Congratulations to SEBS Class of 2015

Class of 2015 graduates at SEBS Convocation.

Members of the Class of 2015 at the SEBS Convocation.

On a chilly, blustery May 18, the mist that blew across Passion Puddle did not dampen the spirits of the graduating seniors attending the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences 2015 Convocation. Dean of Academic Programs Rick Ludescher led the ceremony while Executive Dean Bob Goodman addressed the Class of 2015, which totaled 725 graduates.

The Dr. Barbara Munson Goff Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Tim Casey of the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. Biological Sciences major Ariel Booth presented the class remarks.

In an annual tradition that began in 1982, members of the Cook alumni association presented the graduates with red oak seedlings to take a living part of the George H. Cook campus with them as they embark on their next journey. View images of 2015 Convocation on the SEBS Facebook album.

Astronomer’s ‘boys with toys’ remark inspires #GirlsWithToys response

The photo and tweet by Mrinalini Nikrad, postdoc in the Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences working with Max Haggblom and Lee Kerkhof, is featured in this post about female scientists around the world taking to Twitter using the hashtag #GirlsWithToys in response to a male astronomer’s offhand comment.

Read the entire article at PBS NewsHour »

SEBS Students Awarded at Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium

Posing at SEBS 2015 Convocation, biotech major Dan Hollerbach with Prof. Lily Young. Hollerbach received a “Best Poster” award in the STEM category at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Posing at SEBS 2015 Convocation, biotech major Dan Hollerbach with Prof. Lily Young. Hollerbach received a “Best Poster” award in the STEM category at the Aresty Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Each spring, the Aresty Research Center evaluates poster presentations at its university-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium. A celebration of scholarship and creative activity, the symposium is a chance for undergraduates to present a paper or poster on their findings to an audience of faculty, peers, and corporate and community partners. For 2015, the symposium was held on April 24 in the Livingston Student Center. The top posters were chosen from four broad categories: Humanities, Social Sciences, Digital, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). Five SEBS faculty sponsored award winning projects at the Aresty symposium, with six student projects awarded. Two of Professor Lily Young’s undergraduate research students were recognized.

“It was very exciting that both students in our lab were winners. They are both outstanding honors students and very deserving, and we should celebrate their achievements!” said Young. Graduating senior Dan Hollerbach, a biotech student, received a “Best Poster” award in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) category for his poster “Genetic Characterization of bamA’s Involvement in the Anaerobic Pathway for the Degradation of Natural Aromatics” under his co-advisors Professors Abigail Porter and Lily Young, Department of Environmental Sciences. Out of more than 500 poster presentations, Hollerbach received one of the three awarded in the STEM field and will receive an award of $250. [Read more…]

Eliana Geretz ’15: Moss, the Whimsical and Overlooked Flora

Eliana Geretz samples mosses from Pastorius Park, Philadelphia

Eliana Geretz samples mosses in Pastorius Park, Philadelphia.

“The mosses were just labelled Moss 1, Moss 2, that it just struck me how much mosses are overlooked,” says Eliana Geretz, ecology, evolution and natural resources major.

At the time, she was helping conduct research in Hutcheson Memorial Forest in nearby Somerset County. One of the last uncut forests in the Mid-Atlantic States, the tract is administered and protected by Rutgers Department of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources. It appears on the National Park Service Register of Natural Landmarks.

She describes how she felt seeing all the other plant samples were properly named and indexed, while the mosses seemed so unnamed and unclassified, due to the difficulty in identifying them.

Geretz’s attention was so taken by this that she chose to focus her George H. Cook honors thesis on studying tree moss. “Partly it’s how whimsical they seemed to me,” she explains.

She sampled tree moss species in 15 managed urban parks in Philadelphia, five in Center City, five in post-industrial areas, including Bartram’s Garden, and five in suburban NW Philadelphia. [Read more…]

A Stable Bond: Graduating Identical Twins Share their SEBS Experience

The next stop on the Davis twins' academic journey is U of P in Philadelphia. Julianne Davis  (l) and Caroline Davis (r).

The next stop on the Davis twins’ academic journey is U of P in Philadelphia. Julianne Davis (l) and Caroline Davis (r).

For identical twins Caroline and Julianne Davis, after spending their pre-college years tethered by their unique bond, attending college was a chance to venture out on their own separate paths. Coincidentally, though, their paths ended up leading to the same place: Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS). Now as graduating seniors in the Class of 2015 and seeking their own paths once again, they find that they are again led to the same place: the University of Pennsylvania pursuing graduate degrees. With their undergraduate years under their belts, the Davis twins have demonstrated that they are accomplished in their own right but indeed shaped by the intimate bond unique to identical twins.

Julianne and Caroline grew up in Bridgewater, NJ, and are very close to their parents Maria and Thomas. The Davis family shares an interest in food. Food science major and nutrition minor Caroline is a self-described foodie and is intrigued by the physical and biochemical interactions of foods, like multilayered candy bars, ice cream, and cheese. Biotechnology major and biochemistry and nutrition minor Julianne follows food blogs and conducts baking experiments by altering cookie recipes to make them healthier, learning to cook from her father and to bake from her mother. [Read more…]