Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Betts

Ryan BettsRyan Betts is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He began his higher education with a love of math, physics, and problem-solving; and through his coursework, he found new interests in computer-aided design and additive manufacturing.

In his junior year at YSU, Ryan began working as a lab assistant in the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) under his mentors, Dr. Brett Conner and lab manager Jay Wargacki. He used this position to enhance his classroom knowledge and to gain real-world experience for his future career.

Ryan now works as a design engineer under Dr. Kirk Rogers in the Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA) at General Electric in Pittsburgh, PA.

“As a design engineer, I am responsible for designing functional mechanical parts to be printed on the several 3D printers we have at our site,” he said. “We are capable of 3D printing parts out of several polymers, sands, and metal alloys, each possessing their own unique challenges in the design phase.”

During his senior year, Ryan had expressed to Dr. Conner his interest in GE’s CATA, but he knew there were no available positions. Through some networking and determination, he was hired just before graduation when a position became available.

Ryan gave a little bit of advice to YSU STEM students so that they can find opportunities like he did:

“My advice to STEM freshmen would be to get involved with internships, on-campus employment, and/or research as soon as possible. These are great ways to enhance your skillsets and make your resume stand out to potential employers! I didn’t do myself any favors by keeping my high school job into my first two years of college and neither will you.

To the seniors, don’t wait until May to start looking for a full-time job or graduate school. It’s never too early to start networking with professionals or interviewing for positions you want to secure upon graduation. At this point, setting up and preparing for interviews/universities should be considered just as important as completing projects or studying for exams.”

You don’t have to be an engineer, or even a STEM student, to apply this advice to your own education and career options. It’s never too early to start networking and planning, just like Ryan said. You never know what kind of opportunity will open up if you prepare and wait for it.

Recent Publication: Dr. Jack Min & Dr. Feng Yu

Dr. Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Associate Professor in Biological Science, in collaboration with Dr. Feng Yu, Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Information Systems published a research article in Current Plant Biology in July 2017.

 

Title: “Comparative landscape of alternative splicing in fruit plants”

Authors: G Sablok, B Powell, J Braessler, F Yu F, XJ Min

 

Abstract:

Alternative splicing (AS) has played a major role in defining the protein diversity, which could be linked to phenotypic alternations. It is imperative to have a comparative resolution of AS to understand the pre-mRNAs splicing diversity. In the present research, we present a comparative assessment of the AS events in four different fruit plants including apple (Malus domestica), grape (Vitis vinifera), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), and woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), using spliced mapping of the expressed sequence tags and mRNA sequences. We identified a total of 2039 AS events in apple, 2454 in grape, 1425 in orange, and 631 in strawberry, respectively. In this study grape displayed the maximum number of genes (1588) associated with the splicing, followed by apple (1580), orange (1133) and strawberry (444). Transcripts mapping analysis shows that grape plant has relatively larger intron sizes than introns in other fruit species. The data provide a basis for further functional characterization of the genes undergoing AS and can be accessed at Plant Alternative Splicing Database (http://proteomics.ysu.edu/altsplice/plant/).

Full article link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214662817300439

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi FellowshipJenna Wise has been awarded a Fellowship worth $5,000 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Wise is one of 57 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.

Wise received bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from Youngstown State University. As a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, she will pursue a Ph.D. in software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jenna was also recently awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation, which you can read about here. She was also one of the two Goldwater Scholars chosen from YSU last year along with Andrew Morgan. More information on that can be found at YSU News.

Since its creation in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of the Society’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $345,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. Currently, 51 Fellowships of $5,000 and six of $15,000 are awarded each year.

The selection process for a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

In addition to the Fellowship Program, the Society awards $1.4 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through study abroad grants, dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897. Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

Alumni Spotlight: Michael Bellas

Michael BellasMichael Bellas graduated from YSU in May with a major in chemistry and minor in geology. He actually changed majors three times before finding his place in the chemistry department.

While at YSU, Michael made the most of the resources available to him. He worked on quite a bit of research with Dr. Genna and presented at YSU’s QUEST, the Pennsylvania-Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society at Westminster College, and the University of Akron’s Ohio Inorganic Weekend.

Interdisciplinary research is emphasized in the STEM College at YSU, and Michael has firsthand experience in this kind of research.

“This research often involved collaboration between departments (Chemistry, Physics, and Geology) as well as local industry, notably the Materials Research Laboratory in Struthers,” said Michael.

Michael was also very involved outside of the classroom, claiming membership in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the YSU student chapter of the American Chemical Society (treasurer). He also worked on campus in the Center for Student Progress.

Currently Michael is interning at the University of Michigan in Dr. Melanie Sanford’s lab. In the fall he will begin working toward his PhD from the University of Michigan while undoubtedly pursuing more research opportunities.

“I am not really sure what I will do after that- whether I’ll end up in academia or industry,” said Michael. “I just want to do chemistry and have fun, that’s about the most honest answer I can give you!”

