Marking student work at NMU

NMU hosts annual scholastic event to celebrate achievement

Northern Michigan University senior Connor Church looks at a poster on display at Jamrich Hall during Thursday’s Celebration of Student Scholarship. The annual event showcases student scholarly work through posters and presentations. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

MARQUETTE — Jamrich Hall on Thursday was a place where you could read or hear about a biomarker for glioblastoma, American violent crime in the 1990s and the effect of organic amendments upon soil and plant health in potted beans — all under one roof.

The 24th annual Celebration of Student Scholarship at Northern Michigan University, which showcased posters and presentations, takes place every year to laud the scholarship and creativity of undergraduate and graduate students in a variety of disciplines.

Students shared their work with NMU and the public by presenting posters, which were on display in the Jamrich lobby; delivering oral presentations; sharing visual art installations; and submitting essays.

Lisa Eckert, interim dean of graduate education and research at NMU, said the event involved 216 student presenters, 47 faculty research advisers and 16 academic departments.

“That is more than ever before,” Eckert said.

Sierra Gillman, a graduate biology student at NMU, is a winner in the National Science Foundation-Graduate Research Fellowship Program. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

She expects the 25th event to be a large one.

“It just speaks to the work that students and faculty have been doing, and the research that we’ve been engaged in has grown as well too,” Eckert said.

Sierra Gillman, a graduate biology student, was acknowledged Thursday for having received prestigious recognition with the National Science Foundation-Graduate Research Fellowship Program.

Gillman has been studying gut microbiome — a community of microorganisms inhabiting the digestive tract of living organisms — and she believes there should be more knowledge of this microbiome and its relationship with wildlife.

“I was fortunate enough to work with local guides and hunters here during harvest season,” Gillman said. “They were tremendous and they were super-supportive, so I’m looking forward to getting the results and communicating with them.”

Awards also were given in numerous categories for the Celebration of Student Scholarship.

This year marked the first time the Library and Archives Research Award was given, with senior history major Emily Wros the inaugural recipient.

Leslie Warren, dean of library and instructional support, said the award is given to any scholarly or creative project produced by an NMU undergraduate that uses resources from the Lydia M. Olson Library or the NMU Archives.

“It should be a well-written or well-produced work with a bibliography that clearly identifies the convergence of evidence and argument with sources that support that evidence,” Warren said.

Wros’ project was titled “The Underground Railroad in the Upper Peninsula.”

Poster topics were wide-ranging, including “Estimating the Local Food Capacity of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” “Stereotype Threat: Math Performance by Gender” and “Should You Shower Before Getting in the Pool?”

Connor Church, a senior studying fisheries and wildlife management, worked on a poster with graduate biology student Jacob Bowman on “Examining the Effects of a Flood on Brook Trout Movement in a Small Upper Peninsula Stream.”

That stream is “Unnamed Creek,” which Church said is connected to the Rock River in Alger County. The purpose of the project sprung from a flood that took place in early September.

“Essentially we were trying to see whether that would influence brook trout movement, with the idea that you would think that brook trout would either get pushed down or just be affected by this flood somehow, because it was so extreme,” Church said. “The discharge was, like, 50 times the normal flow on the stream.”

As far as they could tell, the flood didn’t affect the fish at all.

“Seventy percent of our fish stayed within 20 meters of their previous location, which either means that they weren’t pushed down at all or they had already gotten back to the reaches they were in,” Church said.

They believe factors such as extensive undercut banks and large weighted debris provided the trout with places to get out of the fast current.

Thursday’s event was sponsored by the McNair Scholars Program and the NMU Office of Graduate Education.