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School of AREAS students, faculty and alumni participate in 1890 research symposium

Alcorn State, MS (May 31, 2013) - Alcorn State University's School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences (AREAS) research scientists, faculty, staff, students and alumni recently participated in the Association of Research Directors (ARD) 17th Biennial Research Symposium “1890 Research: Sowing Seeds of Change for the Global Community”.

Among hundreds of symposium attendees were Alcorn’s 13 students and eight recent graduates that participated in the graduate and undergraduate competitive oral and poster presentations. Both faculty and staff participated in the research scientists’ noncompetitive oral and poster presentations that shared innovative and practical research findings in the food and agricultural sciences. The five topic areas were: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; renewable energy, natural resources and environment; and family, youth community and economic development.

Three graduate students and four alumni who recently received master’s degrees participated in the graduate competition for oral and poster presentations: Jarquita Copeland ’13, Quincy Thomas ’13, Robert Williams III, Richardson Boateng, Charles Mawusi ’13, Kelvyn Olowola ’13 and Francis Mwaniki.

Nine undergraduate students and five alumni who recently received undergraduate degrees participated in the undergraduate competition for oral and poster presentations: Tiffany Thompson, Albert White ’13, Simeyon Butler, Maxwell Gidi ’13, Essence Henderson, Jasmine Marshall, Calvalencia Raven-Pilate, and Kiara Tarleton, Shymetris Allen ’13, Jeffery Freeman, John Coleman Jr., Marcus Griffin ’13, Ricardo Yates and Jason Hunt ’13.

Six members of the School of AREAS faculty and staff participated in the research scientists’ noncompetitive oral and poster presentations. Dr. Daniel Collins, chairperson/professor, Department of Agriculture, presented both poster and oral presentations “The Effects of Salinity on Phytophthora ramorum Viability and Infectivity” and “Contributions of Dr. George Washington Carver to Global Food Security: Historical Reflections of Dr. Carver’s Fungal Plant Disease Survey in the Southeastern United States”.

Dr. Michael Ezekwe, professor of animal sciences/director for the Swine Development Center, held an oral presentation “Chemical Composition of Liver and Skeletal Muscle of Laying Hens Fed Supplements of Waterleaf (Talinum triagulare)”.

Research associates in the Department of Agriculture Teddrick Hargrave and Melissa Mason presented on “Examining Constraints on Economic Growth: Selected Counties in Southwest Mississippi” and “The Role of Progesterone in Early Bovine Development and the Communication between the Dam and the Conceptus” respectively.

Dr. Martha Ravola, associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences, presented on “Systems Based Approach to Childhood Obesity Prevention”. Dr. Cedric Sims’, agronomy specialist in the Extension Program, poster presentation was “Response of Ocimum Tenuiflorum (Basil) Phytochemical Content to Different Levels of Nitrogen in North Alabama.”

Research scientists and faculty from the Departments of Agriculture, Human Sciences, and Chemistry served as mentors to the presenting students: Dr. Ravola, Dr. Yolanda Jones, associate professor, Department of Chemistry, and the Department of Agriculture’s Dr. Lashunda Anderson, assistant professor of agronomy, Dr. Evelin Cuadra, professor, animal sciences, Dr. Alena Funtikova-White, assistant professor, agricultural economics, Dr. Patrick Igbokwe, professor/associate director of the Alcorn Experiment Station, Dr. Avis Joseph, assistant professor of agricultural and extension education, Dr. Victor Njiti, assistant professor/interim coordinator of biotechnology research, Dr. Girish Panicker, associate professor/director of the Center for Conservation Research, Dr. Wesley Whittaker, professor, agricultural economics, and Dr. Chunquan Zhang, assistant professor/research scientist.

In addition, some of our mentors and presenters served as judges and moderators for the students’ competitive oral and poster presentations and for the scientists’ oral presentations.

A highlight of the symposium was the Students Awards Luncheon. Dr. Barry L. Bequette, dean and director of land-grant programs, School of AREAS, gave the occasion for the event and congratulated the winners. Mawusi was awarded first place in the graduate competition for his poster presentations “Factors Influencing Graduation Rates in two Mississippi School Districts.” Yates tied for the second place along with two West Virginia State University students in the undergraduate competition for his poster presentation “Comparison of the Structural Changes in U.S. and Mississippi Agricultural Production and Productivity.”

Dr. Whittaker, who served as mentor to both students, was extremely pleased, “We accept these prestigious awards as a win for Alcorn State University. We are proud of our winners as well as all students who participated in the conference.”

Other conference highlights included the Morrison-Evans Outstanding Scientist Award and the B. D. Mayberry Young Scientist Award both given at the awards banquet. Other activities included general and plenary sessions; exhibits by colleges and universities, government agencies, and private industry; and special initiatives for students.

The 18th Biennial Symposium will be held in 2015.