Student Presents Research at International Conference

Student Presents Research at International Conference

Student Presents Research at International Conference
From left: Dr. Dale Hoff, Stefan Petersen, Derek Simonsen and Dr. Melinda Coogan. 

Buena Vista University student Derek Simonsen, a senior biology major from Quimby, was selected among only a handful of undergraduate students to present research at last month's Seventh Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) World Congress/Thirty Seventh SETAC North American Annual Meeting in Orlando, Fla.

"It was a great feeling to learn that my research had been accepted to stand alongside the presentations of over 2,000 students and professional scientists from over 40 countries," said Simonsen.

Simonsen began research for his presentation entitled "Evidence of DDT Resuspension Through Dredging of a Midwest Agricultural Lake System" in 2014 with the support of Dr. Melinda Coogan, associate professor of biology. "It was nice to see that several years of work finally paid off and that I got to be a part of this great experience," said Simonsen.

Also in attendance were Dr. Dale Hoff, Class of 1991, and Stefan Petersen, Class of 2012. Hoff is the director at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mid-Continent Ecology Division, Office of Research and Development in Duluth, Minn. Petersen, who also presented at the conference, is a graduate student at Georgia Southern University.

This past summer, Simonsen interned at Hoff's research site with the financial support of a Greater Research Opportunities Undergraduate Fellowship he received in February from the U.S. EPA. Simonsen was one of only 30 students from throughout the country selected to receive the fellowship.

"It was great reconnecting with Dr. Dale Hoff," added Simonsen. "He is an amazing person and a perfect example of what someone can accomplish with a BVU education."

Coogan said, "It was a very proud moment for those of us with BVU connections to see the impact our current and past students are making on a global scale. Our University may be located in a small region of the United States, but the influences of our educational and research opportunities are reaching the entire world."

After finishing his undergraduate degree in May 2017, Simonsen plans to enter into a doctorate program and focus on environmental chemistry or aquatic toxicology.