Students Display Scholarship at Poster Day

Nov 30, 2018

The fall event was sponsored by Cal U's Center for Undergraduate Research.

poster day

Aryn Hess explored the health benefits of a compound found in certain vegetables.


How beneficial is a compound found in foods like broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts? 

Senior Aryn Hess delved into the science of the compound, sulforaphane, for a research poster that she presented Nov. 29 at the Student Scholarship and Creativity Day at the Convocation Center. 

She was one of the students who presented posters that summarized their work at the event, which was sponsored by Cal U’s Center for Undergraduate Research. The center also sponsors the spring Strike-A-Spark undergraduate research conference, which will be held April 24. 

Hess was interested in determining if sulforaphane extractions from kale contain antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic properties. She began this project last spring but repeated the work using a different extraction method. 

“Many plants such as cabbage, kale or broccoli have anti-cancer agents. The foods are not only beneficial to your good health, but also these agents are used in synthetic drugs to combat cancer,” Hess said. “I want to see how plants affect people’s overall health.” 

Her conclusion: the sulforaphane from kale appears to have beneficial properties, and the highlight was the successful growth inhibition affecting a type of E. coli bacteria. 

Hess said the research and presentation experience is invaluable as she looks toward a career in the lab. 

“The poster helps me in piecing together all of my information and presenting it, because people can visualize what I do and it helps me explain it,” she said. 

Brothers Calvin and Peter Livengood’s poster described a restoration plan for Ohiopyle State Park’s more than 20,000-acre Kentucky Campground. 

Their work identified seven plant species found at the campground that could be planted in conjunction with campsite modifications to offset improper tent placements and foot traffic. 

The Livengoods’ plan was submitted and accepted by Ken Brisbee, Ohiopyle State Park manager. Plans are to restore one loop road a year for 10 years. 

Peter Livengood is a home-schooled senior who is in Cal U’s High School Early Admit program. He plans to major in fisheries and wildlife biology.
“This was the first research scientific poster we’ve ever done,” he said. “It’s tough to condense months of work in your mind, but this gives you a way to do it and gives you a quick summary.” 

Calvin Livengood, who is majoring in business management and environmental studies at Cal U, said the two worked more than 500 hours on the project. 

“Problem-solving and identifying suitable plants were probably the two biggest challenges, but putting together the poster afterward has helped give a clearer understanding,” he said. 

Dr. Gregg Gould, who directors the Center for Undergraduate Research, was pleased with the event. 

“When a student drives a project, they get more experience and engaged with what they’re doing,” he said. “You can see the excitement when they talk about their work, which is the benefit that comes from research projects.”