The scientific research of Bluefield State College students Dakota Parnell and Jesse Orell received special recognition from judges during the recent Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol (URDC) program in Charleston, WV. Their project was selected as “First Runner Up” in the “Biological and Biochemical Sciences Category” at the annual event.
Mentored by Dr. James Walters (Chair, Applied Science and Mathematics at BSC, and President/West Virginia Academy of Science), Parnell and Orell uploaded their pre-recorded presentation, “Constructing Schematics for a Novel Microfluidic Slide for In Vivo Imaging of Larval Zebrafish,” then engaged in “synchronous commenting” with judges, attendees, and other URDC participants. This year’s Undergraduate Research Day program was presented virtually for the first in the event’s 18 years.
Dr. Walters commented, “Mr. Orell and Mr. Parnell are the student leaders of this very exciting project. Several previous students in my lab have contributed to this project and Jesse and Dakota have bought it much closer to completion during their time as McNair Research Scholars at BSC. Their coming senior year will be supported by the WV-INBRE grant awarded to our lab. It is a pleasure to work with such motivated and conscientious students.”
More than 70 research projects were presented by students representing nine colleges and universities across the state during this year’s URDC. The projects highlighted a variety of topics, including biology, chemistry, computer science, education, health sciences, neuroscience, political science, physics, psychology and more.
URDC is held annually during the legislative session, giving lawmakers the chance to engage with students across the state and learn how undergraduate research projects are strengthening students’ education and guiding their future careers. The event is sponsored by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, Marshall University, West Virginia University, West Virginia State University and the University of Charleston.