Pre-Conference Session:

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center – This session will provide information on authentic research experiences for students including work on  Mutant Millets, Volvox development, and corn Genotype to Phenotype. Program participants will engage in authentic research by gathering data in conjunction with the Danforth Center. Participants may choose to adjust the activities to create their own authentic research project. Free resources are provided to conduct experimentation. Hear from select Principal Investigators and Postdoctoral staff at the Center about their research and visit BRDG Park facility (next door to the Danforth Center). Take a tour and  participate in hands-on opportunities using select lab equipment. Also learn from Danforth staff about possible student internship opportunities at the Center.  

Main Conference Breakout Sessions:

Invasive Species Control on Native Grasslands: Research Discoveries and Knowledge Gaps– This session will outline research on Sericea lespedeza and sumac control, including study design and questions. Ms. Briggler will share highlights from her research and important questions that still need to be pursued by future research. (Ms. Malissa Briggler)

Ms. Malissa Briggler – Missouri Department of Conservation – State Botanist
Ms. Briggler has worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation first as a Grasslands Botanist, then as State Botanist.  Over the past 15 years, her research has included projects that investigated methods to control Sericea lespedeza and sumac on native grasslands.  Her graduate studies focused on herbicide methods to control smooth brome with minimal impact to native prairie forbs.

Psychology Research Methods – In this session the differences between correlational and experimental designs as well as quantitative vs. qualitative data will be discussed.  Different data analysis and statistical testing techniques will be explored. (Dr. Brandon Whittington)

Dr. Brandon Whittington – Assistant Professor of Psychology – Jefferson College
Dr. Whittington earned an A.A. from Rend Lake College, a B.A. from Greenville College, an M.A. from Eastern Illinois University, and both Ed.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Dr. Whittington is a nationally certified psychologist and a licensed professional counselor in the state of Missouri. Prior to joining the faculty at Jefferson College, Dr. Whittington practiced as a school psychologist and a professional counselor in several public school districts and community mental health settings. Dr. Whittington`s research interests include the psychology of religion and the scholarship of teaching and learning. He regularly presents his work at local and national conferences and involves Jefferson College students in the research process, both as participants and student researchers.

Introduction to ISEF Forms – There are multiple forms required for students to participate in ISEF-affiliated fairs, as well as to move on to ISEF. This session will help you decode who needs what form and when they must be filled out.   (Ms. Jennifer Hess) 

Ms. Jennifer Hess – Teacher/Department Chair at Wentzville Holt High School
Ms. Hess has taught science at Holt High School for 24 years and currently serves as the department chair. She is the assistant National Honor Society sponsor and has been actively involved with Science Coach as a Head Coach, presenter and consultant. She was recently named an Advanced Science Research Teaching (ASRT) Program Semi-Finalist. She is the director of the Missouri Tri-County Regional Science and Engineering Fair and the co-director of the Missouri Junior Academy of Science, St. Louis regional competition. She has spent much of her professional career creating opportunities for high schoolers to become involved in real-world scientific research, and has seen many of her students become research scientists, physicians, nurses, veterinarians, engineers, and have sought countless other professions in fields of science. Her students through the years have won numerous awards at ISEF and other scientific competitions.

The Basics of Writing a Literature Review – This presentation will provide an introduction to the key components of a literature review, the steps to start your own review, and some helpful tips to communicate this information to your students. (Mr. Arjun Nair) 

Mr. Arjun Nair – Student at Washington University in St. Louis, pursuing a B.A. in Biology with a minor in History
Mr. Nair has been a volunteer with Science Coach since 2021. He is the co-president of Synapse, Washington University’s largest neuroscience educational and outreach program. He co-founded the “Diversity in Cancer Research” summer research program for high school students in Missouri that is partnered with Science Coach. Mr. Nair is currently working in Dr. Limbrick’s lab in the Neurosurgery Department at Washington University’s Medical School studying surgical treatments and genetic causes of hydrocephalus.

