Sophomore Receives Research Grant from Arkansas Academy of Science

Kristen FinchKristen Finch CONWAY, Ark. (April 21, 2011) – Kristen Finch received an undergraduate research grant from the Arkansas Academy of Science (AAS).

Finch, a sophomore from Fort Smith, wrote a proposal to AAS to extend her research project “How distinct are the geographically isolated coastal populations of ponderosa pines in the Willamette Valley of Oregon and Fort Lewis, Washington?” for which she previously won a Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) grant from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

The SURF award supports her field work to collect plant specimens (eastern Washington and western Idaho), her molecular lab work, and travel to the national BOTANY conference in St. Louis, Mo. this summer.

The AAS award will allow Kristen to extend her project by collaborating with researchers at Oregon State University and Michigan State University to develop some new molecular markers that will be useful to a wide range of researchers as well as greatly improving her SURF project.

Finch plans a career as a botanist, and will do an Odyssey project this fall to learn how to write a paper to submit to a peer-reviewed journal, according to Dr. Ann Willyard, Assistant Professor of Biology, Finch’s independent research mentor.

“The AAS award is another important recognition of Kristen’s abilities and will open important doors for her in graduate studies and beyond,” Willyard said

Hendrix, founded in 1876, is a selective, residential, undergraduate liberal arts college emphasizing experiential learning in a demanding yet supportive environment. The college is featured in the 2010 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country’s best 371 colleges, was identified as the nation’s top “Up and Coming” liberal arts college for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report, and is ranked among 45 “Best Buy” colleges by the 2011 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.