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Eagle Scholars, Craft Academy student to present at conference

alexandria-black-kas.webpThree students mentored by Morehead State faculty will represent Kentucky at the 2024 American Junior Academy of Sciences (AJAS) meeting.

One student attends the Craft Academy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, and two are Eagle Scholars from Rowan County Senior High School (RCSHS). Faculty members from the Department of Engineering Sciences and the Department of Biology and Chemistry mentored them.

Morehead State's Eagle Scholars program offers dual-credit courses to high school students. Students can complete college courses while attending their high school.

The students presented their research at the Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) Meeting, held Nov 3-4 at Northern Kentucky University, and were selected by a panel of judges to attend the national conference.

kaitlyn-nelson-kas.webpAlexandria Black, a Craft Academy senior from Butler, will present her project, "Can Centicubes Measure Up? Comparing Simulated Exponential Decay Curves for Teaching Radioactivity and Half-Life." Under the mentorship of Professor of Physics and Science Education Dr. Wilson González-Espada, Black used experimental data to compare the statistical feasibility of using dice or centicubes to model radioactive decay accurately for high school physics lessons.

Kaitlyn Nelson from Morehead, a junior at RCSHS, was mentored by Dr. Jennifer O'Keefe, professor of geology and science education, Dr. Md. Golam Kibria, assistant professor of geosciences, and González-Espada. Her project is titled "Meteorology Misconceptions Held by College Students in a General Education Earth Science Class." She will discuss the importance of scientific literacy and weather misinformation among young adults in the state.

mae-hamilton-kas.webpBrittany Mae Hamilton from Morehead, a senior at RCSHS, will present her project, "Stability of Circularized Chromosomes Lacking Telomeres in Saccharomyces cerevisiae." Under the mentorship of Dr. Melissa Mefford, assistant professor of biology, Hamilton investigated why chromosomes have evolved a linear structure.

"These students demonstrated exceptional commitment and passion for scientific research in their diverse projects," said González-Espada. "Their presence and contributions at the KAS and AJAS conferences demonstrate how the Craft Academy, the Eagle Scholars Program, and Morehead State University faculty are helping nurture the next generation of STEM professionals in the Commonwealth of Kentucky."

The mission of the AJAS is to introduce, encourage, and accelerate pre-college students into the professional world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). AJAS meets annually in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the premier scientific organization in the world and the publisher of the journal Science. The 2024 meeting is Feb. 14-18 in Denver, Colorado.

To learn more about the Craft Academy by emailing or calling 606-783-2093.

To find more information about Morehead State's Eagle Scholars Program, email or call 606-783-2594.

Photo caption: Alexandria Black (top), Kaitlyn Nelson (middle) and Mae Hamilton (bottom) will represent Kentucky at the 2024 American Junior Academy of Sciences (AJAS) meeting this week in Denver, Colorado.

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