Colorado College News: Biology, Qiu Chang Wu ’18 Named NSF Graduate Research Fellow Mon, 09 Apr 2018 15:30:00 MDT ]]> <p><strong>Qiu Chang Wu &rsquo;18</strong> has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, one of two Colorado College seniors to receive the highly competitive fellowship this year.</p> <p>The award will support Wu&rsquo;s research interests in systems and synthetic biology at Harvard University, where she will pursue a Ph.D. beginning this fall.</p> <p>Wu, a molecular and cellular biology major and biochemistry minor, who wrote in her NSF proposal, &ldquo;When I was young, I never saw myself as a scientist. I grew up in a working-class immigrant community on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I didn&rsquo;t have a notion of what a scientist was, let alone how I could be one, but I knew I loved learning about the natural world.&rdquo;</p> <p>During the summer of her freshman year at Colorado College, Wu worked at the University of South Florida, where she studied ecological immunology in host parasite relations. The following summer, she was accepted into a research experience for undergraduates (REU) program at the University of California San Francisco, where she developed an interest in systems and synthetic biology. There she worked with Hana El-Samad, an eminent noise and systems biologist, and others to study noise control in mammalian cell systems. Wu was invited back for a second summer, and received an internship grant through CC&rsquo;s Career Center to do so.</p> <p>Her two summer&rsquo;s work of research on gene expression noise is addressed in her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship proposal and is the subject of her senior thesis.</p> <p>Wu says when she started writing the fellowship proposal, &ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t really have the goal of getting the NSF, but rather to learn how to write a complete scientific narrative with feasible experiments. My education at Colorado College, and particularly in molecular biology and chemistry, had gave me the tools to write it. My professors Dr. Jennifer Garcia, Dr. Phoebe Lostroh, and Dr. Olivia Hatton (all in the Molecular Biology Department) gave me the support to write it well. They met with me to talk about experimental logic, advice on proper scientific writing, and ultimately gave feedback on my actual proposal. I thought that the process was a great learning experience and a culmination of the background knowledge and skills I had gain in the four years here.&rdquo;</p> <p>In addition to her summer research, Wu spent the fall semester of her junior year at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory where she worked on a biofuels related microbiology project.</p> <p>As a student at CC, Wu has volunteered extensively in the community: as a literacy tutor, mentoring at-risk teens at an alternative high school, helping elementary-school students with homework before school starts, and judging science fairs.</p> <p>As a result, she was encouraged to apply for &mdash; and received &mdash; an NSF Noyce STEM teaching fellowship to work with local underserved school in the STEM courses, where she worked with ESL students, providing assistance with STEM coursework. &ldquo;As an ESL learner and an immigrant myself, I empathized strongly with the students&rsquo; struggles. My goal was to help increase English literacy and develop teaching methods to make STEM education more accessible for ESL students.&rdquo;</p> <p>The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master&rsquo;s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. It is a five-year program that includes three years of a $34,000 stipend for research as well as tuition coverage. During the 2018 awards cycle, the NSF received more than 12,000 applications and granted 2,000 fellowships.</p> CC, Others Receive $1.5 Million for Botanical Digitization Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:30:00 MST ]]> <p>Colorado College will soon become one of&nbsp;38 collaborating institutions working with lead University of Colorado &mdash; Boulder on a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant to digitize 1.7 million botanical specimens from the southern Rocky Mountain region. The compiled data will become available to scientists, educators, government officials, land managers, and the public via openly accessible, free data portals.</p> <p>&nbsp;The <a href="">Carter Herbarium of Colorado College</a>, located in the Barnes Science Center, includes more than15,000 specimens of plants primarily from eastern Colorado. <span>The research focus of the Carter Herbarium,</span> named for longtime CC Biology Professor Jack Carter, is on the flora of the Pikes Peak region that includes El Paso, Teller, Pueblo, and Fremont Counties. However, the collection also includes specimens of plants from other surrounding states and regions in the Southwest U.S.<br /><br />Colorado College professors such as the late Professor of Biology&nbsp;Tass&nbsp;Kelso, as well as students, alumni, and botanists from around the region have all been contributors to this collection.