Female scientists recognized for research

The Biology Commons was bustling with activity on Wednesday, March 6 as 14 female scientists, all students of the College, were honored for their groundbreaking research in the Celebration of Women in Science.

“We’re incredibly proud of all of our students, and we really wanted to provide an opportunity to highlight the great achievements that women students in the school of science are achieving through their research, through their

The Celebration of Women in Science honor female scientists. (Janika Berridge / Photo Assistant)

internship experiences, through working collaboratively with the faculty,” said Jeffrey M. Osborn, dean of the school of science.

Each woman was nominated by her individual department and received a certificate of recognition for her work. The nominees then exhibited their findings in the form of posters and brief oral presentations to an eager audience of students, professors, deans and assistant deans, who listened intently and asked thoughtful questions.

Michelle Dey, junior computer science major, conducted her research as an intern at the New Jersey Courts. There, she scanned and evaluated different software to ensure compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. One of the New Jersey Courts’ many functions involves processing revenue from traffic tickets; because it often deals with sensitive credit card data, it requires PCI compliance, Dey said.

Senior physics major with a biomedical specialization, Kayla Spector created a computational model to simulate the growth of cancerous tumors in microenvironments of different densities. She found that tumors tend to be more symmetrical when grown in low-density microenvironments. When grown in high-density environments, however, tumors develop into asymmetrical shapes with “finger-like” edges and are more likely to be invasive.

Maya Williams, junior biology major, conducted her research on the island of Lesvos, Greece. In her study, Williams observed the effect of adding a plant competitor, Vitex agnus-castus, on the existing Centaurea solstitialis plant population. She found that the introduction of the competing plant, which had a higher standing crop nectar volume, disturbed the visitation of large-bodied bees to Centaurea solstitialis, which occurs in relatively low densities on the island.

The other scientists and the titles of their presentations can be found on the Celebration of Women in Science webpage, which features a picture and a brief biography of each of the women. The webpage also displays a list of numerous female alumni and faculty who are willing to mentor other women interested in conducting scientific research.

“(The presenters) were nominated by their departments but they represent the many young women who have done outstanding research and internships in science,” said Patricia Van Hise, assistant dean of the school of science and coordinator of the event. “These young women are amazing.”