Kapp Prize Awarded to Top Student Presenters
Seniors Ian Harrier and Hannah Ropp were awarded the Ronald O. Kapp Honors Day prize for their outstanding Honors Day presentations in the natural sciences and social sciences.
Junior Ashley Zondlak was the recipient of the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society for best poster presentation.
The Kapp prize is named for the late Dr. Ronald O. Kapp, an Alma College biology professor for 32 years and vice president of academic affairs for 20 years. Kapp’s widow, Phyllis, was present for the April 1 Honors Day events.
From left: Ashley Zondlak, Hannah Ropp, Ian Harrier.
The prize is open to all students and groups, and each division is judged for the quality of both the research and the presentation by a panel.
Ian Harrier, Montague senior, presented “Synthesis and Functionalization of New Bromoboranes.” The emergence of specialized cancer therapies such as Boron Neutron Capture Therapy has led to an increase in the need for larger, more soluble boron containing compounds to be produced.
Harrier developed high-yielding bromination reactions utilizing mild conditions using N-bromosuccinimide as the brominating agent, increasing the reliability and safety of the reaction. Acid-catalyzed hydroxylations also were optimized using new microwave synthetic techniques, producing a variety of hydroxylated species that were subsequently brominated via this new method.
Harrier’s faculty sponsor was Joel Dopke, assistant professor of chemistry.
“Dr. Dopke encouraged me all the way,” Harrier said. “I enjoyed getting the opportunity to work with both organic and inorganic synthesis because this is something I want to continue on with in graduate school.”
Hannah Ropp, Alma senior, presented “Financing of Education in the State of Michigan: Where Do We Go From Here?” Ropp explored the impacts of public education on statewide economic performance and the effects of the level of financing on educational success through a series of econometric regression analyses.
She analyzed Michigan’s current budgetary scheme to determine the best course of action to implement the findings of her study.
With dropout rates as high as 83 percent in some areas of the state and test scores below the national average, Ropp also researched the history and development of public education funding in Michigan to better understand where the problems originated.
“I saw both the recession in Michigan and the dismal state of the educational system, so I wanted to see what correlation existed between the economy and education,” she said.
Ropp’s faculty sponsor was Robert Cunningham, associate professor of economics.
Ashley Zondlak, Jamestown junior, presented “Cloning the BT Biopesticide Receptor From the Eastern Tent Caterpillar, Malacosoma americanum, Using Redundant Primers and the Polymerase Chain Reaction.” Zondlak worked on the cloning of a novel protein receptor for the Bacillus thuringiensis biopesticides, using the Eastern Tent Caterpillar (ETC) as her target insect.
Her study involved making use of known receptors as a starting point for the polymerase chain reaction-based isolation of the receptor from ETC. In addition to being a major cause of defoliation and tree mortality in the United States, ETC larvae build silken nests in deciduous trees.
Zondlak’s faculty sponsor was Timothy Keeton, associate professor of biology.
“I was very interested in this topic, and I feel lucky that Dr. Keeton worked with me,” she said.
Posted: Thu, April 8th, 2010 at 9:00AM