Each year, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program recognizes outstanding mentors who have exceeded expectations in providing opportunities and guidance to their UROP students. At the 2017 annual UROP Research Mentor Award Ceremony, EEB graduate student Katherine Crocker was formally recognized for her exceptional contributions with an honorable mention award.
UROP experiences are often transformative for participating undergraduates, switching them on to research experiences and options that they may have not otherwise considered.
Following are the students mentored by Crocker, the year they worked together and a description of their research:
Daniel Nondorf (2015-16) developed a new method to collect cricket spermatophores to analyze their ecdysteroid hormone content. (A spermatophore is a capsule or mass of sperm cells created by some male animals. Ecdysteroid hormones are molting or sex hormones.) He is working on his senior thesis with EEB graduate student Iris Holmes in the lab of Professor Alison Davis-Rabosky.
Claire Freimark and Haley Kalis (2016-17) worked as part of a two-person team to investigate whether mother crickets alter the concentration of ecdysteroid hormones they provide to their offspring based on their age, mate quality or experience. Freimark and Kalis’ poster won a ribbon at the UROP symposium. Freimark will continue her work in Professor Meghan Duffy's lab this fall, and Kalis will join Professor Gina Baucom's lab in the fall.
Rebecca Schwutke and Kathleen Moriarty (2016-17) worked as a two-person team to discover whether Gryllus veletis, a species of wild cricket native to Michigan, provisions ecdysteroid hormones to its offspring variably based on latitude or population, and if so, whether the pattern of hormone variation matches with previous results from lab colony crickets. Schwutke and Moriarty’s poster won a ribbon at the UROP symposium. Schwutke will continue to work with Crocker on a second wild cricket project over the spring and summer, and likely into the fall. Moriarty has joined Professor Mark Hunter's lab.
Rumi Deb (2016-17) worked with both two-person teams (cited above) on their projects, and put together her poster on an entirely separate project that focused on transgenerational causes and consequences of ecdysteroid provisioning in laboratory-reared crickets. Deb is continuing to work with Crocker on a laboratory cricket experiment this summer, and likely will continue into the fall.
Congratulations to all!