Grants lead to greater research capabilities.
This is why Sigma Xi uses their Sigma Xi Grants in Aid of Research program to provide student researchers with grant funding annually.
Biology students Indigo Tran and Hannah Whaley are the recipients of the award this year.
Both are advisees of Dr. LaToya Kissoon-Charles, assistant professor of biology.
Investigating water quality
With their funded projects, Tran and Whaley dive into varying studies of water quality.
Saving Missouri streams
Tran examines metal loss from decomposing sycamore leaves in Missouri streams.
These streams can develop metal contamination from the waste of mines in parts of the state and from decomposing leaf litter, she explains.
“We don’t think about our streams and their water quality every day,” Tran said. “But they are such a big part of our lives.”
Tran received a $1,000 award for her research. She plans to use the funding for scientific equipment and travel to and from field sites.
The impact of plants on pond health
Aquatic plants affect the surrounding aquatic ecosystem.
This makes their health crucial to that of an entire watershed, Whaley shares.
“A lot of people in the Ozarks own properties with ponds or frequent areas where they can fish or boat,” Whaley said. “Making the water safe to use really depends on maintaining its ecosystem’s health.”
Whaley received an $859 award.
She will in part use the funding to cover her travel expenses during summer 2021. She will also apply the award to the materials that allow her to analyze the water and sediment samples she collects at research sites.