Cara Mathers

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Environmental science major Cara Mathers, a 2015 Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow, presented her research on accumulation factors and the effects of urbanization on waterways in southeastern Pennsylvania at the Geological Society of America 2015 Meeting in Baltimore.

During the summer of 2016, Cara participated in the Basic Environmental Soil Science Training Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at NC State University. She presented this research at the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ, where her poster won second place in the undergraduate poster competition within the "Soils and Soil Health" division.

Read more about Cara's experiences below!

2015 VURF research and Geological Society of America Meeting experience:

"This past summer, I was fortunate to have received a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellowship to study the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in bivalves.  After months of wading in streams, getting my hands dirty, and processing sample after sample, I was finally able to condense my experience into a poster.  My mentor, Dr. Levas, then encouraged me to attend a conference to share the results.  So, on November 1st, I traveled to Baltimore, MD to present my findings at the Geological Society of America 2015 Meeting.  Beforehand, I was terribly nervous; the idea of speaking to professionals and academics with years of experience in the field was daunting.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to find a relaxed and friendly atmosphere where undergraduate research was warmly welcomed.  In the morning, I was able to network with graduate programs, and later in the afternoon I had the opportunity to explain my project and answer the questions of geologists, biogeochemists, and other students.  The time spent at GSA both bolstered my confidence and solidified my desire to pursue a master’s degree in the environmental sciences.  

I would love to complete another research project in the near future!"

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Cara and fellow Villanovans at the Geological Society of America 2015 Meeting
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2016 Research and ASA, CSSA & SSSA International Meeting experience:

"This past summer I took part in the Basic Environmental Soil Science Training REU at NC State University where I was able to expand my knowledge of soil science while pursuing an independent research project.  Just recently, I attended the ASA, CSSA & SSSA International Annual Meeting in Phoenix, AZ to present my summer REU research involving an analysis of texture and organic matter content on the adsorption of a pesticide to soil.  My poster received second place in the undergraduate poster competition within the 'Soils and Soil Health' division, and the opportunity to communicate my results while receiving critiques and praise from academics in the field was absolutely invaluable.  As well, because the theme of the meeting was 'Resilience Emerging from Scarcity and Abundance,' I was able to hear insightful talks regarding the intersection of agriculture and climate change science, a field I hope to pursue upon graduating from Villanova.  And, after months, I was proud to finally properly pronounce the word 'Chlorantraniliprole!'"

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Phoenix, AZ: the location of the 2016 ASA, CSSA & SSSA International Annual Meeting