Southwestern hosts Annual Student Research Symposium, May 30

SWOCC release – COOS BAY, OR – Southwestern Oregon Community College invites the community to join us on Thursday, May 30, 2024, at 6:00 pm, for our Annual Student Research Symposium. In addition to the student presentations, a poster exhibit will be on display starting at 5:30 pm in the Umpqua Hall Main Lobby. This is a free event; all ages are welcome. Coos County residents can join us in-person in the Umpqua Hall lecture room 184 on the Coos Campus, 1988 Newmark Ave., Coos Bay. Curry County residents can join us for a watch party in the Community Room on the Curry Campus, 96082 Lone Ranch Parkway, Brookings. For those not able to attend in person the lecture will be streamed live on the College’s YouTube channel at: Southwestern’s student SPEAR (STEAM, Pathways, Experimental, & Academic Research) Team is actively working on a variety of science research projects. Participation on the team teaches students valuable skills and allows them to gain hands-on experience. Students within Physics, Engineering, Geology, Computer Science, Biology, Agroecology, and Sociology will be showcasing their work for the community. Our SPEAR team is led by Krystal Hopper Meyers and mentored by Professors Aaron Coyner, Win McLaughlin, and Derek Morrelli. Some of the projects include: attempting to increase flight time for an electrical aircraft using magnetic induction, recent developments in nuclear propulsion, searching for micrometeorites within local storm drains and investigating if they were significant in supporting early plant life, researching the fossils, chronology, and relationship to Cascadia megathrust earthquakes at Fossil Point, comparing the composition and extent of the Oregon Coast basalt and if it correlates with Yellowstone hotspot or not, interplanetary ion population modeling working with a Lead Scientist at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, locating never found before asteroids using data sent to us from the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (PAN-STARRS) located at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, statistical analysis of King Tide heights and frequencies working NOAA tidal data. Many of these projects are supported by grants awarded through Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium. Additionally, Professors Jason Bennett and Maria Farinacci have two students who will be presenting research on invasive Green Crabs. These students recently finished an internship with South Slough National Estuary Research Reserve Lead Scientist, Dr. Shon Schooler. Posters from Professor Dana Pertermann’s Sociology students’ will also be on display. Topics from their research include Indigenous culture and raising grandchildren, Japanese marriage customs and culture, the study of forensics in time over the last 100 years, and changes in the human diet. Please join us and help support these students while learning more about the exciting things happening at the College within our STEAM programs! For more information contact Krystal Hopper Meyers, STEAM Pathways Assistant, at 541-888-7416, or To learn more about STEM degrees at Southwestern visit:

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