Biology student earns nod at capitol for research
(This story contains contributions from USAO Communication student Candace Williams)
A biology student earned a third place nod for her research after presenting it at the capitol as part of a statewide effort to showcase scholarship.
Bailey Vinsant, junior biology and natural science major from Morris, presented at the state capitol in late March as part of the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (OK EPSCoR).
The research titled “Bat Survey of Tinker Air Force Base,” was conducted over two years after Dr. Jason Shaw, assistant professor of biology, was contacted by officials at the base to help discover how many bat species lived on the grounds.
Shaw chose Vinsant to help him conduct this survey knowing she was interested in helping with research as an undergraduate.
“I picked Bailey because she asked me prior to this if I had any research she could help with. I always try to incorporate students into research,” Shaw said.
The duo spent two years using a variety of techniques to classify the bat species on the base.
Vinsant said that the research was invaluable to her learning experience at the university.
“I want to go into a master’s program focused on public health in bio-security and disaster preparedness, as well as environmental health,” Vinsant said. “There is only one school in the country that has this program so anything that I can do, like proving my skills as a researcher as a junior in my undergrad, will go a long way towards helping me realize my goals.”
Shaw was very pleased with Vinsant’s work on the project.
“Bailey did a good job,” Shaw said. “She was very self motivated and very proactive with trying to find information. This helped her in her presentation and she was able to answer questions more readily.”
Hand-selected by their institutions, students present scientific research posters during the prestigious event, which is designed to showcase the outstanding research being conducted by students enrolled at Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.
Vinsant was one of only 24 students statewide chosen to present.
USAO placed a heightened emphasis on undergraduate research with the introduction of its Research Endorsement Certification in 2012.
The 10-hour sequence of courses guides students through all phases of research—from learning research methods and tools across academic disciplines, to working one-on-one with a faculty research supervisor, to presenting their work at conferences.
Students who complete the project earn a Research Endorsement credential on their transcripts.
This credential, signaling a more rigorous experience than a capstone class or senior project, give students a distinct advantage when applying for graduate school and for jobs that value critical thinking skills.