Two Hope College computer science majors are among a select group of students participating in this year's "Posters on the Hill" event organized by the Council on Undergraduate Research and taking place on Wednesday, April 25, in Washington, D.C.
Senior Paul Boillot of Fennville and junior Kevin Formsma of Zeeland are among approximately only 80 undergraduate students from across the nation chosen to participate in the event, which is being held at Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The participants were competitively chosen from just under 400 applicants.
Boillot and Formsma will present the results of their research in the field of bioinformatics, which blends computer science and molecular biology. Boillot and Formsma have developed tools to generate computer models of bacterial metabolism, which can be used to analyze how the bacteria may be useful for bioenergy production and toxic waste remediation.
"Posters on the Hill" offers students who have engaged in original research projects the opportunity to share their personal stories and the excitement of their discoveries with members of Congress and professional scientists. Students spend the day visiting the offices of their elected representatives and the large majority meet with one or more Representatives or Senators. The day concludes with a poster session attended by members of Congress, their staffs, and personnel from federal funding agencies. This year the Council on Undergraduate Research and the American Chemical Society are collaborating by jointly hosting CUR's Posters on the Hill and ACS's Public Service Award. ACS will be honoring Rueben Hinojosa (D-TX), David Hobson (R-OH), and Dr. Ralph Cicerone, director of the National Academies of Science.
CUR is a national professional association representing faculty and administrators at nearly 1,000 academic institutions. CUR, along with governmental and private partners, facilitates collaborative research by students and their faculty mentors. CUR works to provide students with a wide range of opportunities to learn science by doing it, and provides faculty with opportunities to integrate research into their teaching.