The Department of Biological Sciences announced their Departmental Outstanding Graduate and Undergraduate Excellence Award for students earning the B.S. degrees in Biology and Biomedical Science for the Fall of 2017. The Departmental Outstanding Graduate and recipient of the Undergraduate Excellence Award for the B. S. Degree in Biomedical Science was Brittany Stewart, from Forney, Texas. She is the daughter of Grady and Lisa Stewart. Currently, Brittany has a grade point average (GPA) of 3.82. She participated in a highly competitive summer research program in the Laboratory of Cellular Oncology at the National Institutes of Health located at the University of Texas Southwestern where she worked to further understanding of cancer caused by viruses. Brittany received a student research grant and student travel grant from Tarleton State University (TSU), which allowed her to participate in molecular virology research with Dr. Dustin Edwards for the past three years. She worked in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Wild Turkey Federation to conduct serological surveys to determine the prevalence of a retrovirus in game birds and used next generation sequence to determine the whole genome of this retrovirus in conjunction with Texas A&M Agrilife, and Dr. Jeff Brady. Brittany has represented TSU by presenting research at numerous meetings including the Texas Branch of the American Society for Microbiology where she was awarded the Sarah McIntire Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Oral Presentation. Brittany has been actively involved in the health pre-professional honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED) and served as the vice president in 2015 and the president in 2016. She was also selected as one of three students to participate in the AED Hospital Volunteer Applied Learning Experience Program created by Dr. Max Sanderford where she volunteered for 100 hours in the radiology department at the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Stephenville, Texas.
The recipient of the Undergraduate excellence award for the B. S. in Biology was Sarah Brown, from Boerne, Texas. She is the daughter of Jeffrey and Jane Brown. Currently, Sarah has a GPA of 3.97. During her time at TSU, she had a research internship for a high efficiency and native landscaping project at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT). She presented a paper discussing local museum research at the 2016 North Central Texas Phi Alpha Theta Conference and a poster at the 2017 Southwestern Association of Naturalists meetings. Sarah earned an internship in the TX-11 Washington, D.C. office sponsored by TSU and at the National Herbarium, which is associated with the National Museum of Natural History. She has worked as curator in the Tarleton Herbarium and was an active member, vice-president, and service chair in Phi Eta Sigma honor society. During her senior year at Tarleton, she has worked on a plant ecology research project with Dr. Allan Nelson and a project in plant physiology with Dr. John Calahan. She is currently working to submit research papers from her work at TSU and will be a co-author on research done at BRIT.