Biology Success in Mexico City

Hollis, Alejandra and Jason

Hollis, Alejandra and Jason.

Three UCF biology students, Hollis Dahn, Alejandra Osorio, and Jason Stickland, participated at the annual Southwestern Association of Naturalists (SWAN) meeting in Mexico City from April 14-17. Hollis, Alejandra, and Jason all work in Biology Professor Chris Parkinson’s, Ph.D., laboratory. The Parkinson Lab focuses on evolution, systematics, and conservation of reptiles.

Hollis Dahn - 2

Hollis Dahn accepting the Wilks award.

Graduating senior Hollis Dahn, was awarded the Wilks Award for her presentation “Comparative phylogeography of Arizona elegans and Rhinocheilus lecontei: Two perspectives on North American desert Biogeography.” Students competing for the Wilks Award submitted a 2 page research summary in February. Five students from 27 total candidates, were selected to give an oral presentation describing their work in the plenary session of the meeting.

Hollis’ presentation was selected as the best presentation based on the quality of her presentation and the scientific significance of her findings. The Wilks Award is considered SWAN’s highest honor and Hollis is only the second undergraduate to have won. Hollis also received an Honorable Mention for her poster at the UCF Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence for this work.

Alejandra O -1

Alejandra Osorio presenting at SWAN.

Graduating senior Alejandra Osorio won the Clark Hubbs Award and $600 for the best original student research poster. Her presentation, “Concatenation vs coalescence: Determining evolutionary relationships within the snake tribe Lampropeltini” demonstrated her research comparing different methods of evolutionary analyses in a diverse group of snakes.

She competed against 30 other graduate and undergraduate students from national and international institutions.

Ph.D. candidate, Jason Strickland, attended the meeting with Hollis and Alejandra where he gave a presentation on his dissertation research examining venom evolution in Mojave Rattlesnakes.

Unable to attend the meeting with his peers, Ph.D. student Andrew Mason, of the Parkinson Lab, was one of 8 students selected to receive a Howard McCarley Research grant for $1000 for his research, “Selective forces and genetics of venom evolution in Palm-Pitvipers.”

Comments are closed.