Chelcie Ferguson ('14 Biology)

Photo of Zoe VanderPloeg What do you do for your undergraduate research?

I assist Dr. Covi in his research on the effect of pesticides on the development of Artemia franciscana, more commonly known as brine shrimp.  We monitor the embryos during each stage of their development and observe the differences, or lack thereof, found in various treatments.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

I felt that undergraduate research would be a valuable experience.  It will give me pride in my field of study in my undergraduate career.  Also, it will provide me with a strong background in the laboratory setting, something very valuable in the workforce. 

How did you start your research project?

A friend of mine worked in Dr. Covi’s lab the semester before I started.  She told me about the research she was working on, and I found it interesting.  After contacting Dr. Covi, and shadowing my friend in the lab, I decided this was the work I wanted to do for my honors project.

Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.

I enjoy being in control of gathering and analyzing my own data.  I love the fact that my research can be applied on a broader scale, helping understand the effects of common pesticides and establishing brine shrimp as a developmental model. 

It isn’t required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

Research has been an amazing experience.  I have developed a new appreciation for laboratory work.  It is also a great way to learn to work as a team member.  You must be able to communicate with your professor, your fellow lab mates, and potentially even members of other labs.  Experience in the lab will, hopefully, also make me more marketable in my future career. 

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I received a CSURF grant to help in funding the purchase of supplies for my research.  I will also be graduating with university honors after writing and defending my honors thesis. 

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

After graduation, I plan to attend veterinary school.  I hope to one day practice veterinary medicine in a mixed practice and also help in conservation medicine and rehabilitation. 

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