March 5, 2024

students presenting at science symposiumOn Saturday, Feb. 10th, four Columbia College students from the Division of Health, Mathematics and Sciences presented their research at the 15th Annual Science Symposium at the University of South Carolina. The statewide Science Symposium invited students and faculty who received funding from South Carolina IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (SC INBRE) within the past year to share their research findings with the community.

Jaida Mack, majoring in biology, and Aria Malcolm, majoring in exercise science, shared their research findings regarding the comparative impacts of traditional cigarette smoke versus electronic cigarette smoke (vape) on lung cells. “This was my first time doing a poster presentation and attending a science symposium,” says Jaida. “I was proud that Aria and I were able to get out of our comfort zone and share our experiences being part of the SC INBRE program.” Besides presenting their posters, students also had the opportunity to sharpen their networking skills and listening to a variety of research topics, comprising fields, such as molecular biology, chemistry, psychology, and public health. “This experience will help me in my future career endeavors because it has allowed me to network with representatives from institutions across the state,” says Aria. Both students have worked under biology professor Dr. Chakia McClendon’s mentorship, who also presented her preliminary research findings at the symposium.

Nathan Rodaway, majoring in exercise science, along with former student Trey McCathern, presented a flash talk and a poster presentation at the symposium, offering insights into the physical education requirements at 4-year liberal arts institutions in North and South Carolina. Both students were mentored by exercise science program chair Dr. Alexandra Szarabajko. All four students were a part of last year’s Columbia College Biomedical Research Program (CCBRP), conducting research with their respective faculty during a 6-week summer program. “I am most proud of how much I have grown as both a student and an individual,” says Nathan. “Reflecting on the completed project, I am proud that I was able to overcome the initially daunting challenge.” The symposium presentations served as a compelling demonstration of the exceptional dedication and commitment characteristics of our Columbia College students, showcasing their unwavering passion for academic excellence. 

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