Four members of the Guam NSF EPSCoR undergraduate Student Research Experience and five research fellows from the NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Islands Alliance program presented their research at the 2021 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Digital Conference from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29, 2021.
SACNAS, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, is the largest multicultural STEM diversity program in the US.
During the conference, the students were able to attend workshops, research presentations, and connect with officials from schools nationwide for research experience opportunities.
“I feel great that I got to present at SACNAS,” said Louise Pascua, a UOG undergraduate biology student. “I wasn’t sure if we were going to finish in time for the conference because we had a lot of difficulties, but everything worked out in the end. I’m glad I got to show everyone all the work I’ve been doing this past year.”
Through the Guam NSF EPSCoR undergraduate Student Research Experience, Pascua was mentored by UOG Professor of Biology Daniel Lindstrom. Pascua’s presentation entitled, “Genetic Barcoding of all Amphidromous Nerite and Thiarid Snails Native to Guam,” focused on determining whether or not certain species of snails were native to Guam.
“I feel very thankful and appreciative that a student with my background was able to present at this conference,” said Merry Remetira, a UOG undergraduate civil engineering student. “Everyone has been very kind.”
UOG Assistant Professor of Oceanography Atsushi Fujimura mentored Remetira for her Student Research Experience. Remetira’s project, “The Relationship between Seagrass Cover and Water Physicochemical Parameters in Achang Bay, Guam” focused on determining water quality and environmental factors that affected the growth of seagrass on Guam. According to the study, seagrass meadows are beneficial ecosystems that provide habitats and food sources for many marine species.
During the conference, the students were able to connect with organizations and colleges for research opportunities.
Representatives from Texas A&M University and Iowa State University reached out to Pascua and Remetira about their work.
Boston University, Rutgers University, and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography were among several institutions that contacted Gabriella Prelosky, a UOG undergraduate biology student, about research experience opportunities.
As an NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Islands Alliance research fellow, Prelosky was mentored by Christopher Lobban, a UOG Professor Emeritus of Biology. Her project, “Biodiversity of mangrove diatom communities in three Western Pacific islands” focused on documenting the most frequently occurring diatom species in Guam, Palau, and Yap. Through her project, 13 new species of diatoms were recognized. Earlier this year, Prelosky discovered two potentially new diatom species from Yap.
“A lot of people reached out to me to check out their programs and even my dream school messaged me! It was a lot of fun and it’s an opportunity that not a lot of people get to experience,” said Prelosky. “I feel really lucky.”
The NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Islands Alliance is administered by the UOG Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant programs in partnership with the School of Education at the University of Guam. Austin Shelton, Cheryl Sangueza, and Else Demeulenaere serve as investigators of the grant award. NSF INCLUDES collaborates closely with the Guam NSF EPSCoR program, also funded by the National Science Foundation.