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Thanks to initiative funding, students attend ACS conference

MC students Jessica Reedy, Samantha Nania, Patrick Corrigan and Jake Nysather flank assistant professor of chemistry Audra Sosatrecz at the national ACS meeting in San Diego.
One of Monmouth College’s academic initiatives announced in 2010 was funding to enable students to annually attend the National American Chemical Society (ACS) Conference.

This year’s ACS conference was held last month at the San Diego Convention Center, and four Monmouth students attended, accompanied by faculty members Audra Sostarecz and Michael Sostarecz. Monmouth’s “Doc” Kieft Travel Fund facilitated the trip, while the Associated Students of Monmouth College (ASMC) covered the registration fees.

The students, who applied to be chosen to attend, presented their work in an Undergraduate Poster Session. They each had a different adviser within Monmouth’s four-person chemistry department of Laura Moore, Audra Sostarecz, Brad Sturgeon and Eric Todd.

Jake Nysather, a junior from Sterling, presented a poster titled “Enzymatic Oxidation of Biophenols” while Jessica Reedy, a senior from Clearwater, Fla., presented “Genetic Modification of E. coli for Enhanced Production of Cellulosic Biofuel.

“It was an exciting experience going to a national convention with thousands of people interested in the same discipline as I am,” said Nysather. “I learned about a lot of interesting research, and it gives me a goal to continue to pursue my research actively to hopefully one day make a difference.”

Samantha Nania, a senior from Tinley Park, presented “Cholesterol, the Cell Membrane and Alzheimer’s Disease: What Lipid Interactions Result in the Formation of Domains?” Junior Patrick Corrigan of Peoria presented “Memantine and Riluzole Do Not Reverse the Neurotoxic Effects Resulting from Chronic Exposure to Depleted Uranium.” Corrigan conducted his research last summer in the Department of Cancer Biology and Pharmacology at the University of Illinois College of Medicine

“With this being my second time going to the conference, I was able to prepare myself better to be able to attend more research talks and get to talk to more students that are doing research that I am interested in,” said Nania. “Starting research my sophomore year really has helped me understand the importance of hard work and has encouraged me to take the next step in my life and attend graduate school.”

While at the conference, Monmouth’s ACS chapter received a commendable award (higher than honorable mention) for the demonstrations students present at local schools and for their interactions with the Knox College ACS. Corrigan (chapter president), Nania (vice president) and Reedy (ASMC representative) accepted the award.

The accompanying faculty members also presented research. Audra Sostarecz discussed the research she does at Monmouth with her students involving the use of Langmuir monolayers to investigate drug effectiveness and drug delivery systems. The title of her presentation was “Structure-function Relationship: Importance of Molecular Interactions in Cellular Membranes Investigated with Langmuir Monolayers.”

Her husband, Michael, presented a paper that the couple co-wrote, titled “Conceptual Approach to Limiting Reagent Problems.”