VIMS grad student presents innovative research at state forum

  • Forum participants
    Forum participants  (Left to right) William & Mary graduate students Nathaniel Phillips, Jason Zieger, Cara Campbell, Corey Miller, Kersey Sturdivant, and Jeffrey Jackson (not shown) participated in the fifth annual Graduate Student Research Forum.  Courtesy Photo
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Graduate student Kersey Sturdivant of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science recently took part in the 5th annual Graduate Student Research Forum, held at the Library of Virginia in Richmond on March 4.

Members of the General Assembly, industry representatives, the general public, and students and administrators from across the Commonwealth attended this celebration of graduate student research and scholarship. The Virginia Council of Graduate Schools hosted the event.

Sturdivant, who is pursuing a Ph.D. degree at VIMS with faculty advisors Robert Diaz and Rochelle Seitz, presented a poster describing his study of the effects that low-oxygen "dead zones" have on bottom-dwelling organisms in the Rappahannock River, a major tributary of Chesapeake Bay.

The Rappahannock is known to suffer from seasonal bouts of low-oxygen water, or "hypoxia," primarily during summer. Sturdivant is studying how the scarcity of oxygen in the river's bottom waters during the summer months affects the organisms that live on and in the muddy seafloor. These organisms are a key part of the Bay's food web, supporting recreationally and commercially important species such as crabs, striped bass, croaker, and spot.

Sturdivant was joined at the forum by five other William and Mary graduate students, who presented on topics as diverse as guided wave inspection for monitoring the integrity of such structures as ships and airplanes (Corey Miller, Applied Science); quantum optics for controlling matter with light (Nathaniel Phillips, Physics); digital databases to reevaluate White-Indian relations in the early U.S. (Jason Zieger, History ); ultrasonic radiation force for de-bubbling blood (Cara Campbell, Physics); and organizational citizenship behaviors, collective teacher efficacy, and student achievement in elementary schools (Jeffrey Jackson, Education).

"W&M graduate students are expanding the frontiers of knowledge and are passionate about sharing the excitement of discovery with undergraduate students, fellow graduate students, and the public," said Laurie Sanderson, W&M's Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.

The written program for the forum highlighted 11 business sectors targeted by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). Much of William & Mary's graduate research aligns with the VEDP priorities, demonstrating the critical link between university research, the economic development of the Commonwealth, and the well-being of its citizens.

More information about the research forum and the Virginia Council of Graduate Schools can be found at .