Article by Madeline Pyle
Lyon College senior Jordan Trant and sophomore Hannah Zang both received awards for their research presentations at the Arkansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) conference last weekend in Fayetteville.
The Arkansas INBRE conference is the largest undergraduate conference in the state where students can present their research in biology, chemistry, and physics. The conference attracts colleges from Arkansas and neighboring states, including Rhodes, Hendrix, Oklahoma State University, and many more.
Trant won first place for her oral presentation in chemistry and biochemistry. Zang won second place for her oral presentation in biological sciences. Both presented on research they have been conducting since the beginning of their college careers.
“My work involves modifying a tuberculosis antibiotic to be effective against mutated strains of the bacteria,” said Trant. She has worked on this research since her freshman year with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Irosha Nawarathne, who was selected as a keynote speaker for the conference.
“I started doing this research my spring semester of freshman year and continued it over the summer,” said Zang. “My presentation was about trans-acting factors to help promote ribosome maturation in S.cerevisiae, commonly known as baker’s yeast.”
Assistant Professor of Biology Alexander Beeser, who worked with Zang on her research, emphasizes the opportunities students receive at Lyon to conduct research and the importance of presenting.
“[Presenting] exposes students to other undergrad research projects and allows them to possibly consider networking, or looking into specific graduate positions,” said Beeser. “You want to get better at something? You have to get outside of your comfort zone.”
“Giving a talk to a room full of undergrad peers and their faculty mentors” does just that. And Trant and Zang agree.
“I had never presented any research before, so being nominated to give an oral presentation was very intimidating,” admitted Zang. “It was a really cool experience to be able to talk to others about the research I did, even if it was nerve-wracking. I am still very grateful for that opportunity, especially as just a sophomore.”
For senior Trant, this is her second time to attend the conference, and she is happy her hard work paid off.
“Since I’ve been working on this project for about three years now, it feels really great to be getting recognition for all of the hard work myself and other people in my lab have done to make it a success,” Trant said.