UNITY — More than 100 field-based research projects in sustainability science were presented on campus Dec. 14 in the biannual Unity College Student Conference, the college’s signature undergraduate research expo.

Among the award winners were Cassandra Cates, an Earth & Environmental Science major from Norridgewock; Greg LeClair, a Captive Wildlife Care & Education major from Litchfield; and Sean Stewart, an Earth and Environmental Science major from Augusta, according to a Unity College release.

Research by Unity College undergraduates in 2016 examined effects of microplastics in the environment, runoff infiltration into a local sewer system, animals being treated at a local shelter, the differences between trout raised in hatcheries vs. the wild, creation of a smartphone app for students to track their food consumption choices, and more.

“This event is always one of the premier academic events on the Unity College schedule — one I have circled on my calendar from the first day of classes,” Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury said, according to the release. “We get to see the kind of transdisciplinary training Unity College is known for, rigorously designed by students eager to succeed as leaders in the environmental century.

“I always come away impressed and optimistic,” Khoury said, according to the release. “These students, in collaboration with faculty advisers and partnership organizations in the community, show a level of thinking in sustainability sciences that one typically sees only in graduate school.”

Held in December and May each academic year, the Unity College Student Conference is the college’s signature forum for undergraduates to exhibit their research and to compete for excellence awards in a wide area of academic disciplines.

Students offer research findings in environmental sciences and the liberal arts, including original artwork such as painting, sculpture, and digital and mixed media. All works are judged by college faculty, staff and community partners.

According to the release, goals of the student conference are to encourage, promote and recognize all quality academic and professional work among Unity College students; to celebrate excellence; to help build a campus culture that values attention to detail and quality work; to provide a transitional experience into professional and academic communities; and to facilitate program evaluation and community building.

Among the 108 projects, several were recognized with prestigious awards, including:

The Environmental Professionals Award to Brian Harris-Jones, Cassandra Cates, Sean Stewart, Gunnar Norback, Emily MacDonald, Morgan DuBois, Alyssa Silvia and Sally Carullo, for “Calculating the Volume of Water and Sediment in an Irrigation Pond at Johnny’s Selected Seeds”; and The Environmental Stewardship Award, to LeClair for his “YouTube Conservation: Using Modern Media for Saving Wildlife.”

For more information about the Unity College Undergraduate Research Program, visit http://www.unity.edu/academics/programs-and-research/undergraduate-research.

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