Senior biology major and 2015 VURF recipient Megan Foley presented her research at Soil Ecology Society, CSU Fort Collins in 2017.
On her experience:
My presentation at the Soil Ecology Society at CSU Fort Collins was a constructive experience for building science communication skills, professional networking, and professional development. I presented a poster on a culmination of the research I’ve conducted at Villanova with Dr. Langley in the Biology Department. Encompassing experiments completed for my VURF and senior thesis, this investigation looked at differences in soil microbial communities, and whether compositional variation in the microbial community can influence the rate at which soil organic matter is broken down in wetland ecosystems. I received feedback on my project from various scientists, ranging from PhD students to industrial researchers. Most of this feedback was extremely constructive, and has directed me towards additional studies which will be important to consider when drafting a manuscript for publication. SES was a constructive environment for discussing graduate school and fellowship applications with my mentors and current graduate students. I was able to meet with two potential phD advisors and get to know them personally before I officially apply to their program. Lastly, the conference encompassed a wide range of presentations, from agricultural research to ecological studies. Many presentations related to soil nutrient cycling and microbial nutrient limitations, which is very relevant to the project I completed for my REU, and to the work I will be doing at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute this year. SES was a great refresher as I begin to prepare figures to submit to the PI at STRI as we consider drafting a publication from my REU project, and the conference was a great transition to beginning my upcoming year at STRI.