For the first time in the 30-year history of the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference, the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture has recognized 10 students with monetary awards totaling $3,000.
COLSA Dean Anthony S. Davis announced eight $250 prizes for excellence and two $500 prizes, one for outstanding oral presentation and one for outstanding poster presentation, during a virtual awards ceremony following the conference. The students’ work was reviewed by a diverse group of 68 COLSA postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. The judges ranked posters and presentations based on criteria that included visual appeal, overall clarity and the presenter’s ability to frame their research in a real-world context.
The eight recipients of awards of excellence were Lillian Delgado ‘21, Donnelly Hutchings ‘21, Troy LaPolice ’21, Lauren McDowell ’24 and Cate Wardinski ’21 (joint project), Elizabeth Miller ‘21, Robyn Parker ‘21, McKenna Wells ’21 and Emily Williams ‘21. Hayleigh Hildebrand ’21 won the outstanding poster award for her research on agricultural nutrient cycling titled How Does Agricultural Management Affect the Distribution of Organic Nitrogen Into Different Soil Pools? and Julia Squillace ’21 won outstanding oral presentation for her research titled Linking Nest Timing Phenotypes to DNA Methylation of Circadian Rhythm Genes in Female Breeding Tidal Marsh Sparrows.
“Winning this award has made me very proud of the hard work I have accomplished as an undergraduate,” says Squillace, a wildlife and conversation biology major and budding bird researcher. “This experience has shown me a potential career path that I can pursue.”
For Hildebrand, an environmental sciences and Russian dual major, the URC represents an extension of her broader UNH education.
COLSA’s URC committee also includes Andre Brito, Leslie Curren, Molly Doyle, Jessica Ernakovich, Vicki Jeffers, Subhash Minocha, and Paul Tsang and co-chairs Pamela Wildes and Wil Wolheim. Curren, Jeffers and Ernakovich joined Morrell on the awards subcommittee that coordinated the poster and presentation evaluations, recruited judges and organized the results.