Undergrads Land Top Prizes At SHORE Conference

Julia Carlin is finding the big picture in something only visible under a microscope.

The Biology senior‘s research into the harmful effects of microplastics on Indian River Lagoon wildlife was the subject of an award-winning presentation given at the SHORE conference Nov. 30 in New Smyrna Beach. Specifically, Carlin’s first-place oral presentation detailed how birds of prey like ospreys are consuming these harmful plastic pollutants — most likely from the food chain — and the potential long-term impacts this could have on the environment.

It’s an area of research that still has many unanswered questions, which makes it exciting for Carlin.

“I’m just trying to stay on top of how fast the science is moving,” Carlin said.

Carlin’s post-graduation goal is to go into veterinary medicine, with a focus on wildlife. Her field work in the Indian River Lagoon has opened her eyes to how all species are intricately linked together. That knowledge has fueled her passion for learning.

“Knowledge cultivates passion,” Carlin said. “When you’re starting to connect the dots and see how it’s all interwoven, you want to actively do something to increase awareness. When you’re knowledgeable, you can start creating solutions.”

In addition to this latest achievement, Carlin has been recognized as a UCF Distinguished Undergrad researcher of the month, a recipient of a named College of Sciences scholarship, an awardee of a national pre-veterinarinary award,  and was invited to President Dale Whittaker’s recognition luncheon at the Burnett House for her research work and national pre-veterinary scholarship.

Second place in poster presentations was awarded to another UCF Biology major, Liz Boggs for her research on microplastics in lagoon sediments.

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