Two Scholars Academy Students Take Top Poster Prizes at National SACNAS Conference
Two outstanding Scholars Academy students, Rebecca Barbosa and Dat Truong, won the poster presentation for geochemistry and chemistry, respectively, at last week's national SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) conference in San Antonio.
Conference judges gave Barbosa's and Truong's research posters top honors from among the more than 1,200 students from across the country who presented. UHD was well represented at the conference with 22 students presenting posters on 20 research areas.
Barbosa collaborated with Lisa Morano, chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, on her poster, "Creating Soil Geochemistry Fingerprints of Texas Hill Country Syrah Vineyards," about UHD's, "Rocks to Wine," program. In her research, Barbosa collected samples from six different vineyards in the Texas Hill Country and measured the samples for 10 major element oxides and 12 trace elements. She then made wine and assessed their basic chemical characteristics, including color, pH and acidity. The results of her research will be used to analyze the elements in the soil and how those elements allow the vine to create different aromas and flavors in the wine.
Truong's poster, "Study of the Thermotropic and Light-Emitting Properties of Polypyridinium Salts Derived from Napthdine" described his research in developing polymers with conducting, light-emitting and liquid crystalline properties. Along with Robin Jose, assistant professor in the Department of Natural Sciences, Truong prepared polypyridinium polymers with different counter ions and evaluated their properties. Through his research, he found that properties of these polymers can be tuned by careful choice of appropriate counter ions.
"It is exciting to see our students bring home awards from national conferences," said Jose. "It shows that the research experience our students get at UHD is on par with other research universities across America."
Congratulations to Barbosa and Truong and the other Scholars Academy students who represented UHD on this national stage!