On Thurs., Sept. 10, the second annual Barrett Symposium was held in Lisser Hall at Mills College.
At the Barrett Symposium, students present results of a summer research project completed through the Jill Barrett Research Program, named after a Mills alumna of the biology department. The program was established in 1998 by Barrett’s parents in memory of their daughter who died in an accident while doing research in Greece.
The research done in the Barrett program is completed in teams with the supervision of a professor in the biology department. Presentations included professor Sarah Swope’s team on the population dynamics of the Tiburon Mariposa Lily, an endangered plant found only in the north end of the Tiburon peninsula; professor Jared Young’s team on the odor receptors of Caenorhabditis elegans, a type of roundworm; professor Robin Ball’s team with the fruit fly’s (Drosophila) nerve responses; and professor Jennifer E. Smith’s team on the social relationships and ecology of California ground squirrels.
After the presentations, a panel was held featuring four recent alumnae of the Barrett program: Lauren Kong ’13, Katie Young ’12, Stephanie Summers ’11, and Caitlin Moe ’09. They are now working at The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, UC Davis MIND Institute, Vollmar Natural Lands Consulting and BioMarin.
Recent Mills Graduate Valeska Munoz of Smith’s team said that through the Barrett program, she learned that she loves both science and teaching.
“It taught me my strengths and weaknesses and how to work with different personalities, environments, and how to be flexible with our eating schedules,” Munoz said.
Dr. Jared Young said that he was very happy with this year’s presentations and the larger location in Lisser Hall as opposed to last year’s Lorry I. Lokey Graduate School of Business.
“Last year was the first symposium, before that, the presentations were more like lunchtime research seminars,” Dr. Jared Young said. “The students have worked very hard and there was a very good audience engagement with good questions.”
There will be an informational meeting for the Barrett program on Mon. Oct. 6th in the Natural Sciences building. Applications for the program for Summer 2015 will be due on Thurs., Oct. 23 to the biology department office.