While reflecting on his time at YSU, Michael explains that he was given the best opportunities because the size of the STEM College is just right.

“The STEM program is large enough that I had access to the very same equipment being used at top 10 universities, like Columbia and Northwestern, yet small enough that the faculty could give me the hands on attention that fostered my success,” said Michael.

Check out Michael’s first publication in Inorganic Chemistry!

Michael K. Bellas, Joseph J. Mihaly, Matthias Zeller, and Douglas T Genna, “Anion-Cation Mediated Structural Rearrangement of 3-Dimensional Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks,” Inorganic Chemistry 2017, 56, 950-955.

Transforming the Future: Chemistry Graduate is Princeton-Bound

Tyler PabstTyler Pabst is a recent graduate from YSU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.

A truly dedicated student, Tyler has been heavily involved in the Honors College and has also served as a trustee and treasurer for the University Scholars Program. Working in the Center for Student Progress and volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations in Youngstown further enriched his experiences during his time at YSU.

“I started college as a Biology major with the intent to go to medical school,” said Tyler, “but when I took organic chemistry the summer following my freshman year, I really fell in love with it and started thinking about becoming a scientist.”

After committing to chemistry, Tyler immediately became involved with Dr. Genna’s research group. This research led him to present results as far as Seattle, and he hopes to publish a full paper soon. Though his research was quite distinct from most of the other research in Dr. Genna’s group, it has left an impact.

“My work has also given rise to some new project ideas that the group will pursue in the future,” said Tyler.

Tyler will be attending Princeton in the fall to begin working on his PhD. He aspires to become a professor and lead his own research groups. For now he continues to work in the lab on organometallics research that may lead to publishing an in-depth paper.

Many YSU STEM students have expressed surprise and gratitude toward the availability of professors and research opportunities for undergraduate students, and Tyler is no exception.

“I think it was very valuable that, even as a 19-year-old undergrad who didn’t yet fully understand what I was doing, I could be trusted to just dive in to research,” said Tyler. “I think we’re in a sweet spot in terms of resources and accessibility of those resources.”

This commentary from Tyler sums it all up:

“I’ve thought recently about how I, as a high school senior who committed to YSU because it was my cheapest option, would react to the idea that I was headed to Princeton for a PhD in chemistry.  In all honesty, I did not expect to grow as much as I have in these four years, or to get such a world-class education, or to be in the position that I find myself in now.  I consider myself fortunate to be a YSU penguin at the best time ever to be one.  Our chemistry department is sending recent graduates to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Princeton this summer for PhDs.  I have friends going into engineering doctoral programs at UC-Berkeley and Yale, and still others working for Tesla, GE, and Google.  I’m so excited to see the amazing things YSU students do for years to come; I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re trending upward.”

We at YSU STEM congratulate Tyler on his accomplishments, wish him the best at Princeton, and look forward to hearing about his future successes.

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded NSF Fellowship

Jenna WiseJenna Wise, a recent computer science and mathematics graduate, has been awarded a 2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 2,000 STEM students nationwide were awarded out of a pool of more than 13,000 applicants.

The fellowship program recognizes students for their academic efforts while pursuing a research-based, graduate-level degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Jenna’s name may sound familiar to many because of her strong presence here at YSU:

  • Webmaster and former president of Pi Mu Epsilon
  • President and former vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery–Women
  • Tutor at the Mathematics Assistance Center
  • Student researcher in the Software Engineering Research and Empirical Studies Laboratory (CSIS Department under Dr. Sharif)
  • 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient
  • Author and co-author of several math and computer science publications

With many activities and accomplishments under her belt, Jenna has already compiled an impressive resume through all of her hard work.

She has worked on NSF-funded research in the past, including her eye-tracking research with Dr. Sharif which was also the basis of her senior project.

Jenna is spending her summer as an intern for IBM Research before attending Carnegie Mellon University for her PhD studies in the fall.

Check out this article from YSU News to read more about Jenna and her award.

View details about the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program here.

Internship Experience: Taylor Simcox

The College of STEM at Youngstown State University focuses a lot of time and energy on promoting internships and hands-on experience for its students. The students gain valuable knowledge through this work because it is more than just an extension of their education. Taylor Simcox, a recent civil engineering graduate, explained the importance of her internship experience with us.

Taylor interned at Union Metal Corporation in Canton, Ohio, starting in the fall of 2015. The primary focus of her job was designing poles that support traffic lights.

“Designing poles sounded like the most boring job on the planet and to be completely honest, I didn’t know poles required engineering,” said Taylor, thinking back on her first impressions of the job.

She had expected to be given intern-level responsibilities at Union Metal. After all, she was an undergraduate student working as a part-time, temporary employee. As time went by, Taylor learned and grew with the company, taking on a bigger role and handling more responsibilities.

“In the spring I was assigned my own state, meaning I would handle all calculations and drawings that came through for the state of New York,” she said. “This was usually reserved for full-time, experienced engineers.”

She continued to grow within the company, working hard and taking on more responsibilities as a professional engineer.

