FSC biology students excel at major conference
LAKELAND, Fla. (April 3, 2006) – Winning an unprecedented number of awards for a college or university, Florida Southern College students returned from the Tri-Beta Conference at the annual meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, March 30-31 in Gatlinburg, Tenn., with four of the conference’s eight awards, including the top award.
Nineteen colleges and universities in the nation participated and 96 students made presentations for the meeting of Tri-Beta, a biological honor society for undergraduate biology students with a G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher in at least 12 hours of biology courses.
“This event is the equivalent of a Conference Sports Championship for biology students, and we were the underdogs, competing against the big guys,” said Haldeman. “Our students proved that students from a small college certainly can compete against students from major universities.”
The six competing students based their presentations on research they had conducted at the college’s Southern Landing on Lake Hollingsworth as part of biology professor John Haldeman’s “Field Methods in Biology” course. They also prepared their presentations as part of that semester-long course.
Damian Rumbough, a junior biology major from Lakeland, Fla. took top honors with the Johnson Award given for the best poster titled, “The Positive Effect of a Recently Created Wetlands on Species Diversity.” Bethany Baker, a senior biology major from Lakeland, Fla. won second place for her paper presentation on “A Comparison of Benthic Macroinvertebrate Biodiversity Before and After an Alum
“Many of the other students had done their research in year-long projects at universities including Harvard and John Hopkins, and when our students, who had prepared in one semester, first saw what the competition was, they felt they should just pack up and go home. Fortunately, they stayed and won big,” said Robert H. Baum, professor of biology.
Thirteen FSC students attended the conference as members of the Tri-Beta society with Haldeman and biology professor Eric Kjellmark, FSC’s Tri Beta advisor. Some of the department’s best sophomore students were able to attend the conference and are now better prepared for their presentations as juniors.
“The credit for this exciting win goes to not only our talented students but their winning coach,” said Baum. “John Haldeman worked closely with these students to ensure they were well prepared. He brings out the best in our students.”
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