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WIU Students Honored at ISAS Conference

May 8, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – Twelve Western Illinois University students recently won honors during the Illinois State Academy of Science (ISAS) Conference in Chicago.

Students honored during this year's conference include:

 Student Presentation Awards
Agriculture Division – Posters:

- First place - Nichole Miller, a junior agriculture major from Carlinville, IL, for "Effects of Seed Embryo Orientation on Moisture Uptake and Zea mays Germination and Emergence"

- First place - Keely Egelhoff, a senior agriculture major from Mendota, IL, for "Can Innovative Marketing Strategies Impact Projected Market Share Sales of Impending 2000R John Deere Series Compact Tractors in 2017?"

Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology Division
• Graduate Posters

- First place - Oluwabukola Ajasa, a biology graduate student from Tinley Park, IL, for "Gene Expression of Corn Earworm in Response to Infection by Serratia marcescens and Pseudomonas aeruginosa"

Graduate Oral Presentations

- First place - Ammar Al-furaiji, a biology graduate student from Iraq, for "Differential Gene Expression of Helicoverpa zea (Tomato Fruitworm) in Response to Feeding on Different Types of Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) Plant Tissues"
Chemistry Division

• Graduate Posters
- First place - Erik Sarnello, a chemistry graduate student from Itasca, IL, for "Synthesis and Characterization of Solid-State Materials"

- First place - Osamah Al-Mohammed Baqer, a chemistry graduate student from Iraq, for "C-H Bond Chalcogenation and Oxidation of Indole"

- First place - Wei Chean Chuah, a chemistry graudate student from Malaysia, for "Ionization of Polar Compounds by Nitrogen Direct Analysis in Real Time"

Microbiology Division
• Graduate Oral Presentations

- First place - Adeyemi Olanrewaju, a biology graduate student from Nigeria, for "Detection of Thermophilic Fungi in Corn-Based Food Products and Determination of their Optimal Growth Temperature"

Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics Division
• Posters

- First place - Richard Lambert, a junior physics major from Winthrop Harbor, IL, for "Assessing the Detectability of Planet Nine with ALMA and the VLA"

• Oral Presentations
- First place - Angelica Strack, a senior physics major from Stronghurst, IL, for "Variability of a Hydroxyl Maser in a Pre-Planetary Nebula"

STEM Education Division
• Oral Presentations

- First place - Megan Corbett, a computer science graduate student from Macomb, for "Mobile, Touch Screen Technology as an Aid in Mathematics Education"

Zoology Division
• Graduate Posters

- Third place -  Sierra Semel, a graduate biology student from McHenry, IL, for "Reducing Stereotypic Pacing in Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) and Brown Bears (U. arctos) by Erecting Visual Barriers Between Neighboring Individuals"

ISAS was founded in 1907, with its organizational meeting held in Springfield, IL, Dec. 7, 1907. Every year since, an annual meeting of the Illinois State Academy of Science has been held at varying locations around the state.

Likewise, the Academy's refereed journal has been published continuously since its inaugural first volume in 1908. According to the academy, "Our mission is the promotion of scientific research, the diffusion of scientific knowledge, and the unification of scientific interests in Illinois."

For more information about the competition, visit

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