Berry Announces Research Scholars

Release Date: June 11, 2018

Six Berry College students have earned thousands of dollars to conduct research in the upcoming academic year.

This year’s Richard Scholars are Jack Stucky and Jenny Coelho, Synovus Scholars are Paolo Francisco, Madison Barshick and Luke Buttram and the Kirbo Scholar is Mikayla Camacho.

Stucky will work with Assistant Professor of Animal Science Laura Flatow to determine if freezing affects antibody concentrations in the colostrum fed to newborn dairy calves.

“I am very blessed for this opportunity at Berry to both explore research as a career field and potentially make a contribution to scientific and agricultural fields,” said Stucky, an animal science major from Nicholasville, Ky.  

Coelho, a biology major from Lawrenceville, Ga., will work with Assistant Biology Professor Angela Poole to investigate the coral immune system by studying the functions of certain genes.

“Not only is the work I am now able to do important to my personal future, but it also holds great potential and implications for the future of coral disease, diagnostics and treatment,” Coelho said.

Francisco’s project involves using acoustics to represent the phenomenon that occurs to electron energy levels when a single atom of one element is introduced into a solid made of multiple atoms of another element.  Assistant Professor of Physics Shawn Hilbert will mentor Francisco, a Dual-Degree Engineering major from Bonaire, Ga.

“We are in a world full of electronics, and finding another way to demonstrate exactly what makes those things work is extremely valuable,” he said.

Madison Barshick, an animal science major from Saint Augustine, Fla., will focuses on decreasing fly populations in livestock areas by creating a biological pesticide product.  To do this, Barshick will work with Assistant Professor of Biology DeLacy Rhodes to induce the RNAi pathway in the common house fly to target the gene family AMPK.

“Without this gene, the body cannot properly regulate hormones impacting growth and therefore the organism cannot grow and develop properly,” she said.

Buttram will test the voltage needed to initiate electron exchange within samples of the Rieske protein to see if there is evidence to support the notion that inefficiency within electron exchange leads to cellular damage. He will be under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Inorganic Chemistry Kevin Hoke.

“This knowledge is important because it could potentially yield results that would be of great importance to understanding the cause and potential methods of treating various human ailments,” said Buttram, an English major from Birmingham, Ala.  

Camacho, a psychology major from Powder Springs, Ga., will work with a variety of participants to better understand if visual or auditory impairments affect how people respond to different types of stimuli.

“Mediating responses are basically what you say or picture in your head when you are recalling something from memory,” said Camacho, who will work under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Thom Ratkos.

The Richards Scholars program is designed for junior and senior students and awards $5,000 to students and $1,000 to a faculty mentor. The Synovus Sophomore Scholars Program awards $2,000 to rising sophomores and $500 for faculty/staff mentors. The Kirbo Scholars Program awards up to $1,250 to students. 


Written by Public Relations Student Supervisor Alexi Bell