PULLMAN, Wash. — The winners of the first Washington State University College of Sciences Undergraduate Research Poster Competition were announced at the conclusion of the event Tuesday (March 23) evening.

The first-place winner in the physical sciences, mathematics division, was Justin Murphy, a geology major from Pullman; second place went to Tyler Cumby, a physics major from Puyallup; and third place went to Julie Nearing, general science/chemistry major from Richland.

The top prize in the biological sciences division was won by molecular genetics and cell biology major Kathleen Bongiovanni from Fairbanks, Alaska. Rachel Britt, a biochemistry major from Lewiston, Idaho, and Anna Ballard, a biology major from Everett, tied for second. Third prize was awarded to Jacquelyn Ague, a microbiology major from Eagle River, Alaska.

In the interdisciplinary category, Laura Gillies, a chemistry major from Lynden, and Ann McEvoy, a biochemistry/physics major from Corvallis, Ore., each took first place. Math minor Brett Gyarfas from Spokane took second place.

Twenty-six students entered research posters in the competition. All winners were seniors. Associate professor of biosciences and mathematics Richard Gomulkiewicz, delivered a speech on bioinformatics, “Understanding the Genetics and Evolution of Complex Traits: A Research Synthesis of Biological Data, Mathematical Models, and Statistics.” The program also included introductions and presentation of awards by Michael Griswold, dean of sciences, and remarks by James Petersen, vice provost of research.

“A research poster competition is an excellent way to prepare science students to present their work to other scientists and at professional meetings,” Griswold said. “We are very pleased with the number of science majors who participated in our first competition and the quality of their work. We commend both the students and their mentors for their accomplishments.

“This program is a real demonstration of the kinds of research opportunities that are available for undergraduates in the laboratories of WSU’s top scientists. Research is truly a keystone experience in an undergraduate’s education,” he said.

Award winners received $450 for first place, $350 for second and $250 for third.