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The Dartmouth
March 4, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Students showcase research in sciences

Over 70 students will display posters presenting their scientific research during the Twelfth Annual Karen E. Wetterhahn Science Symposium today in Alumni Hall.

"This symposium is a chance to bring together any undergraduate -- man or woman -- who has been doing science research on campus and to celebrate their achievements," said Mary Pavone, Director of the Women in Science Project, which sponsors the event.

Roughly two-thirds of the students presenting posters at today's symposium are first-year interns involved with WISP. The others are mostly juniors presenting more advanced work and seniors presenting their theses.

"This is hands down the single biggest science event on campus," Pavone said, noting that in addition to the large number of projects presented, the symposium draws many other students, faculty and members of the community.

This year, Karen Von Damm, professor of geochemistry at the University of New Hampshire, will give the keynote speech. Von Damm's research focuses on thermal vents in the ocean floor. She is expected to share video of her underwater explorations, Pavone said.

In addition to displaying their projects, some '03 participants will compete for the annual awards. Seniors making poster presentations vie for three prizes, each promising "automatic induction" into the scientific honor society Sigma Xi, Pavone said.

A team of judges led by professor of chemistry Dean Wilcox will listen to a short presentation from each presenter before deciding on the top three projects.

Faculty who have hired student interns for five or 10 years are also recognized for their support of WISP. This year, professors David Kotz of computer science, Metin Akay of engineering sciences, Xiahong Feng of earth sciences and Susan Taylor of the cold regions research and engineering lab will be recognized for finishing their fifth year supporting WISP.

In addition to talking about their own research projects, presenters are advised to spend some time during the three-hour symposium talking to other students and faculty members.

"I think this opens up possibilities for networking if the participants really take full advantage," Pavone said.

Pavone said she looks forward to today's symposium. "It's always just a really exciting event," she said. "I get such a kick out of students feeling good about it and feeling good about themselves."

The annual symposium is named in honor of the late Karen E. Wetterhahn. The co-founder of WISP, Wetterhahn was a chemistry professor who died of mercury poisoning in 1997.