Exercise and sports science majors Jasmin Thompson and Janelle Roberts put a group of USC Aiken students through the YMCA bicycle exercise program to study palpated heart rate accuracy versus taking a normal EKG test.


The two presented their findings on Friday during USCA's annual Research Day – a day dedicated to revealing study results after a semester's worth of research.


Thompson and Roberts concluded studying heart rates through exercise has to be more safely monitored than taking an EKG.


“We've had classes on research, but it's a lot different applying it,” Thompson said. “There's a lot to take in, but I'm happy that we got here with a finished product.”


Thompson and Roberts were two of more than 30 students who participated in Research Day. Students partnered up and competed for bronze, silver and gold recognition by displaying their posters in the activities center lobby or providing oral presentations in the Student Activities Center Mezzanine.


USCA biology student Courtney Burckhalter took home the gold in the poster contest.


Burckhalter's poster presentation included developing a transposon, or a DNA sequence, into a tool to use for plants in order to discover new genes and understand their functions.


“Currently, we're still working on our data to analyze – because working with plants, you have to analyze multiple generations – so it takes some time,” she said. “But we've been able to greatly improve the transposition rate of mPing in plants.”


Dillon Gooding – a mathematics/computer science major – reported in October his decision to take on the tough task of calculating the probability of reaching a tie in a 16-hand game of bridge.


Gooding spent the entire time analyzing data and, on Research Day, he reported that the probability of reaching a tie is 0.25 percent, or once every 400 hands.


“Research Day gives us a lot of opportunities to see what everybody else is doing. because we're all pretty much huddled up in our separate departments and projects,” he said. “The fact that we can sit through 10-minute presentations and catch a glimpse of what everyone is doing is pretty cool.”


Executive Vice Chancellor Jeff Priest added, “One of the things I tell new students is that they'll have the opportunity to work with our staff on research. That is something we really take pride in, and it shows by all of the work our students have presented today.”


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard.