Three West Virginia State University (WVSU) graduate students won awards for their agricultural and environmental research poster presentations at the Association of 1890 Research Directors (ARD) 19th Biennial Research Symposium, held in Jacksonville, Florida, March 30-April 3.

WVSU students swept their category, taking first, second and third places for Outstanding Achievement in Renewable Energy, Natural Resources and Environment for Graduate Student Competitive Poster Presentations.

“The ARD Symposium is an opportunity for the 1890 land-grant universities to show the collective talents of faculty and students, and West Virginia State University is not only here as a participant, but we were also successful at winning three awards,” said Vice President for Research and Public Service Dr. Orlando F. McMeans. “This shows that Yellow Jackets are competitive with their peers from around the world and will succeed in whatever they endeavor. I am proud of all of our students who presented at the ARD Symposium. Go STATE!”

Andrielle Kemajou won first place for her poster presentation, entitled “Water Chemical Dynamics During Seasonal Changes in an Industrialized Appalachian River.” Menuka Bhandari won second place for her poster presentation, entitled “Uncovering the Genetic Components for Acidity Tolerance in Arabidopsis by Genome Wide Association Study.” Bikash Deo won third place for his poster presentation, entitled “Understanding Lipid Metabolism in Bioenergy Crop in Response to Coal Mine Soils.”

The national symposium, with the theme “Making Critical Contributions to Rural Prosperity and Solving Challenges in Food and Agriculture,” included competitions between research students from the country’s 1890 land-grant universities in the areas of: Plant Health and Production and Plant Products; Animal Health and Production and Animal Products; Food Safety, Nutrition and Health; Renewable Energy, Natural Resources and Environment; and Family, Youth, Community and Economic Development. Nearly 1,000 students, faculty and staff members were in attendance.

The first ARD Research Symposium was held in 1976 to commemorate the United States’ Bicentennial and to showcase the varied accomplishments of research scientists and students at the nation’s 1890 land-grant institutions.

Originally from Jack Bailey for West Virginia State University Communications.