The University of the Virgin Islands UVI) has announced the student and faculty winners of the 7th annual Research Day held in Spring 2018. This year’s Research Day featured demonstrations related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Of the 32 undergraduate student entries on the St. Thomas Campus, Shantae Lewis of the College of Science and Mathematics emerged as the winner on the St. Thomas Campus.
Lewis’ poster was titled “DNA Extraction of Halophila stipulacea Plants for Genetic Variability Around the Virgin Islands.” Halophila stipulacea is an invasive species of sea grass that is quickly spreading throughout the territory’s waters. It originates from the western Indian Ocean and is thought to have spread into the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas in ship ballasts and by fragmentation caused by anchoring and other bottom disturbances.
In her abstract, Lewis mentioned that the goal of the project is to determine the genetic variability of these plants and to use that information to help create an invasion history model. She conducted her research using samples from Magens Bay, John Brewers Bay and Lindbergh Bay on St. Thomas. Dr. Alice Stanford, UVI professor, advised Lewis during her research.
On the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, there were nine entries. Tione Grant of the College of Science and Mathematics walked away as this year’s undergraduate winner.
Grant’s research poster, entitled “Identification of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Particle-Phase Vehicle Emissions,” examines motor vehicle emissions. Grant used samples of particulate matter collected from the tailpipes of a 2006 and a 2016 Toyota 4Runner and analyzed them. Dr. Antonio Brathwaite, UVI faculty, advised Grant during his research.
UVI Research Day 2018 saw eight faculty entrants with four on each campus. Desiree Bertrand, UVI assistant professor of nursing, from the School of Nursing and Nadia Monrose Mills, UVI assistant professor of mathematics, from the College of Science and Mathematics of the Albert A. Sheen and St. Thomas Campus respectively are the faculty winners for this year’s competition.
Bertrand presented on the “Contraceptive Use Among Abused African Caribbean and African American Women”; Mills presented on “The role of affect and productive struggle in the problem-solving process.”
Faculty winners will receive a cash prize of $1,000; the undergraduate student winners will receive a cash prize of $500.
“It is inspiring to witness the improvement in the level of research of our undergraduates and graduates on both campuses, as this is what was envisaged in our current strategic plan, Pathways to Greatness,” said Dr. Frank Mills, chair of the UVI.