Biology Students Named ASPB Scholar, Present in Texas

Roshani Budhathoki and her research mentor Biology Professor Vijaykumar Veerappan.

Written by Raven Dillon

Roshani Budhathoki ’19 and Jacob Dayton ’19 had big Octobers as biology students at Eastern Connecticut State University. Budhathoki was named a 2018-19 ASPB-Conviron Scholar by the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB), and Dayton presented research in Texas at Rice University’s Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Budhathoki was one of 43 scholars selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants. ASPB is the professional society for plant biologists and Conviron is a partnering company that manufactures plant-growth chambers.

Within the realm of biology, Budhathoki focuses on plant science and breeding. She is inspired to pursue plant breeding because of the possibility of improving agriculture and food production, especially in developing countries. Budhathoki has given oral presentations at several professional conferences, including the ASPB-Northeast Section Meeting and the Eastern Colleges Science Conference, receiving best oral-presentation awards at both conferences. She was also the recipient of an ASPB undergraduate research fellowship this past summer.

ASPB-Conviron scholars receive a one-year membership in the ASPB, virtual mentoring and résumé review sessions with established plant science professionals, and the opportunity to submit an article to the ASPB blog for editorial feedback and support, with the possibility of publication.

As an undergraduate at Eastern, Jacob Dayton has conducted research at the Jackson Laboratory.

On Oct. 6 at Rice University in Houston, TX, Dayton presented at the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium. The annual symposium features several hundred speakers in disciplines that span topics from engineering to natural science.

Dayton’s oral presentation, titled “Metapopulation Connectivity Mitigates Permanent Loss of Historical Genetic Diversity in a Federally Endangered Seabird,” concerns the federally endangered seabird known as the Roseate Tern. His findings show increasing genetic diversity among the terns. Dayton’s research mentor at Eastern is Biology Professor Patricia Szczys, with whom he has studied terns throughout his undergraduate career. 

The Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium gives undergraduate students an opportunity to gain presentation experience and to meet peers at other institutions from around the world. Students submit an abstract and present for 10-12 minutes about their research and receive feedback from Rice faculty and graduate students.