Villanova Environmental Science Student Wins Outstanding Student Poster at Major Academic Conference

Devin Smith '17

Devin Smith ’17 CLAS, received the Outstanding Student Poster Award in the Environmental and Engineering Division Geology Student Research Competition at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America on September 25, 2016 in Denver. 

An Environmental Science major, Devin was a Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellow this summer—earning support from the University for her research on establishing a relationship between historical land use change and precipitation patterns on the annual growth of corals from Guánica Bay, Puerto Rico. The GSA is one of the major international conferences in the natural and physical sciences, with about 15,000 attendees annually.

“Undergraduate research is the centerpiece of our undergraduate majors, and it is gratifying to see one of our students excel like this,” said Francis Galgano, PhD, chair of the Department of Geography and the Environment, which is housed in Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “More than that, is it typical of the longstanding tradition of student-professor research partnerships that defines the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.”

Devin’s poster, Evaluating the Relationship Among Land Use Change, Sediment and Nutrient Export, with Nearshore Coral Health in Southwestern Puerto Rico, was the result of fieldwork she conducted this summer in Puerto Rico under the direction of faculty mentors Steven Goldsmith, PhD and Lisa Rodrigues, PhD.

“This speaks well of Devin’s research and the mentorship offered by Dr. Goldsmith and Dr. Rodrigues,” Dr. Galgano said. “The GSA is one of the leading conferences in the country, and she competed against graduate students from top programs in the field, which makes her achievement all the more satisfying.”

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences:  Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world.  With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

Media Contact

Jennifer Schu

Director of Communications, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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