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HPU students attend annual Texas Academy of Science research conference

BROWNWOOD – March 24, 2022 – Nine Howard Payne University students attended the annual Texas Academy of Science (TAS) research conference held at the University of Houston at Clear Lake. Two HPU seniors, Kaitlyn Drewniok of Willis and Madison Marzullo of Frisco, showcased their research. TAS is a state research conference showcasing student research done by undergraduate and graduate students across Texas.

Drewniok, a biology major, presented a research poster on her senior project, “Comparison of Bacteria Growth in Different Dog Bowls.” Marzullo, who majors in biology and the Guy D. Newman Honors Academy, presented research on “Mycoremediation with Pleurotus ostreatus and Pluteus cervinus.” Marzullo’s presentation won first place in her division of Conservation Ecology, which came with a cash prize of $100.

Marzullo plans to attend graduate school after graduation in the field of conservation ecology.

“Attending the TAS conference was such a great experience,” Marzullo said. “I loved getting to hear so many people talk about the things they are passionate about. It was so cool to share what I was researching too. I am thrilled to have participated and to have represented Howard Payne.”

Other students who attended the event were Brandon Diaz, biomedical science major from Crosby; Kailyn Duffey, biology major from Buda; Antonio Flores-Hoops, biology major from Killeen; Taylor Jefferis, biology and Honors Academy major from Pampa; Cynthia Montalvo, biomedical science and Honors Academy major from Bossier City, Louisiana; Ethan Straach, biomedical science major from Coleman; and Samantha Tompkins, biomedical science major from Blanket. The students attended oral presentations and viewed student research posters around the conference.

Dr. Kristen Hutchins, professor of biology and department chair, expressed how impressed she was with the students’ hard work.

“In seeing all the excellent work done around the state, I was proud to know that our students were not only able to compete, but to come out on top,” said Dr. Hutchins. “They are well-trained, professional and prepared for the future, whatever they choose to do.”

A highlight of the trip was a stop at the Museum of Natural Science while travelling back from the conference. Students were able to explore the Body Worlds exhibit, the Butterfly Center and the Ramses the Great exhibit.


Photo #1: Madison Marzullo is pictured with her senior research presentation, which won first place in the division of Conservation Ecology at the Texas Academy of Science (TAS) research conference.

Photo #2: Nine HPU students attended the annual Texas Academy of Science (TAS) research conference. Pictured from left to right are Taylor Jefferis, Madison Marzullo, Kaitlyn Drewniok, Antonio Flores-Hoops, Samantha Tompkins, Cynthia Montalvo, Ethan Straach, Kailyn Duffey and Brandon Diaz.