<br /><br />The CC Herbarium currently is managed by Associate Professor Shane Heschel, Assistant Professor Rachel Jabaily, and Associate Professor Mark Wilson, all of CC&rsquo;s <a href="">Department of Organismal Biology and Ecology</a>.</p> Steve Taylor Earns Grant to Fund Groundwater Research Thu, 14 Dec 2017 16:15:00 MST <p><strong>By Leah Veldhuisen &rsquo;19</strong></p> <p>Steve Taylor is an associate research professor at Colorado College, where he studies cave and groundwater biology. He just received a grant from the Cave Conservancy Foundation to fund research on small, shrimp-like animals called subterranean amphipods.</p> <p>This coming summer, Taylor and one or more students will sample groundwater beneath streams and in springs and caves across numerous river basins in the Colorado Rockies to collect amphipods and record environmental parameters.<br /><br />Taylor, who is married to Tutt Library Director JoAnn Jacoby, describes the significance of this research, saying, &ldquo;as stewards of this little jewel of a planet floating through time and space, are we not better equipped to make decisions when we know what lives here?&rdquo; He also says that &ldquo;shallow groundwater is one of the easiest habitats to contaminate through human activities such as leaking septic or gasoline tanks, or contaminated runoff from roadways,&rdquo; but is often overlooked. Human activities have a broad array of impacts on surface and groundwater, meaning that knowledge of &ldquo;new populations or new species of amphipods could feed into all sorts of decisions in the future.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Cave Conservancy Foundation grant will permit Taylor to take on one research student in the summer of 2018, and possibly a second if additional CC funding allows. Students can contact Taylor if interested in this research, as Taylor explains &ldquo;with advance planning, many things are possible!&rdquo;</p> Avukile Zoya ’17 Named Princeton in Africa Fellow Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:45:00 MDT ]]> <p><strong>Avukile Zoya &rsquo;17</strong>, an international student from South Africa, has received a highly competitive, yearlong <a href="">Princeton in Africa</a> fellowship. Zoya, a molecular biology major and Spanish minor at Colorado College, will be working with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) in Gaborone, Botswana.<br /><br />She is one of 49 graduating seniors and young alumni from a host of schools around the country who will be working with 31 organizations in 15 African countries next year.<br /><br />The organization she will be working with is the largest provider of pediatric HIV care and treatment in the world. BIPAI treats more than 300,000 children and adolescents in more than a dozen countries and continues to expand its treatment of other conditions that impact the health and the well-being of children and families worldwide. The Botswana-Baylor Children's Clinical Center of Excellence, an extension of BIPAI, is the first of its kind on the African continent. It provides state-of-the-art care and treatment for more than 4,000 HIV-infected children and families from Botswana, both at the center and through its decentralized clinical mentoring program.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have always been certain that I would return to Africa after CC and give back to the nation that has given and provided me with so much,&rdquo; says Zoya. &ldquo;I am so excited to return and work in the field that I am most passionate about, i.e., public health, and to work with HIV and AIDS adolescents by empowering them to surpass their circumstances and harness their true potential.&rdquo; Zoya says her passion was solidified during previous summers when she worked with youth on public health-related issues in South Africa and Colombia. &ldquo;I think the fellowship will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the public health field in Africa and broaden my perspective, culturally and professionally,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Additionally, this experience will be the platform on which I can build when I attend public health school in the near future.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Zoya is the third Colorado College student to receive the prestigious fellowship. <strong>Anu Atre &rsquo;13 </strong>was a fellow in Ethiopia and<strong> Lauren Schmidt &rsquo;16</strong> currently is a fellow in Uganda.<br /><br />Princeton in Africa, which has a strong service and leadership focus, seeks to develop young leaders committed to Africa&rsquo;s advancement. Each year, approximately 50 yearlong fellows are paired with organizations that focus on everything from education and public health to civil advocacy and humanitarian aid. The program was founded in 1999 and has placed 500 fellows in a range of career fields in 36 countries.