“We were fortunate to receive the grant through EPSCoR and to receive a 20% matching grant through the CSC Research Institute,” Tibbits said.
Thanks to this support, the Geoscience program purchased an Olympus Vanta XRF unit.
Tibbits explained that the unit ejects an X-ray which excites electrons. The atoms of the analyzed material emit a specific light. The unit reads and displays the specific light frequencies that correspond to a specific mineral or element. The XRF can produce precise and accurate chemical data in less than a minute.
“Our unit has two different energy levels, which gives a better picture. It allows us to see a wider range of elements on the periodic table. It’s a really good feature to have when watching unknowns,” Tibbits
The unit is safe to use by students as the x-ray is focused on the object being scanned and when it is not touching a sample the unit shuts off. Leite and Tibbits also purchased a benchtop stand with a leaded chamber for analyzing materials in the classroom or lab.
Leite took the pXRF unit to Field Camp this summer where Kaitlyn Smith of Hackberry, Arizona collected rocks and data for her research on the Capstone II course.
During this academic year, Brady McDaniel of Chadron and Rowdy Pfeil of Moorcroft, Wyoming will use the pXRF unit to analyze items in CSC’s collections.
“Rowdy will analyze and confirm the identifications on our meteorite collection. He’s going to make sure that our irons are iron and our stone irons are, in fact, stone irons,” Tibbits said. “Brady is going to go through some museum collections and make sure we understand a little better what we have and check that everything is correctly identified.”
Tibbits used a pXRF unit during his thesis in Belize.
“It was one of the cornerstones of how I was able to analyze granite. Compared to the old way of grinding the stone, doing all kinds of time-consuming and expensive sample preparation, and waiting results from a remote lab, we can now find data almost instantly and leave the material untouched, if necessary,” she said. “Within seconds, you can get full chemical production on n any solid material. This device is very precise.
Tibbits and Leite plan to expand the use of the pXRF unit, sharing it with faculty and students in the Rangeland program.
“It can produce good results on soil cores and soil samples from magnesium through uranium,” Tibbits said.
CHADRON — Chadron State College was represented at the 2022 Nebraska Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) conference in Nebraska City, Nebraska, last month.
CSC student Emmanuella Tchona and CSC alum Dr. Nisha Durand made presentations, while alum Isioma Akwanamnye received the award INBRE James Turpen Scholarship. Professor Dr. Ann Buchmann, INBRE student mentor, also attended the conference.
Although CSC student Joshua Kruse conducted summer research as an INBRE student, he was unable to present at the conference.
Tchona gave a presentation on his research aimed at an effective treatment for schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a parasitic worm that affects 250 million people.
She said one-eighth of the world’s population is at risk of infection and there is only one cure available, praziquantel, which has several shortcomings.
“Praziquantel is rarely curative, has a short half-life, and is only effective against the youngest developmental stage of the worm,” she said.
His research this summer focused on developing a compound that is effective against the developmental stages of the parasite (young and adult), curative, and has a reasonable half-life, or duration of effectiveness.
Tchona said the INBRE summer program was crucial to learn more about research and the lives of graduates.
“It’s something I would recommend to all science students, whether or not they want to pursue a PhD. There are other options. Everything you learn in your preparatory classes will make sense and you will see the direct application of science. You will learn critical thinking and the beauty of failure. I recommend INBRE one hundred percent,” said Tchona.
Durand introduced the topic Becoming a Cell Therapy Process Development Scientist. She explained her work developing cultured cells for use in clinical therapies at the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine and her journey from Dominica to a career in science in the United States.
She is a Principal Research Technologist and Director of Operations at the Human Cellular Therapy Lab-Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Florida. She is responsible for the development of processes and techniques in support of all phases of cell product development and stem cell production in support of Phase I clinical trials.
Durand earned a bachelor’s degree in human biology from CSC in 2012 and later earned a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2017.
Akwanamnye received the James Turpen INBRE Award in recognition of his dedication and research efforts.
“Receiving the award is a great feeling. Dr. Buchmann has been a supportive teacher and mentor, trusting me to work on the project for the past two years and patiently resolving any issues with the project with me. wouldn’t be who or where I am without my mentors who took the time to teach me and help me become the person I am today,” Akwanamnye said.
Akwanamnye joined the INBRE program in April 2020 during the pandemic. She said she was able to conduct significant research with Buchmann, working on a triple-negative breast cancer project with fellow CSC student Lelisse Umeta.
Akwanamnye will continue his graduate studies at Case Western University and work on cancer immunotherapy. Eventually, she plans to return to her native Nigeria to help improve scientific research there.
Buchmann said Akwanamnye is smart, dedicated, enthusiastic and hardworking.
“She has the desire and drive to make a real difference in the scientific world here and in Nigeria,” Buchmann said.
Buchmann said it was a privilege to watch his students grow into confident professionals in scientific fields.
CHADRON — A paper co-authored by Chadron State College Assistant Professor Dr. Elizabeth Kraatz has appeared in the July issue of Theory Into Practice. The peer-reviewed journal is designed for teachers and administrators to support the application of educational research to educational practice.
In the abstract studyKraatz, and co-authors Jacqueline von Spiegel, Robin Sayers, and Anna C. Brady, write that the article’s goal is to highlight the benefits of controversial classroom conversations and describe instructional approaches that facilitate conversations. Effective controversy.
Although controversial topics can be uncomfortable for teachers to include in class discussions, Kraatz and colleagues write that there are significant cognitive and socio-emotional benefits to engaging in class discussions about controversial topics.
The authors write that teachers’ support of students in respectful discussions is crucial in helping them develop skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and the ability to look at problems from multiple angles. They continue that these skills can enable students to achieve larger goals, such as serving on civic boards and commissions.
Kraatz and his co-authors first identify important factors teachers need to consider to support effective and beneficial controversial conversations. Then they provide sample conversation topics suitable for students of different ages. Finally, they examine how conversational structure, scaffolding, classroom context, relationships, and individual student differences can shape controversial conversations.
Kraatz teaches courses in psychology, educational psychology, and developmental psychology. Before joining the CSC faculty in Fall 2021she taught adult education classes in Ohio for several years and earned a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Ohio State.