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Mo West Student Earns Summer Fellowship

For the second time in three years, a Missouri Western State University undergraduate biology student has earned a prestigious summer research fellowship from the American Society of Plant Biologists.

Missouri Western sophomore wildlife conservation and management major, and Savannah native, Alyka Zahnd has been awarded the American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Award for 2021. . The ASPB-SURF program provides support for summer research to only a handful of student applicants from all over the world.

Zahnd is working with associate professor of biology Dr. Csengele Barta on a project called “Offense and defense strategies in plants’ chemical warfare for resources and survival: Can native “heroes” rescue other native plant species, sensitive to allelopathic inhibition, triggered by highly competitive invasive species?”.

The ASPB-SURF grant, in the cumulative value of $6,000 will provide Zahnd summer salary, support for research consumables for the lab, membership for Zahnd to the American Society of Plant Biologists and funds to cover her attendance and research presentation at the 2022 Plant Biology Meeting in Portland, Oregon, presenting the results of research conducted in 2021.

Zahnd is the second Missouri Western undergraduate research student to secure one of these prestigious grants. Rachael Prawitz received the grant in 2018.


Zahnd is explaining her research to Dr. Elizabeth Kennedy, Missouri Western’s president

Zahnd is explaining her research to Dr. Crystal Harris, dean of the College of Science and Health


all photos provided by Missouri Western


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