Student Snags 1st Place For Research Into Oyster Reefs

UCF Senior Megan Witt received the first place award for her oral presentation on her first research project, “Exploring the Driving Factors Behind Mangrove Colonization On Oyster Reefs Within Mosquito Lagoon.”  She received a $300 dollar check in conjunction with her Undergraduate Research Supply Grant for $500 that she received in summer 2019.

Witt has been working closely with Linda Walters, Ph.D., of UCF Biology since 2017. She was introduced to Walters’ lab after transferring to UCF from Valencia through T-LEARN, which is where her passion for biology took off.

“While I was at Valencia I was interning as a teacher for an AP Biology class. I love communication science but wasn’t fond of the idea of teaching every day,” laughed Witt. “But that is how I realized that I was more interested in the science of ideas versus the teaching of ideas. I transferred to UCF and soon after I was introduced to Dr. Walters, and she is actually the one who introduced me to the RAMP program here.”

The UCF Research and Mentoring Program, also known as RAMP, is designed to provide undergraduate students who are interested in pursuing graduate education with research experience according to the UCF Academic Advancement Programs team. This is where Witt began the project that won her first place at the SHORE (Sharing Our Research with Everyone on the Indian River Lagoon) conference.

“I’ve been with RAMP since 2018. I am so glad to be working on a project that is a long-term one where you can see progression after time. Because of this, I am planning on staying on the project until I graduate so I can continue to monitor it,” said Witt.

Witt will be presenting her project at the Indian River Lagoon Symposium in February. It will be a similar presentation with the addition of new research.

“I’m excited to get back into the field. It’s messy, hot, wet, there are mosquitos everywhere…but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Witt.

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