ALLIANCE, Ohio — The Ohio Biological Survey’s annual Ohio Natural History Conference was held virtually in February and featured research from four Mount Union natural science students who participated in hands-on research with faculty.
Much of the research was conducted at Mount Union’s Huston-Brumbaugh Nature Center and covered a variety of topics, ranging from Beech leaf disease, groundwater pollution, biodiversity’s impact on pond health, native bees and microplastic deposition.
“Presenting my work at the Ohio Natural History Conference let me meet one of the people behind the beech leaf disease research project to which we were contributing,” said Emily Becker ’22, an environmental science major of Brecksville, Ohio. “I got to speak to him during my presentation about our experience as citizen scientists and discuss where the research might go from there. He even mentioned one of the theories we came up with about how the disease is spreading during his own presentation on the topic!”
Presenting their own research alongside Becker were students Carson Ciesinski ’21, an environmental science and geology double major of Hinckley, Ohio, Jarod Hunter ’21, a biology major of Sebring, Ohio and Emily Maroni ’22, a chemistry major of Youngstown, Ohio.
“We have been intentionally increasing the amount of student research conducted at the Nature Center—through the Brumbaugh Scholars program and independent studies,” said Dr. Chris Stanton, professor of biology and director of the Nature Center. “The students gain field research experience but also benefit from presenting at a scientific meeting and meeting other students and scientists in our region. The Ohio Natural History Conference is a comfortable, friendly venue for students to start their professional careers.”
Mount Union students and faculty have presented 10 research posters over the past three years alone.