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Berea students win awards for science research

Berea students showcased their summer research and won a number of awards at the annual meeting of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences.

Berea students at the 95th annual Kentucky Academy of Sciences research symposium

Berea students won prizes in physics, chemistry, biology and other disciplines. Bereans were among the dozens of students from various colleges and universities across Kentucky.

Junior Biology major Dikshya Bastakoty's research on the genetics of multiple sclerosis won second place in the Cellular and Molecular Biology category.

Bastakoty conducted her research at the Mayo Clinic's immunology lab in Minnesota. Berea College and Mayo Clinic collaborated to provide the funding for Dikshya’s research. Berea paid for her travel and housing expenses, while Mayo Clinic funded her stay and work in Minnesota.

Dikshya said that after three consecutive summers of research work, each step back into the lab makes her more interested in research. Through her work experience over the past three summers, Dikshya has now narrowed down her research interest to cellular and molecular biology, and wants to do cancer research in the future.

Junior Biology major Kayla Kinker's presentation on cancer-killing medicine won first place in the Cellular and Molecular Oral Presentation category, one of the largest and most competitive sections at the competition. Kayla said she was glad to give her professors something to smile about after the long and arduous research process. She spent her summer at Vanderbilt University, working on cancer prevention.

“I felt proud to be representing Berea, and it was an honor to be acknowledged for all of the hard work,” she said.

Senior Physics major Jimmy Rop's research on computers won second place in the Oral Presentation category. He researched on an alternative to silicon for the manufacture of microchips to increase computer speeds to unprecedented levels. Rop did her research at the University of Kentucky.

Bastakoty, Kinker and Rop are among the many Berea students this year who won awards in various categories for their research.

The Kentucky Academy of Sciences, KAS, is a statewide symposium designed for undergraduate and graduate students interested in the sciences to present their research and compare their scientific journeys. The symposium was started in 1914 at the University of Kentucky.

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