News Archive

FURSCA Feature: Matthew Kleinow, '17

Matthew Kleinow, '17
Matthew Kleinow, '17, works in the Albion College herbarium.

Your Major:

Biology and music.

Your Adviser:

Dan Skean

Briefly explain your FURSCA project.

I am updating and digitizing the information contained in the Albion College Herbarium. A herbarium is a reference library of plant specimens.

What have you learned so far in doing your research?

I have learned that plant names aren't as stable as I thought, and I have learned much about different plant families.

Why did you pick this particular project?

I mentioned to Dr. Dan Skean that I wanted to do an internship elsewhere, he suggested looking into FURSCA and this project. It will reorganize and update the herbarium, while at the same time uploading the information contained within the herbarium to the Internet. That will make the info easier to access.

What's next for your project?

I'm currently working on tagging the specimens in preparation for digitizing them.I expect that I'll be done digitizing ahead of schedule.

FURSCA Feature: Emily Morlock, '15

Emily Morlock
Emily Morlock, '15, with her earthworm rigs.

Your Major:

Biology and psychology, with a neuroscience concentration.

Your Adviser:

Jeffrey Wilson

Briefly explain your FURSCA project.

I am exploring the effects of Valerian (an herbal antianxiety drug) on escape and avoidance learning in the earthworm. Earthworms are capable of learning about their responses through a process called instrumental conditioning. If a response prevents an unpleasant stimulus from occurring, it is considered avoidance. If a worm makes a response while an unpleasant stimulus is still occurring, then it is considered escape. Little research has been done with earthworms and the administration of Valerian and the presentation of an unpleasant stimulus -- more specifically, a bright light.

I expose earthworms to a solution of Valerian root, place them in running wheels, and present an unpleasant stimulus in order to record the effects on behavior. I expect to find that worms exposed to Valerian would be less likely to make avoidance and escape responses than are the worms given no drug.

What have you learned so far in doing your research?

There is a lot of preparatory work required for running experiments. Before I administered the drug to the earthworms, I had to make sure all programs that recorded data were working, create a schedule for running the worms, calibrate running wheels, and do background research for my drug. Planning ahead and creating outlines for the summer was definitely a key to my success.

Why did you pick this particular project?

My interest in research was sparked in Neuroscience I with Dr. Wilson. Last fall, I asked him if I could help his research student collect data for her thesis. I fell in love with the subject matter and helping with experiments. I found that I was particularly interested in the effects of drugs on behavior, so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to come up with my own FURSCA project. I chose Valerian because I am interested in anxiety disorders and this drug is a newly-considered alternative for those with anxiety.

How will this FURSCA project help you after Albion?

I intend to present my findings at a national meeting (the Pavlovian Society or the Society for Neuroscience) and at the Elkin Isaac Research Symposium. After my senior year, I plan on attending graduate school in order to pursue my interest in research. Doing summer research, attending conferences, and writing a thesis will be an excellent way to prepare for graduate school.

What's next for your project?

I am currently working on the process of data collection. I run a total of 12 worms a day for four hours at a time. Once all data is collected, I will conduct an analysis to determine if Valerian has an effect on the earthworms' behavior. I wish to continue research into my senior year, and perhaps use my findings as a basis for my senior thesis.

DeGroot, '16, Gives Archive Photo Find Its Due—and Its Own Stage

Audrey DeGroot, '16
A cache of photographic negatives, overlooked for almost a century, was brought to light this summer by Audrey DeGroot, '16. Learning two historic printing techniques, DeGroot produced a gallery exhibit that will be on display in the Bobbitt Visual Arts Center on Thursday, July 17, and then at Albion's Gardner House Museum through the 2014-15 academic year.

Education Students Experience Costa Rica Through Practicum

Education student Victoria Della Pia with students in Costa Rica
"Teaching lacrosse was a great way to teach English," said Victoria Della Pia, '16, one of four education students who recently did an international practicum in Costa Rica. "Through acting out the lacrosse terms, the students began to understand the English verbs and words. It was a great and fun way to teach two new ideas."

 

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