Local Biochemistry Student Receives National Recognition

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A local senior in biochemistry has received national recognition for COVID-19 research.

The Youngstown State University Student, Kira Bowman, presented her project titled “Extracting COVID-19 Virus (SARS-CoV-2) from Excrement,” in Dallas this month. Her research placed second out of 178 academic posters from around the world, presented in the Environmental Sciences category at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference (NCHC).

The research for the project stemmed from an Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease and Control program to detect the virus in the wastewater of five YSU campus residence halls.

Bowman, a graduate of Mathews High School, was one of nine students in the YSU Sokolov Honors College who attended this year’s conference.

During the past four years of her College experience, Bowman has also volunteered more than 500 hours in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, the Pen Pals Program in the Honors College and the annual Guinathon fundraiser.

“Kira is a true role model of an undergraduate researcher and a most valuable member of our laboratory family,” said Chet Cooper, professor of biology and Bowman’s advisor on the research. “Her work ethic is impeccable and her enthusiasm for research is infectious.”

Samples for the project were taken twice a week and were used to predict COVID-19 cases in residence hall students and for related mediation procedures.

In the last 10 years, YSU students have been recipients of five awards for research, a top award for community engagement and two awards for honors publications, the university said.

“NCHC is an inspiring event that allows you to step outside of the box and open your mind to the outstanding things your peers are doing around the nation,” said Emily Vo, senior biology major who also presented at the conference.

Amy Cossentino, dean of the Sokolov Honors College, said students are able to gain a lot from the experience.

“To be recognized at the national level is a testament to their preparation, as well as the dedication of the faculty mentors who guided their learning,” she said.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.