Honors Regina Javier received the Botanical Society of America Southeastern Section Student Poster Award in Plant Science for her research, “Ecophysiology of Differently Colored Leaves of Croton petra,” at the Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB) annual meeting held virtually in March 2021. Javier is a second-year senior who joined the Honors College in August 2019 as a first-year student. She is majoring in biology with a concentration in cellular/molecular biology, and plans to attend medical school after graduating.
The 2021 ASB conference was Javier’s first research presentation at an academic conference.
For other Honors students who are contemplating involvement in research and conference presentations, she advised,
“Advice I would give to others who are hoping to get involved in research is to make connections on campus! I was pointed to Dr. Neufeld's lab after talking to Dr. Vahlbusch about my interests in plant science. Lastly, you should always work on something you're passionate about.”
From her research experience, Javier explained, “Doing research has taught me about critical thinking as well as being purposeful with my techniques in understanding why I am doing it rather than just doing it out of common practice.” The research presented at the ASB meeting is related to the research Javier is currently working on for her Honors thesis. In her thesis, she further examines the ecophysiological aspects of color variegation building on existing literature and the results of her poster research. Dr. Howard Neufeld, professor in the Department of Biology, is her thesis director, and Dr. Keith Learn, lecturer in the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, is her second reader.
Dr. Neufeld is an Honors College faculty member and regularly teaches in the Honors College. He currently teaches the Honors seminar, HON 3515: Future of Human Civilization, which takes an interdisciplinary approach to his area of research. As Javier exemplifies in her research success, Honors seminars like Dr. Neufeld’s allow Honors students to explore different perspectives, and provide avenues through which Honors students find opportunities to connect with faculty mentors for research.
Top photo of Regina Javier submitted.