University of the Virgin Islands undergraduate students from the College of Science and Mathematics attended the Annual Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in February 2014 in Washington D. C. The conference was organized by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Out of hundreds of presentations from students representing universities from around the country, Jamila Martin, a UVI senior majoring in applied mathematics, won first place for her poster presentation on the nutrient concentration of the bioluminescent lagoon on St. Croix. UVI Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Bernard Castillo mentored Martin as they worked on the bioluminescence project, which involved an investigation of a mangrove beach lagoon on St. Croix that glows if you disturb its water.
Dr. Castillo was proud of his student and of his part in mentoring her. He was also pleased to showcase UVI’s research skills to other colleges and universities throughout the nation. “You don’t have to go away to the mainland to get a good research experience,” he said. “We actually have it here.”
“When my students go and they do their presentations at conferences, for me, it’s a nice feeling that I have contributed to their interest in science,” said Dr. Castillo.
Thousands of students, faculty and staff from institutions of higher learning around the nation attended the ERN conference. Fourteen UVI students attend the conference and were accompanied by UVI faculty and staff including Interim Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics Dr. Sandra Romano and Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle. Dr. Romano was also there as an exhibitor with a table to promote UVI’s master’s of Marine and Environmental Science Program.
While at the conference, UVI students participated in many professional development activities, including graduate school workshop, and obtained information about STEM opportunities at the exhibit hall. There were also plenary lecture sessions of stellar STEM role models.
To attend the conference, UVI students had to participate in a competitive selection process. Ten UVI students’ abstracts were accepted for poster presentation for their research projects. Tasha Corneille, a senior biology major, was chosen as one of the UVI students chosen to attend the conference after giving an excellent oral presentation.