Local News

April 25, 2014

William Penn students display research at symposium

OSKALOOSA — William Penn seniors put their scholarly research on display at the Penn Activities Center Thursday.

William Penn University held a symposium on the main floor of the PAC. Eighty-five students made posters to highlight the research they had conducted.

“This is impressive,” Biochemistry professor Dr. James North said. “This year we’ve got 85 posters; last year, around 60 and 40 the year before that.”

The research is for capstone courses in a variety of disciplines. North said the symposium featured work from biology, sociology, business, psychology and exercise science students.

Most of the students spent a semester doing research. The biology students had two semesters to conduct their studies.

“Some of the research takes a long time,” North said.

William Penn seniors Alex North and Emmanuela Meneide conducted research on mammoth fossils.

“They used the Scanning Electron Microscope to look at the clay around the bones,” North said. “They learned how to use the SEM and picked a project.”

William Penn senior Ashlynn Betts did research on effects of caffeine on the leg muscle twitch response of frogs.

“I injected caffeine into frog legs,” Betts said.

Betts had a twitch strength control group, a long-term caffeine group and a short-term caffeine group.

“The more caffeine they have, the slower the twitch and lower the strength,” Betts said.

Betts said her research was interesting. However, she did feel guilty about killing the frogs in the process.

“It gets me ready for what I will do in the medical field,” Betts said of her research project.

North said he was impressed by the large crowd gathered for the symposium. He was pleased to see students going from poster to poster and discussing the research with each other.

Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at oskynews@oskyherald.com

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