W&J Junior Presents Research at Prestigious Scientific Conference

Created: April 14, 2015
Last Updated: July 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (April 14, 2015) — Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) student Dakota Holloway ’16 took a chance applying for a summer research opportunity and the result catapulted him into success.

Holloway received an opportunity to complete a prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program with the National Science Foundation (NSF). He studied microbial communities with Jennifer Bowen Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts, and presented his research at the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) in Granada, Spain in March.

ASLO is an annual conference that gives both students and professionals in the scientific community an opportunity to share their research and findings. Holloway presented his study on microbial ecological communities that live within salt marshes, or salt-tolerant wetlands.

He said his experience at ASLO taught him the amount of effort a scientist takes to present research at a conference.

“It helped me realize everything that goes into a scientific conference, how these scientists have to put together their work and present it in a manner to people who are not necessarily involved with their field,” Holloway said. “This opportunity helped me learn to present my project and build communication skills.”

Holloway said he owes a lot of his success at ASLO to James March Ph.D., associate professor of biology at W&J, because March was the one who explained that REUs are vital to students, providing opportunities to get hands on experience in laboratories.

“I thank Dr. March for really pushing me to do it. In class, he would encourage us to research REUs and he pushed me to go after the opportunities out there,” Holloway said.

Holloway said chair of the W&J Biochemistry Major Advisory Committee, Mark F. Harris Ph.D., and W&J Biology professor Alice G. Lee, Ph.D., were also instrumental in their encouragement and efforts to lead him to his achievements.

Holloway is active on campus and is considered a leader inside and outside the classroom. He is involved with the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC), the Student Government Association (SGA) and volunteers at the Washington City Mission in Washington, Pa.

“Students learn from their peers. Dakota is leading by example. Hopefully more students will realize that summer and intersession experiences are critical times when they gain experiences to set themselves apart from the pack,” March said. “Success begets success.”

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work.

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