Publishing Student Research – This session will provide information on the processes for publishing student research. Mr. Emerick has had several students publish their research and will provide details on processes, timelines and recommendations. (Mr. Ryne Emerick)

Mr. Ryne Emerick – Teacher – Lebanon High School
Mr. Emerick is entering his 14th year of teaching at Lebanon High School, MO. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Management from the College of the Ozarks and went on to earn his Master of Science in Biology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Throughout his teaching career, Mr. Emerick has taught a variety of subjects including physical sciences, life science, and environmental science. He is particularly passionate about guiding students through independent research projects, which have resulted in success at local, state, and international science fairs. His students have also published their research in various student journals.

Honeybee Colony Loss Due to the Varroa Destructor: Relevant Research and Possible Areas for Student Exploration –  Because of their portability, honeybees are an integral part of our food production. Yet, beginning in 2006 and continuing today, beekeepers have been experiencing 30-40% colony losses annually.  The major culprit in these losses is the mite Varroa destructor, first detected in the US in the late 1980’s. This devastating mite, which both weakens the bees’ immune system and vectors viruses, is or will be present in every colony. These infestations, in conjunction with other honeybee stressors, are the cause of the high rates of annual colony losses. Dr. Masucci will introduce you to the honeybee, put into perspective why mites are so dangerous to the colony, talk briefly about some mite research he has been doing, then present some areas that he thinks could be explored by students interested in honeybees.  (Dr. Jim Masucci) 

Dr. Jim Masucci – Owner JDM Bees
As a honeybee researcher, Jim ran some of the largest field trials ever to develop a new varroa control product for Monsanto/Bayer. This experience allowed him to work with some of the top commercial beekeepers in the US and Canada. He recently retired to focus full time on his honeybee business where he is up to ~200 hives. His business focusses mainly on nucs and honey, but the lure of pollination is always present. He continues to consult and run field trials for Greenlight Biosciences in their effort to bring an RNAi-based varroa control product to the market. The work with Greenlight keeps him in close contact with his commercial beekeeping friends.

Dealing With Projects Requiring ISEF Pre-Approval – Certain projects require multiple rounds of approval before being eligible to compete at an ISEF-affiliated fair. This session will delve into the details of this topic so you can avoid mistakes that may make a project ineligible for competition. (Ms. Jennifer Hess) 

Taking a Project Idea and Refining it to a Testable Question – This workshop will focus on helping students take a broad or vague idea and distill it down to a testable question with a reasonable scope. (Ms. Jennifer Hess) 

Psychology Research Discussion and Ideas Ideas – This session will explore ideas for psychology research projects and will discuss specific research resources for refining those ideas. (Dr. Brandon Whittington) 

Engineering Research Topics From the Association of Graduate Engineering Students (AGES) – This session will be led by a student from Washington University AGES program. It will  focus on an engineering topic in the student’s area of research interest. 

2023 is the Year of Open Science: Scientific database resources – This session will highlight the increasing number of federal agency websites and databases that contain free access to a growing body of data, data sets, and scientific research. This session will also introduce library databases that provide science journal access, reference sources, and general interest magazine articles that can be used as part of the research for science projects or by educators helping students learn about science. (Ms. Lisa Pritchard) 

Ms. Lisa Pritchard – Director of Library Services, Federal Depository Library Program Coordinator
Ms. Pritchard is a reference and government information librarian with experience teaching research skills to college students, community members, and faculty and staff. She has collaborated with the St. Louis Astronomical Society, NASA, the Space Science Institute, campus faculty, citizen scientist programs, and community groups on a wide variety of science related programs.

Using AIM Teacher and Student in Canvas – AIM Teacher and Student are available to the “Coaches” in the Science Coach program. It is also available for purchase by schools wanting to use this curriculum. This session will be an introduction to the Canvas learning management system and demonstrate how to access AIM Teacher and Student and make it available to their students. The AIM content is fully customizable. Information will be provided on how to make basic edits and use the gradebook. (Mr. Allan Wamsley) 

Mr. Allan Wamsley – Manager Products and Strategic Initiatives
Mr. Wamsley leads Strategic Planning and implementation, is responsible for sales and business partnerships, coordinates professional development opportunities for Coaches, provides marketing leadership, and is responsible for AIM products on Science Coach’s learning management system. Mr. Wamsley has over 30 years experience in higher education. In his most recent role, he was Dean of Academic Services and Integrated Planning at a two year transfer and technical College.

