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Indian River State College hosts the 78th Florida Academy of Sciences Meeting

Dr. Sanjay Sesodia, FAS President  (right) and Dr. Richard Tankersley, the plenary speaker.
Dr. Sanjay Sesodia, FAS President (right) and Dr. Richard Tankersley, the plenary speaker.
Sonia Lavina

The 78th Annual meeting of the Florida Academy of Sciences (FAS) held at Indian River State College in Ft. Pierce concluded on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

Dr. Lonnie Ingram,  the 2013 Medalist Award winner and banquet speaker.
Sonia Lavina

The annual meeting was attended by approximately 300 participants including professionals, undergraduate and graduate students who presented their research through oral and poster presentations.

FAS offers a casual, yet academic environment, in which the students can present to their colleagues and receive feedback and friendly comments for improvement,” said Dr. Kelli Zargiel, the meeting Program Chair.

A total of 102 talks and 51 posters were presented during the conference. “The meeting was a success based on the attendance with 153 presenters of which 106 were students,” said Dr. Sanjay Sesodia, FAS President.

Twenty-seven students received awards for Outstanding Graduate or Undergraduate presentations.

“The plenary and banquet speakers were both entertaining and enlightening,” said Sesodia. The keynote speaker, Dr. Richard Tankersley, Professor of Biological Sciences at the Florida Institute of Technology spoke on how scientists can broaden the impact of their research by communicating effectively and also discussed the Ocean 180 Video Challenge.

Dr. Lonnie Ingram, Distinguished Professor from the University of Florida, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science and the FAS 2013 Medalist presented the banquet address on “Converting Inedible Biomass into Fuel Ethanol and Chemicals".

The 2014 FAS Medalist award winner was also announced. Dr. Peter J. Delfyett from the University of Central Florida received the honor. Dr. Delfyett is the Trustee Chair and Professor of Optics, ECE and Physics at the UCF Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers (CREOL).

FAS also sponsors the Florida Junior Academy of Science (FJAS) which holds their student competitions on day two of the conference. As the student division of FAS, the FJAS provides opportunities for middle and high school students to present their research. Seventy students presented in 8 different sessions. Each session awarded a first, second, third and fourth place. “In addition, 12 students were given certificates of outstanding presentations,” said Pat Zalo, FJAS Coordinator. According to Zalo, students who compete at FJAS have gone on to win significantly more place awards at the State Science Fair.

Next year’s annual meeting will be at St. Leo University on March 20, 2015.

The Florida Academy of Sciences, Inc. was founded in 1936 as a non-profit organization. The Academy is the Florida Affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the only organization in Florida that represents all disciplines of sciences. For more information visit the FAS website.

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