With more than 75 attendees and participants, the 5th Annual Finger Lakes Research Conference, funded by New York State through the advocacy of Senator Michael F. Nozzolio, was deemed a success as it included 24 oral presentations and professional posters pertaining to the Finger Lakes natural environment. Taking place in December, the conference was attended by interested community members, students, independent scientists and faculty.
Each year, the Finger Lakes Institute awards a graduate or undergraduate student with $100 for the best student presentation. For 2009, the award was presented to Samuel Georgian ’10 for his presentation, “Environmental Assessment of the Owasco Inlet.” Georgian explained his comprehensive study of the health of the inlet by evaluating water quality, periphyton growth and macroinvertebrate community structure.
“Sam answered questions from the audience with confidence and accuracy. It was very noticeable that he has knowledge of the history and environmental condition of Owasco Inlet,” says FLI Community Outreach Coordinator Sarah Meyer. “I am convinced that his contribution to the understanding of the water quality issues of Owasco Inlet will prove to be extremely beneficial to other Finger Lakes watersheds coping with similar nutrient loading concerns.”
Georgian, double majoring in biology and environmental studies, completed his analysis of the Owasco Inlet under the supervision of Susan Cushman, assistant professor of biology at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The work was his Senior Integrative Experience, a required independent study for the environmental studies portion of his major.
“He has displayed exceptional abilities as a young scientist, spanning from the design of his study, conducting field work and lab analyses, to critically analyzing his data and presenting his conclusions as well as he did at the Finger Lakes Research Conference. This award appropriately honors his hard work and the scientific skills he has developed over the last four years at Hobart and William Smith Colleges,” says Cushman.
Georgian has been committed to gaining fundamental hands-on experience in the field while excelling in his academics. As a research intern studying the water quality of the Finger Lakes in 2008, he conducted fieldwork, data entry and laboratory analyses under the supervision of Professor of Geoscience John Halfman. In 2009, Georgian explored biology as he completed the HWS Summer Research Program with Bin Zhu, research scientist for the FLI, and Assistant Professor of Biology Meghan Brown, studying the ecological impacts and management of invasive European frogbit.
“I hope to pursue a career in biological research with a focus on conservation. Studying the impact of an invasive species was a great opportunity to not only research ecological interactions, but is an important step in preserving the natural beauty and value of the Finger Lakes,” says Georgian.
Read Samuel Georgian’s entire abstract and presentation at http://fli.hws.edu/conference/2009abstract.pdf Posters, presentation slides, and the Finger Lakes Research Conference abstract volume is viewable at http://fli.hws.edu/conference/2009abstract.pdf.