Kate Trout Earns Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award at Southwestern Association of Parasitology Meeting
(Peru, Neb.) Peru State College (PSC) senior Kate Trout, a biological science major from Tecumseh, has received the Marc H. Dresden Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Research at the 44th annual meeting of the Southwestern Association of Parasitologists (SWAP) in Willis, Okla.
PSC President Dan Hanson said, “Providing our undergraduate students an opportunity to present their work at a professional conference is an example of Peru State College’s efforts to create unique opportunities for student engagement while also opening doors that will benefit their future careers. This award is a tribute to Kate’s hard work as well as that of the faculty in our outstanding science program.”
Trout’s presentation, Maintaining Gregarine Associations and Inducing Syzygy In Vitro, was the result of work she conducted assisting Biology Professor Dr. Richard Clopton as part of his National Science Foundation funded research.
Clopton said, “The Natural Science program at Peru State College is unique in that we aren’t just teaching science; we are turning our students into scientists. The difference is that one can acquire facts in any program, but our students develop the expert knowledge and experience of being scientists, of discovering the unknown and sharing that discovery with the regional and national scientific community. Kate is a great example. She came to Peru State as a student. She’s graduating as an experienced scientist.”
Trout collaborated with Clopton on his research of gregarines, which are microscopic parasites of insects, developing a technique for maintaining them outside of their host by creating a “glass-cockroach.” She used the new technique to study the effects of an anti-parasitic drug on the gregarine life cycle.
Clopton said, “It is an intelligent and creative piece of work that took Kate nearly two years of research to accomplish, but now we can use her technique in a wide range of future studies. Understanding the parasites of a cockroach gives us insight into some of the planet’s most devastating human diseases. Kate is one of the scientists providing that insight.”
Trout said, “The Natural Science Department at Peru State prepares students to be successful by helping cultivate minds to extrapolate and develop advanced thoughts. The field of science is always changing, so it’s important that students have the ability to apply concepts and make deductions in labs and through research. It’s a unique and valuable opportunity to have as an undergraduate.
“The PSC science program is exceptional not only because of the specific classes that are offered, but also because of the way instructors encourage us to engage intellectually and think critically - like a scientist. The knowledge I have acquired through my research is more than I could have ever expected in my undergraduate career. I am leaving Peru State as a motivated, inspired individual fully prepared for my future and excited to continue scientific research throughout my life.”
Trout, who graduated Cum Laude this May, plans to continue her education in biological or biomedical sciences, working toward a Ph.D. She is a member of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honor Society and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Prior to transferring to PSC from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Trout was a member of the Justin Morrill Smith Scholars Program, the Dean’s Scholars in Experiential Leadership (DSEL) program and the Biochemistry Club. Trout has been active in her community as a volunteer, mentor, tutor and fundraiser. She was selected Student Ambassador for the United States of America in Australia with the People to People President Eisenhower Foundation in 2005.
Trout is the daughter of Eric and Carla Trout of Tecumseh.