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Morehead State faculty members elected to board, students win awards at annual KAS conference

Melissa MeffordElizabeth Thomas
Several students from Morehead State and the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics won awards and two faculty members from Morehead State’s Department of Biology and Chemistry were elected to serve on the governing board at this year’s annual conference of the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS). 

The students presented research they conducted alongside MSU faculty members at the conference held Nov. 5 and 6 at Eastern Kentucky University. Each student gave a 12-minute talk that was evaluated by a team of non-MSU faculty.  

The winners were: 
  • Breanna Epperson, a senior physics-MSUTeach major from Wallins Creek, second place in science education, “High School Physics with a Smartphone.” 
  • Anna Grace Erh, a senior biomedical sciences major from Lawrenceburg, first place (tie) in physics and astronomy, “The Reduction of the Intensity of Gamma Rays as they traverse through Humimic's Medical Gel #5.” 
  • Blake Hoover, a senior biomedical sciences major from Richmond, first place in microbiology, “First individually circularized chromosome in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” 
  • Duncan McGinnis, Craft Academy senior from Flatwoods, third place in cellular and molecular biology, “Circularizing Chromosome VII in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.” 
  • Andrew Roberts, a Craft Academy senior from Winchester and Bryce Charles, a Craft Academy senior from Mt. Sterling, third place in science education, “College students' ability to read analog clocks: Performance under temporal constraints.” 
  • Robert Tackett, a senior biomedical sciences major from Stanville, and Ellen Ledford, a senior biomedical sciences major from Mt. Sterling, third place in organic/inorganic chemistry, “Development of Anti-Cancer Small Molecules to Inhibit the Base Excision Repair Pathway.” 
  • Isaiah Stephens, a senior biomedical sciences major from Salyersville, first place in science education, “A Novel Colorimetric Assay of Apurinic/Apyrimidinic (Abasic) Sites of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) Using Bicinchoninic Acid.” 
  • Jacob Wagoner, a senior applied physics major from Morehead, first place (tie) in physics and astronomy, “Testing the Limits of the RSpec Explorer Spectroscope.” 
“The opportunity to present at a conference like the KAS helps students learn how to communicate as scientists,” said Dr. Wayne Miller, dean of MSU’s College of Science. “It teaches them how to communicate scientific ideas, data, concepts, theories, etc. with their peers in a way that promotes the exchange of scientific knowledge and leads to new thoughts, ideas, and research.”  

Two MSU professors also were elected to the KAS governing board during the meeting, Dr. Melissa Mefford, assistant professor of biology, is the board’s biological science representative. Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Elizabeth Thomas, is the board secretary. MSU is hosting the KAS Annual Meeting in Fall 2022.  

“This is an impressive feat by our faculty in general and by two of our assistant professors in particular,” said Dr. Charles Lydeard, chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry.  

KAS is a membership-based scientific society with more than 4,000 members across the Commonwealth. The mission of KAS is to foster scientific discovery and understanding in Kentucky. The KAS brings scientists together to share research, awards research grants to members, sends scientists out into the community to share their work, and recognizes outstanding science education and outreach. More information is available at

For information about programs in MSU’s Department of Biology and Chemistry, visit, email or call 606-783-2945. 

To learn more about the Craft Academy, visit, email or call 606-783-2093.