Southwest Student Research Funded by Virginia Space Grant Consortium

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Student researcher Caleb Fritz
Student researcher Caleb Fritz samples macroinvertebrates in Mudlick Creek in attempt to assess stream health. Through macroinvertebrate counting and identification, Mr. Fritz can calculate a metric describing overall stream health.

CEDAR BLUFF, VA – For the 2021 field season, Southwest Virginia Community College student researchers will have the unique opportunity to use drone technology in conjunction with NASA satellite imagery to assess stream health in our local southwest Virginia ecosystems. They will be measuring the potential impacts of both agricultural runoff and acid mine drainage. This project will give students valuable research and project management skills as well as a stipend. Students will learn using drone technology, traditional field research methods, laboratory analysis of samples, and robust statistical programs. Working closely with faculty, students will learn how to generate hypotheses, design experiments, collect field data, and manage and analyze data using statistical software. Having a paid research experience on a resume or CV will greatly enhance the value of students interested in transfer to another institution, graduate school, and future employment.  

This student-oriented research experience is made possible by grant funding from the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC). The VSGC is a coalition of five Virginia Universities, NASA, various educational agencies, and Virginia’s Center for Innovative Technology representing diverse aerospace interests. The goal is to create a service-learning experience for undergraduate students to enhance science, technology, engineering, and math education.