</p> Jane Lubchenco ’69 Awarded Public Welfare Medal Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:45:00 MST ]]> <p><strong>By Laurie Laker &rsquo;12<br /><br /></strong>Colorado College alumna Jane Lubchenco &rsquo;69 has been awarded the Public Welfare Medal by the National Academy of Sciences. The award, announced on Jan. 30, is the Academy's most prestigious, presented annually to honor individuals who have continued to demonstrate the extraordinary use of science for the public good.<br /><br />Lubchenco, currently the Distinguished Professor of Marine Science at Oregon State University, majored in biology at Colorado College. Since her time at CC, the Denver native has had a prolific career in the sciences, as a researcher, educator, and public servant. With a master&rsquo;s degree in zoology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University, she is an internationally renowned authority on oceans, biodiversity, climate change, and human-environmental interaction.<br /><br />The first woman administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013, Lubchenco also has served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the president of the International Council for Science, and the president of the Ecological Society of America. Additionally, she was a board member of the National Science Board for 10 years, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society in 2013, and took a position on the Harvard Board of Overseers in 2014. Lubchenco also completed a two-year term as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Oceans and Atmosphere, for which she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.<br /><br />Returning to her undergraduate alma mater in 2014, Lubchenco gave the address at the 132<sup>nd</sup> Commencement ceremony.</p> Professor Emeritus of Biology Jim Enderson Passes Away Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:15:00 MST ]]> <p>We&rsquo;re sad to announce Professor Emeritus of Biology Jim Enderson passed away on Jan 10. Enderson taught at CC for 39 years, from 1962 to 2001. In 2004, he received the Gresham Riley Award in recognition of his profound impact on the Colorado College community. A prolific scholar and pillar of the Department of Biology, his contributions will be deeply missed. His legacy of dedicated research and passionate scholarship continues through the Enderson Award in Conservation Biology, which is awarded to CC students involved in research that addresses biological conservation issues. Jim&rsquo;s family is planning a celebration of his life.</p> 3 Biology Majors Net NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Wed, 11 May 2016 11:45:00 MDT <p>The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recently announced its 2016 awardees, and three of the recipients are Colorado College biology majors, all of whom graduated <em>magna cum laude</em>. Receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are <strong>Kristen Wells &rsquo;13,</strong> <strong>Phoebe Parker-Shames &rsquo;13</strong>, and <strong>Isabel Jones &rsquo;12</strong>.&nbsp;Additionally, six recent CC alumni received honorable mentions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These individuals are wonderful examples of students with exceptional skills, motivation, and creativity,&rdquo; says Brian Linkhart, associate professor of organismal biology and ecology. &ldquo;Their research interests were sparked and nurtured through CC&rsquo;s unique brand of faculty support and mentoring, and they have propelled themselves into amazing opportunities after leaving CC.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Wells is in the life sciences&ndash;genetics program at Stanford University&rsquo;s School of Medicine. She graduated <em>magna cum laude</em> with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in biology. Distinction at Colorado College requires the completion and presentation of a thesis. Wells was awarded the Mary Alice Hamilton Award for outstanding biology major, William C. Champion Prize for outstanding organic chemistry student, and the Frank Henry John Figge Award for outstanding leadership in the Pre-Health Club.</p> <p>Parker-Shames received the James Enderson Award in Conservation Biology in 2013. The award honors a biology major who shows commitment and productivity in an original research project in conservation biology. Following graduation from CC, Parker-Shames worked as a research assistant for Kay Holekamp&rsquo;s spotted hyena research in Maasai Mara, Kenya, assisting graduate students with behavioral and ecological research. She plans to attend UC Berkeley in the Environmental Science Policy and Management Department, most likely working on a project focusing on the ecology and conservation of predators in human-impacted landscapes.