Convention Reports: 2018 Awards and Presentations Committees

 Presentation AwardsHarold Wilkinson Alumni Recognition Award | Chapter Honor Awards


Presentation Awards

Best Poster Awards:

Committee Members: Bernadine Cochran - Beta Xi, Sumedhe Karunarathne - Gamma Mu, Jyrko Correa-Morris - Gamma Rho, Steve Dougherty - Gamma Eta

Committee Report: There were many excellent posters.Two awards were given for best poster:

Brodrick Deno, Rho Chapter, Best Poster Award
Identifying an unknown Agyneta sp. via DNA sequencing

Sydney Barron, Charissa Lord, Melissa Gadd, and Noah Holmes, Beta Eta Chapter, Best Poster Award
Expression and Purification of Transmembrane Serine Protease 2 (TMPRSS2) to Determine Crystal Structure

Best Presentation Award:

Committee Members: Anne Rammelsberg - Pi, Robb VanPutte - Beta

Committee Report: There was a diversity of topics, delivery, effort, and preparation that went into the presentations this year was evident which made selecting a single best presentation all that more difficult. 

Randi Block, Alpha Psi 2018 Best Presentation Award 
An Analysis of Adult Tick Populations and the Prevalence of Spotted Fever Group Rickettsia in Two Rural Michigan Counties


 Harold Wilkinson Alumni Recognition Award

Committee Members:

 Jim Hall, Executive Director
David Styers-Barnett, President

One Harold Wilkinson Alumni Recognition Award was awarded at the 2018 Convention.

Katherine Welch, 2018 Rho Chapter Harold Wilkinson Alumni Recognition Award 

The Rho Chapter nominates Katherine Welch for the Harold Wilkinson Distinguished Alumni Award because of her commitment to medical philanthropy in the service of marginalized and exploited populations in Southeast Asia. She also has become an international advocate and consultant for the prevention of sexual exploitation and the development of support for victims. Katherine was inducted as a member of the Rho Chapter in 1992, and she matriculated to the Indiana University School of Medicine upon her graduation in 1993. Dr. Welch's educational path was characterized by her openness to unexpected opportunities and reactions to new experiences. Katherine started with an interest in allied health, but encouragement from a faculty member convinced her to consider medical school. While in medical school, she was offered an opportunity to participate in an international service trip, and again took a faculty member's advice to become the first IU medical student to go to rural Thailand. During her residency in pediatrics at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, Katherine chose to return to Thailand to, as she described, "Get it out of her system." Instead, it confirmed her interest in missionary medicine, and she turned down prestigious fellowship opportunities to return to the Kwai River Hospital along the Thai-Burma border as co-director for four years. Katherine then moved to China to teach general clinical pediatrics at Liaoning International General Health Trainers for three years. Katherine treated jungle diseases, rural injuries, and trauma from civil unrest, and she also witnessed the exploitation of the displaced. In 2007, she co-founded and became medical director of Global Health Promise, an organization to conduct research on the health consequences of sex trafficking and prostitution with counter-trafficking organizations, to educate health care professionals in identifying and caring for people who have been trafficked, and to provide direct care to trafficked people. That effort continues to the present, but Katherine needed to be more involved in direct care. In 2011, Katherine started Relentless, an organization dedicated to direct medical interventions that address abuse, exploitation and human trafficking. Armed only with a backpack of medical supplies, Katherine goes into the red light district of Bangkok to provide care to the exploited and trafficked workers. She recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of her patients and establishes human connections with marginalized people. She also provides a conduit to connect them to other available support.
Katherine Welch has used her foundation in the natural sciences, her willingness to accept unexpected opportunities, and her natural compassion for others to build a unique international medical presence. Her career exemplifies the University of Indianapolis motto of "Education for Service," and the Rho Chapter is humbled to nominate Katherine Welch for the Harold Wilkinson Distinguished Alumni Award.

Honor Award

Committee Members:

 Jim Hall, Executive Director
David Styers-Barnett, President

Three Chapter Honor Awards were awarded at the 2018 Convention.

Taylor Hauersperger,  2018 Rho Chapter Honor Award

Taylor Hauersperger is the 2017-2018 president of the Rho chapter of Sigma Zeta. She has excelled in her duties, acting as a true ambassador across disciplines. Since the beginning of her presidency, she has worked tirelessly to grow the Rho chapter at the University of Indianapolis both in numbers and activity level. Taylor has recruited and advocated for students across all applicable fields on campus. This shows her passion towards the mission of Sigma Zeta, as well as her commitment to the benefits students find through participation in the organization. Under her leadership, we had a record number of 40 new members this year across a wide range of disciplines and class years.
She is a leader in every sense of the word. Her biggest strength is her ability to inspire everyone around her. Taylor is diligent and organized and takes every opportunity to support the sciences at UIndy while increasing the visibility of our chapter. She is extremely dependable; Many tasks that often would fall to the faculty advisor, Taylor has completed without even being asked. Whether it is spearheading a canned food drive at Thanksgiving, ensuring transportation to this convention is reserved, or coordinating with our career services department to create campus-wide events, she commits fully. Once Taylor decides an idea is worth pursuing, there is little doubt that it will be successful. Her humbleness towards her own intelligence makes her approachable without apprehension or fear of judgement. She may not recognize her effect on others, but her dedication and passion are bright enough to light up everyone around her, more than she would ever expect. Her silent strength and energetic spirit have helped to keep the Rho chapter going strong in its 75th year. Taylor Hauersperger is an individual who goes above and beyond expectations and is a deserving recipient of the Sigma Zeta Honor Award.

Paige Swan,  2018 Gamma Eta Chapter Honor Award

Paige Swan is an outstanding woman who has selflessly served Sigma Zeta both in her local chapter and on the national level. A three-year member, Paige instantly engaged in Sigma Zeta. This is Paige's second year serving as president for the Gamma Eta Chapter. She has thrown herself into this position planning a welcoming event for all incoming members, hosting the regional science fair, coordinating speakers to come to campus, and organizing science projects with elementary students. Last year, Marian University hosted the National Convention, this required an enormous amount of leadership, coordination and attention to detail. Paige was at the core of this task, setting up 9 student committees and completing every task with a smile. This year, Paige received a Sigma Zeta grant. She presented her poster at this national convention "Effects of available L-Arginine on β-Amyloid plaque formation in C. elegans model of Alzheimer's disease." Paige is presently serving as the student representative to the Executive Council. She attended the national meeting in November, where she helped evaluate grants and offered a voice for the students of Sigma Zeta. Most importantly, Paige is a very bright, dedicated, and hardworking student. She is very focused and dedicated to learning science and sharing that knowledge with others. She is very personable and is always willing to share her knowledge and skills with other students. Paige will be attending University of Pikeville Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine in August.

Rachel Baines,  2018 Beta Eta Chapter Honor Award

Rachel Baines is a woman of exemplary leadership within Beta Eta. She has shown that she has a heart for science and mathematics as well as our surrounding community. She never ceases to inspire others with her constant humility, positivity and love towards the students in our chapter. Her dedication is shown by her seamless balance of pursuing research endeavors, maintaining academic excellence and coordinating national convention. She delegates well with a kind understanding spirit. Rachel's research endeavors include research on the HAT protein and a crystal structure of SucB which she will discuss in an oral presentation at Sigma Zeta National Convention 2018. Overall, her contributions to the Sigma Zeta include reaching out to the local community to establish greater understanding of science and mathematics as well as displaying leadership qualities to the students at Evangel University. The Beta Eta chapter couldn't imagine a better leader.