by Rachel Heston-Davis
Now, the adventure continues as Hannah and Logan publish a paper based on that research in the Journal of Chemical Education. Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Darrell Iler co-authored the piece.
The article, set to appear in an early 2020 issue of the monthly publication, reviews the team’s work on the project, which began as a small initiative testing a few Greenville-area water sources for levels of bacteria, metals, and pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs). The study expanded into a multi-year project in collaboration with county health departments throughout southern Illinois.
“I have been on the project since day one, and I never imagined the success we have had,” Frerker said. “I always thought that what we were doing was worthy of being published, but I didn’t know if it was ever going to happen.”
Neither Logan nor Hannah had written for a peer-reviewed journal before, but Hannah says their experience writing lab reports in science classes helped prepare them for formatting and reporting on their data.
“The hardest part about writing this paper has been waiting to hear back from editors,” she quips. The trio submitted the paper in early July 2019 and, after a round of requested revisions and resubmission, received word in mid-November of the paper’s acceptance.
“Hannah and Logan’s commitment and contributions to the success of the project cannot be over-stated,” said Iler. He credits them with excellent contributions to the design and development of the project, running analysis on the data, interpreting the data, and reporting results. “We would not have had enough quality data and results to publish without their extraordinary level of work.”
Publication in a peer-reviewed journal will certainly boost Hannah and Logan’s resumes. Logan is currently applying to Ph.D. programs, and Hannah will apply to medical school next year.
“It is not unheard of for undergraduates to be authors on peer-reviewed work,” Iler explained, “but doing and preparing scientific work for publication takes an enormous amount of time and effort, so it is not a common thing either.” This display of commitment and effort will help Hannah and Logan stand out in their pursuit of advanced degrees.
As graduate programs increasingly demand research experience from undergraduate applicants, that’s welcome news.
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