St. Norbert College
St. Norbert College
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    Connections Newsletter
    Issue 3                                                                                                                                         Spring Semester 2012


    A Note from the Collaborative Director

    Undergraduate Research: Adjusting to Life at a Liberal Arts College

    2012-2013 McNair Scholars

    Fall-Summer Collaborative Grants

    Convention Spotlight



    • Kaela Gedda
    • Jens Paasen
    • Gretchen Panzer
    • Hannah Schmitt
    • Luanne Spence
    • Sarah Titus

    Collaborative Research Stories

    Important Dates

    May 4, 2012 Student Academic Travel Grant and Attendee Grant applications due

    National Conference on Undergraduate Research

    Reflection on NCUR Experience

    Sarah Lottes

    My role in the conference was to represent St. Norbert College, along with two other students, in a student conference of 3,150. I interacted with both students and faculty as I presented my poster from 11:40 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Thursday. During that period, I spoke with roughly 20 individuals, explaining and answering questions about my topic. I believe that I connected with individuals that had past knowledge of the topic and individuals that did not, based on the varying lines of questioning.


    The conversation and feedback made me think about the direction that the project will go next: I will not be working on it, but I am more eager to converse about it with my adviser. Furthermore, I’m a little sad that I will not be going to another conference with this work. I put up my poster feeling uneasy about presenting, but by the end, I found that time had flown and I was actually reluctant quit. I think that NCUR was a wonderful opportunity for an inexperienced student like myself to learn both how to present and about the vast amount of undergraduate research being done on various topics. I hope that students next year and beyond take advantage of the wonderful opportunity I was afforded. Equally exciting was the discovery that the three students sent from St. Norbert seemed to be on equal footing in project type and quality as many larger universities present.

    Our lab looks at the effect of hormones on the brain. I have worked under the instruction of Dr. David Bailey since 2010, and our project examines the effect of stress hormones on memory. Previous studies have shown that long-term stress is detrimental to memory, but short-term stress can actually have a positive effect on memory. We use the zebra finch as a model system, and the hormone corticosterone to provide artificial stress. Previous studies in our lab showed a seven day exposure to corticosterone in the brain leads to heightened levels of calbindin, a protein that appears in high concentration when the brain is injured and provides some protection. When the study was repeated, the cell structure and the animals’ behavior were not consistent with what was expected. Two additional studies were then carried out to look at short-term stress. In these, we looked at behavior, calbindin, and ZENK, a marker for cell activity. Behavior was tested using spatial memory techniques. Data from these trials showed an increased ability to learn as well as increased ZENK in animals that received corticosterone treatment.





    St. Norbert Collaborative

    Phone: (920) 403-3147
    Fax: (920) 403-4086

    St. Norbert College • 100 Grant Street • De Pere, WI 54115-2099 • 920-337-3181