</p> <p>Jones is a first-year Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the ecology and evolution track in the biology department. She did an honors thesis on the breeding ecology of flammulated owls after working on Linkhart&rsquo;s field crew while at CC and spent a summer working on a student-faculty collaborative research grant from the NSF for mathematical biology. &ldquo;My summer research positions greatly helped launch me into graduate school,&rdquo; Jones says. Jones was the recipient of the 2012 Richard and Reba Beidleman Award, which is presented to the student showing the greatest potential for becoming a professional ecologist or field biologist. Since graduation she has worked at the University of Colorado&mdash;Boulder studying disease ecology, specifically diseases affecting amphibians, which are of high conservation concern, and at a microbiology startup in the San Francisco area.<br /><br />Those receiving honorable mentions are <strong>Devon Cole &rsquo;13</strong>, geology; <strong>Skye McClure Greenler &rsquo;14</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> biology; <strong>Kyle Seewald Hemes &rsquo;11</strong>, <em>magna cum laude</em> environmental science; <strong>Jon Jacob Kirksey &rsquo;15</strong>, economics and education; <strong>Kira Olsen &rsquo;11</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> geology; and <strong>Kathryn Louise Reichard &rsquo;12</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> biology.</p> <p>The NSF received close to 17,000 applications this year, and made 2,000 award offers. Its Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master&rsquo;s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.</p> Gretchen Hammer ’94 to Receive Livesay Award Mon, 02 May 2016 09:00:00 MDT <p><strong>Gretchen Hammer &rsquo;94</strong> is the recipient of the 2016 Livesay Award for Social Change and will receive the award at the annual <a href="">Public Interest Fellowship Program</a> (PIFP) dinner on Thursday, May 5.<br /><br />The PIFP board was extremely impressed with Hammer&rsquo;s dedication, inspiration, and vision for making a difference in Colorado in the years since her graduation from CC. Her work has included, among other things, a strong commitment to mobilizing coalitions, a vital role as a thought leader and advocate for health equity, and a passion for mentoring younger members of the nonprofit sector.<br /><br />Hammer, who graduated with a biology degree from Colorado College, currently is Colorado&rsquo;s Medicaid director, overseeing the office which administers public health insurance for more than a million low-income and disabled Coloradans, including Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus.&nbsp; Her career focus has been on leading change for a healthier Colorado.<br /><br />Before joining the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing in January 2015, Hammer was the executive director of the nonprofit Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved for six years. She also has served as chair and member of the Board of Directors for Connect for Health Colorado, on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Children&rsquo;s Health Care Access Program and the Anchor Center for Blind Children, and on the Board of Trustees for HealthONE.<br /><br />Early in her career, Hammer was a private consultant focused on leadership development, complex systems change initiatives, strategic planning, program management, and constituent engagement for numerous public serving organizations. She received a master&rsquo;s in public health from the University of Washington.<br /><br /><a href="">The Livesay Award</a> was created by the PIFP several years ago to honor &ldquo;a Colorado College alum who is living out the mission, spirit, and goals of PIFP in his or her life and career by contributing to systemic change, by increasing the capacity of the nonprofit sector, and by helping to build a new generation of nonprofit leaders.&rdquo;</p> Terry Leyden ’78 Officiates at NCAA Playoff Championship Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:00:00 MST <p>It doesn&rsquo;t get any bigger than tonight&rsquo;s NCAA college football playoff national championship. The top two teams in college football will collide at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona, just hours after the sun goes down. Inside that cauldron and under the brightest of floodlights, cheered on by more than 70,000 fans, Clemson University and the University of Alabama will battle it out.<br /><br />Last year&rsquo;s final drew an estimated 33.4 million viewers to ESPN, and this season&rsquo;s final is expected to do similar &ndash; if not stronger &ndash; numbers. A truly gigantic event, it is the biggest night in college football.<br /><br />One man, CC&rsquo;s own <strong>Terry Leyden &rsquo;78</strong> &ndash; the referee in the white hat accompanied by his team of officials &ndash; will be at the center of it all. Terry will be the official conducting the coin toss and announcing the penalties. He&rsquo;s been refereeing college football since 1986, and Monday&rsquo;s game will cap his 29th season of major collegiate refereeing.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very, very excited &ndash; and a little anxious,&rdquo; Terry says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the pinnacle achievement of a college officiating career; everything about this game is huge.