Medical Laboratory Science Research Project List – Dr. Stocker will present a list for discussion and review of important MLS topics that have been solicited from a diverse group of medical laboratory professionals. (Dr. Gary Stocker) 

Dr. Gary Stocker – Adjunct Faculty Lindenwood University & Consultant
Dr. Stocker has substantial business experience in healthcare and higher education, skills in sales and marketing, management, consulting, operations, and technology. Majoring in medical technology at Eastern Illinois University, he earned a Master’s degree in healthcare management and leveraged that education to manage quality and statistical operations for a 2-hospital system in St. Louis.  His 2010 doctoral dissertation addressed the technology acceptance of electronic medical records by nurses.

Introduction to Statistics – Learn the basics of statistical analysis, including how to incorporate it into the scientific process. This workshop will discuss the importance of hypothesis development, statistical data analysis and how to interpret statistical values.  Terminology related to statistical analysis will be covered as well as  types of the most common statistical tests.  (Dr. Mary Kilmer) 

Dr. Mary Kilmer – Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Health – Missouri Southern State University
Dr. Kilmer is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Health at Missouri Southern State University.  She also serves as the regional co-director for the Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences (Southwest region) and the state co-director for the Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences.  She enjoys the challenge of making daunting topics, such as statistics, more accessible and enjoyable for all.  In her free time, Dr. Kilmer enjoys reading, spending time with her family and tending to her beehives.

Enhancing High School Research with AI: Exploring the Potential of ChatGPT – Learn about how ChatGPT might be used in enhancing and exploring authentic research topics. Mr. Emerick has been exploring this new tool and will demonstrate some of its potential. (Mr. Ryne Emerick) 

How to Determine the Best Statistical Test – Participants will learn how to determine the best statistical test for their data based on experimental questions, hypothesis(es), and types of data collected. A discussion of assumption tests for normality and variance will be included. This session will be computer based. (Dr. Mary Kilmer) 

Astronomy Research Project Ideas – Ms. Tock will be presenting on her experience leading student astrological research for Stanford’s Online High School. She will be providing information on approaches to research at this level and will discuss possible project topic areas.  (Ms. Kalee Tock)  This session will be hosted through a Zoom meeting link.

Ms. Kalee Tock – Instructor Stanford Online High School
Kalee Tock earned her B.S. in Chemistry from Harvard University, and an M.S. from the Stanford University Department of Chemistry. She then earned a second Master’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from the Stanford School of Education. She has been a science instructor at Stanford Online High School for 11 years, teaching Astronomy for the most recent 6 of those years. She now teaches three different Astronomy courses there: Astrophysics, Astrobiology, and an Astronomy Research Seminar.

Modifying AIM Teacher and Student in Canvas – Teachers will gain confidence in their ability to add their own content and modify existing content in AIM Teacher and Student. These learning materials are hosted in the Canvas learning management system. The Canvas quiz feature will be discussed among other tools in Canvas.  (Mr. Allan Wamsley) 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Presenting Scientific Research – Even the best of science can be lost in translation through a poorly constructed presentation. This session will provide tips and tricks to make sure that your student researcher’s time and hard work are not underrecognized due to a simply not presenting it well. We will focus on flow, format, etc. for construction of an effective oral presentation through the use of a slide show. (Dr. Teresa Boman)

Dr. Teresa Boman – Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Health, Director of the Environmental Health and Safety Program, Missouri Southern State University
Dr. Teresa Boman is an Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Health at Missouri Southern State University. She has been teaching at MSSU for ten years. She also serves as the regional co-director for the Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences (Southwest region) and the state co-director for the Missouri Junior Academy of Sciences. She enjoys research and is currently focused on microplastics in Missouri’s waterways. When not at work, she likes to spend time with her four kids and husband on the family farm.