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Delta State students & faculty present during two regional science conferences

Several Delta State University students and faculty presented at the 2022 Mississippi Academy of Sciences conference. Pictured, from left, are Mary Weeks, Matthew Nichols, Dr. Ahm Ali Reza, Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, YaeEun Yun and Hannah Pinter.

It was a busy spring semester for students and faculty of Delta State University’s Division of Mathematics and Sciences.

Four students and four faculty members from the Division presented during the 86th annual meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences (MAS), held in Biloxi, Miss. In addition, two students and a faculty member participated in the 83rd annual Association of Southeast Biologists Conference, hosted in Little Rock, Ark.

YaeEun Yun stands by her poster regarding the anatomy of Viola soronia.

Divisional programs represented by Delta State faculty and students at the MAS conference included chemistry, ecology/evolution, geology/geography and science education. Their contributions included five oral and five poster presentations. Faculty who presented included Drs. Nina Baghai-Riding, Joseph Bentley, Chris Jurgenson (for Tanya McKinney), Ahm Ali Reza and Charles Smithhart.

Four Environmental Science students gave presentations for the Ecology and Evolution Division.

Mary Weeks, a graduating senior, gave an oral presentation titled “Comparing Pollinator Interactions between Native and Non-native Plant Species in the Mississippi Delta.”

Matt Nichols, a graduating senior, and Hannah Pinter, a senior, presented a poster titled “An Assessment of Microplastics in Local Waterways and Around the Mississippi Delta.”

Pinter also presented two other scientific posters titled “An Anatomical Study of Trifolium repens L. (Fabaceae/Faboidea)” and “Natural Dyes from Plants that Grow in the Mississippi Delta.”

YaeEun Yun, a graduating senior, presented a poster titled ‘A Plant Anatomical Investigation of Viola soronia Willd. Dr. Shelly Tucci, editor of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences professional journal, invited Yun to publish her study in an upcoming journal issue.

Additionally, Dr. AHM Ali Reza, associate professor of Biology and Environmental Science, gave a special symposia presentation for the Ecology and Evolution section titled “Turtles of Bangladesh: Population and Conservation Challenges in an Overpopulated Landscape.”

Hannah Pinter and Matt Nichols stand by their scientific poster regarding microplastics associated with waterways in the Mississippi Delta.

Professor of Chemistry Joseph Bentley and Associate Professor of Chemistry Charles Smithhart gave a poster presentation titled “Analysis of Systematic Error in an Undergraduate Chemistry Teaching Laboratory Procedure.”

Dr. Nina Baghai-Riding, professor of Biology and Environmental Science, was a co-author of an oral presentation titled “Cannel Coal, Geoarchaeology, and The Mississippi River Alluvium in the Yazoo Basin.”

Dr. Chris Jurgenson, associate professor of Chemistry, gave an oral presentation for the Science Education Mini Symposium titled “OkraDiscover Delta State University K-12 Stem Outreach.”

Reza and Baghai-Riding were chair and vice-chair respectively of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Division. They were responsible for coordinating a symposium, student oral presentations, a poster session and a field trip to the Mississippi Aquarium in Gulfport, Miss.

62 MAS participants took part in the field trip including 25 individuals from Jackson State University. Reza and Baghai-Riding also served as judges for the undergraduate and graduate student poster presentations.

Shelby Wolfram, a graduating senior in Environmental Science and Biology, gave an oral presentation for the Herpetology section at the Association of Southeast Biologists, held March 30-April 6.

The title of the presentation was “Preliminary Population Size Estimate of Aquatic Salamanders in Experimental Ponds in the Mississippi Delta.”

Katelyn Tramel, a graduating senior in Environmental Science and Biology, and Dr. Eric Blackwell, associate professor of Biology, were co-authors of the presentation.

For more information regarding the Mississippi Academy of Sciences presentations, visit  For more information regarding the Association of Southeast Biologists

To learn more about the Division of Mathematics and Science degree programs. visit