it would be.”
Kyla Thomas, a recent graduate of the Scholars Academy, a local high school for high-performing students, participated in the SCoRE program as a prelude to her freshman year at CCU. Her research investigated the impact of bacteria on host cells and found ways to fight infections without antibiotics. She believes that her findings and those of her fellow student researchers will help discover new ways to fight diseases using viruses that attack bacteria but not humans. Thomas explained that the SCoRE program has impacted her approach to coursework and future research endeavors.
“It’s given me a new way to look at my courses and lectures at school,” she said. “It has also given me a lot more exposure to lab work. Instead of being in the lab once a week, I can access it for a full week to complete my studies, which helps me learn a lot more.”
Bryan Wakefield, Ph.D., the director of the SCoRE program and an associate professor of chemistry at CCU, has personally trained nearly a dozen SCoRE Fellows who have all gone on to enter graduate and professional schools around the country. He describes the program as a way to help extend the pipeline from high school students to graduate students. “It has been rewarding to help both students and faculty colleagues realize their personal and professional goals and to help strengthen the culture of research within the Gupta College of Science and CCU.”