&rdquo;<br /><br />Growing up in a sporting family, Terry&rsquo;s father refereed high school and college football. &ldquo;I saw the passion he had for it, how much he loved it, so my own involvement felt like a natural progression,&rdquo; Terry says.<br /><br />Beginning his career in the fall of his senior year, Terry referred high school football from 1977 until 1986, when he stepped up to the college level. Working with smaller colleges, including CC, until 1995, Terry then joined the staff of the Western Athletic Conference. Following this, he worked with the Mountain West Conference until 2011, when he joined the Pac-12, the conference home to more NCAA national team championships than any other.<br /><br />&ldquo;Being a referee gives me the opportunity to be around and involved with the game without having to be a world-class athlete,&rdquo; Terry says. &ldquo;It has given me the chance to stay in touch with the game I love so much.&rdquo;<br /><br />A two-sport athlete at CC, playing both football and lacrosse, Terry graduated in 1978 with his degree in biology. &ldquo;I was really interested in wildlife biology, and anticipated returning to school after a few years of working,&rdquo; Terry says. With a wry laugh, he adds, &ldquo;That was 36 years ago!&rdquo;<br /><br />Since his graduation, Terry has been working in the employment recruitment and search industry, focusing on the scientific fields. Currently helping environmental and product safety scientists from across the country with their recruitment prospects, Terry has taken his collegiate scientific passions into his professional life. Founding The Leyden Group in 2003, Terry now &ndash; in his own words &ndash; &ldquo;lives science vicariously through recruitment, just as I live football vicariously on the weekends.&rdquo;<br /><br />Tonight, CC will be front and center in front of millions &ndash; watching, engaging, learning, listening, and deciding. As a CC grad, and proud Tiger, Terry wouldn&rsquo;t have it any other way.</p> Smithsonian Publishes Research by CC Student, Professor Thu, 10 Dec 2015 15:30:00 MST <p>An article in the <em>African Journal of Ecology</em> co-authored by <strong>Brooke Davis &rsquo;16</strong> and Professor of Organismal Biology and Ecology Jim Ebersole caught the eye of Australian freelance science writer Karl Gruber. Gruber followed up with them via email from Perth, wrote about their research, and sold the story to where it was published earlier this month.<br /><br /><a href="">&ldquo;Impalas Hang Out With Baboons for Sausage Fruits and Safety&rdquo;</a> notes that the study conducted by Davis and Ebersole &ldquo;is the first to provide solid data for an association between impalas and baboons that was originally noted more than 50 years ago,&rdquo; when researchers observed impalas eating seedpods and fruits dropped by baboons. At the time, the relationship between the Tanzanian duo was thought to be a casual affair, Gruber writes.</p> <p>Davis, a 2015 Barry Goldwater Scholar and organismal biology and ecology major at Colorado College, spent October and November of 2014 in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, conducting research on an Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) program directed by Ebersole. Their research showed that the impalas have learned to shadow the baboons to find food and to take advantage of the extra sets of eyes looking for predators in the savannah.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When I started my research in Tanzania, I not only noticed that impala and baboons were spending a lot of time together, but the impala were also actively following the baboons,&rdquo; Davis said. She notes that their association is not only about food; based on their behavior, it appears that the impalas feel safer when the baboons are around.&nbsp; &ldquo;When impalas were with baboons, they spent about half as much time with their heads up looking around as they did when baboons were not present,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>The findings highlight the importance of looking at subtle relationships in the animal kingdom, said Ebersole. &ldquo;We know a fair bit about how predators affect prey and how directly-competing species influence each other, but we do not know enough about more subtle interactions such as this one. We hope that our study contributes to raising awareness of the importance of looking for and studying these types of relationships,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>The <em>Smithsonian </em>article includes photos and video by Davis, a film studies minor. The <em>African Journal of Ecology</em> is a quarterly scientific journal focused on the ecology and conservation of the animals and plants of Africa, published by Blackwell Publishing in association with the East African Wildlife Society.&nbsp; Davis and Ebersole&rsquo;s research is available online, with the printed version due out soon.</p>