The first annual Interfaces of Global Change (IGC) Graduate Research Symposium was a great opportunity for IGC Fellows to share their research with the entire global change community at Virginia Tech. The 2-day symposium began on Thursday evening, April 21st, with a special Distinguished Lecture at the Lyric Theatre featuring Dr. Josh Tewksbury, Future Earth. A full slate of events on Friday, April 22nd, provided a forum for students and faculty to interact and explore connections between labs.
During two platform sessions, nine IGC fellows gave oral presentations, and thirteen other students participated in the afternoon poster session. Following a reception for faculty and students attending the symposium, three awards were presented for Best Presentation. First place went to Carl Wepking, a Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who studies how antibiotic use in agricultural livestock affects soil ecosystems. Second place went to Cathy Jachowski, a Ph.D. student in fish and wildlife conservation, who studies the effects of land use and parasitism on hellbender salamanders. Third place was awarded to Ryan McClure, a Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who studies how climate change can impact thermal stratification and oxygenation in reservoirs.
The first place award was named in honor of Dean Karen DePauw, for her role in creating a culture of interdisciplinary graduate education at Virginia Tech. “There’s no more appropriate way to honor the person that has supported the growth and interdisciplinary thinking of our community,” said Bill Hopkins, who is the Director of the Global Change Center and a professor of fish and wildlife conservation in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “Her vision has facilitated new interactions among faculty and students from different colleges and departments, who are working together to solve complicated problems ranging from obesity and infectious diseases, to water pollution and climate change.”