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“Twopeat!” Department of Biological Sciences Student Organization Receives Top Honors Two Years in a Row

 

Biological Sciences Students
Pictured: Adam Ferguson, Jenny Strovas, Lizz Waring, Rita Magalhães

For the second year in a row, the Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) graduate student organization TTUAB- Texas Tech University Association of Biologists, received the Texas Tech University Student Union and Activities award for “Organization of the Year.” This award comes on the heels of TTUAB’s hosting of the Second Annual TTABSS (Texas Tech Annual Biological Sciences Symposium), a regional showcase for research pertaining to biological sciences.

TTABSS was initiated in 2010 under the direction of Ken Griffith and his fellow TTUAB officers Adam Ferguson, Julie Parlos, and  Xi ‘Cici’ Chen, who together with an army of fellow TTUAB members and graduate students helped organize, implement, and host the event. The symposium provides students from all over the South Plains and beyond an opportunity to present their biological research in a competitive yet friendly environment while simultaneously showcasing on-going research by DBS graduate students and members of TTUAB. In its first year, TTABSS had over 130 participants from 10 institutions, totaling 58 presentations. The Second Annual TTABSS followed suit, with 57 presentations addressing topics ranging from Pleistocene distribution of skunks, to biochemical responses of the deadly amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrum dendrobatidis, to thyroid hormones. TTABSS provides an excellent recruitment tool by encouraging students with associate degrees from regional universities or campuses to present their research while simultaneously witnessing the types of research being conducted at a top research institution.

In addition to hosting TTABSS, members of TTUAB operate as a critical service organization both within DBS and TTU. Members of TTUAB run one of the most successful recycling programs on campus, with bins for aluminum, plastic bottles, and cardboard recycling located throughout the Biology building. The service-hour requirements for being a full member ensures that TTUAB has participants in a variety of community and TTU sponsored events including, but not limited to, the following activities: Arbor Day, Pumpkin Trail at the Lubbock Arboretum, Tech Can Share, Take-a-Kid-to-the-Game, Toys for Tots, various local science fairs, State Employee Charitable Campaign, and the Back to School Fiesta. Within DBS, TTUAB helps host the weekly seminar series-- paying for travel for renowned scientists from across the US and beyond (during both fall and spring semesters) who deliver lectures on their cutting-edge research to all DBS faculty, staff, graduate, and undergraduate students. These lectures are also open to the public.

TTUAB also simultaneously helps its members and increases recognition for TTU and DBS through travel funding for its members to attend annual research conferences. In fact, TTUAB provides one of the main sources of funds for students traveling to scientific meetings to present their research results. Meetings include regional, national, and international venues. Through independent fundraising activities, TTUAB funds such travel and provides grants to active members to assist with the purchase of supplies for projects pertaining to their research within the DBS, as well as funding competitive awards for the annual TTABSS.

All in all, TTUAB represents the kind of competitive yet collegiate spirit that makes TTU such a successful institution. Through community outreach, cutting-edge research, and promoting dissemination of research results, members of TTUAB are able to reach well beyond a regional influence, helping to expose TTU to the world’s scientific community in a positive and competitive light. For more information on this organization please check out their website: http://www.biol.ttu.edu/ttuab/home.aspx