VFIC Grant Funds Student Science Research
Two Virginia Wesleyan students will present their science-related research this semester, conducted with funding from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC). Junior math and computer science major Michael Corder and senior biology major Jeffrey Illinik both received a VFIC Undergraduate Science Research Fellowship grant last summer, allowing them each a $2,000 stipend to conduct hands-on research under the supervision of a faculty member. Corder’s research, "Mathematica Computations of Gram Matrices in Lie Superalgebras," minimizes the time spent calculating and checking work on Gram Matrix construction and creates an environment within Mathematica where consistently reliable results are available and easy to use. His research was conducted under the supervision of Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Audrey Malagon and will be presented this month at Mercer University's Undergraduate Research Conference in Macon, Georgia. Illinik spent part of the summer in Belize conducting his research, "Food Choice of the Neotropical Harvestman Erginulus clavotibialis (Opilones: Laniatores: Cosmetidae)," which examines the country's harvestmen species, including potentially new species that are being examined under the College's scanning electron microscope. His research was conducted under the guidance of biology professors Dr. Maynard Schaus and Dr. Victor Townsend and will be presented in April at the Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists hosted by Marshall University in Charleston, West Virginia. VFIC is a nonprofit fundraising partnership supporting the programs and students of 15 leading private colleges in the Commonwealth, including Virginia Wesleyan. The organization has provided more than $300,000 to support summer undergraduate research programs at its member colleges.