Taylor accepted a full-time position at Union Metal in June 2016, just before graduating in August. She plans to continue her education in the near future by pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

At YSU STEM, student success is a big deal. We’d like to congratulate Taylor and wish her well for the future, and we’d like to leave you with a bit of advice from her:

“You have to express how you feel to your superiors. If you feel like you’re not getting enough work or if the work isn’t challenging enough, tell them. Show interest and ask questions, bug the right people for more responsibilities, and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t old enough or in the correct class level to apply for an internship.”

Taylor with concrete canoe

Staff Spotlight: Jonathan Kelly

Jonathan KellyJonathan Kelly is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. As of November 2016, he’s back at YSU working with Drs. Brett Conner and Hazel Marie.

Earlier in 2016, it was announced that YSU would be partnering with the Air Force and other research centers to work on a grant-funded project involving additive manufacturing. With this new project came the need for additional personnel.

Jonathan is a project leader, meaning he works more behind-the-scenes than hands-on. With research and paperwork making its way back and forth between organizations and facilities, someone needs to be there to organize everything and help coordinate so that the project runs smoothly. He is here to assist Dr. Conner from an administrative view on this project.

Since earning his degree, Jonathan has worked as a quality engineer and as a quality and safety manager. This project will give him the opportunity to gain more experience while working on earning his MBA. He also works as a real estate agent on the side.

Jonathan Kelly is here for the duration of the project, ending in March 2019. For more information on the grant-funded project, read these resources from The Business Journal, WKBN, and the Tribune Chronicle.

STEM Expo & Meet the Employers

STEM Expo

Every spring and fall semester, STEM Professional Services organizes a career fair of sorts for all STEM students. In the past only internships and co-ops for current students were the focus of the expo, but this semester debuted the new Expo. Beginning fall 2016, the STEM Expo is now available to STEM students and alumni for internships, co-ops, and full-time positions.

Because of this expansion, the Expo has become bigger than ever. The Fall 2016 STEM Expo saw more than 600 students meet with 65 companies to discuss employment options. With so much interest and involvement, the Expo is expected to grow even more in the future and possibly require a larger venue.

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Meet the Employers

STEM Leadership Society coordinated with STEM Professional Services to host the Meet the Employers event. Mike Hripko, Associate Vice President for Research, moderated a panel consisting of representatives from Goodyear, Vallourec, Pearne & Gordon LLP, and the Cafaro Company. The panel members were invited to discuss their companies and explain what they look for in an applicant, and questions from the audience followed.

Representatives from other companies joined in a round table discussion where students could ask about the companies and the employers could get a sense of what the students were looking for as well. Companies involved were Tech Corps, MS Consultants, Progressive, Simmers Crane Design & Services, and Mercy Health.

Around 30 students attended this first-ever Meet the Employers, but STEM Leadership Society is eager to host more of them as a regular event in the future with more involvement from both students and employers.

Fall 2016 STEM Expo

The STEM Professional Services office in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics hosts the semi-annual Fall 2016 STEM Expo on Thursday, October 6, 2016, from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University.

Employers fromprivate, non-profit, and government sectors are invited to participate in the event to recruit and fill available internship/co-op and full-time/entry-level science, technology, engineering and mathematic positions. Employers can register here until Friday, September 30, 2016, or until registration is filled to participate in the event. Currently there are more than 60 employers registered for the event

The Expo is open to all current STEM students and STEM alumni who are either seeking an internship/co-op for the upcoming year or a full-time/entry level position.  The Expo is a great opportunity to build awareness about your organization, to learn more about student dynamics, and to potentially connect with faculty in various academic departments.

For more information, call the STEM Professional Services office at 330-941-2151.

Stem Logo

Alumni Spotlight: Janet Gbur

Janet GburJanet Gbur, a Youngstown State University alumna and a current Case Western Reserve University doctoral candidate, is certainly making waves in the STEM community.

Though still pursuing a degree, she is very active in research and real-world experience.

“As an active member of ASTM International, I participated in the development of a test standard that relates to my dissertation work and I sit on several committees that create and maintain standards for metallurgy, fatigue and fracture, mechanical testing, and medical devices,” said Janet.

Her dissertation focuses on the effects of material purity on the fatigue and fracture of wires used in biomedical applications.

“Perhaps the most exciting and rewarding work is related to a project under PI Dustin Tyler in Biomedical Engineering,” said Janet. “His group is working on restoring the sense of touch to amputees through a unique neural interface system.”

Janet’s role in this project is to develop tests and evaluate the materials and mechanics to ensure quality and functionality for implantation. This requires knowledge of several disciplines, including materials science and mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering.

She has been published twice this year, once with Daniela Solomon and once with John J. Lewandowski, her doctoral advisor. You can read about the publications here.

Janet holds a BS in Biology from Kent State University, a BS in Materials Engineering and MSE in Mechanical Engineering from YSU. After she completes her doctorate at CWRU, she plans to continue her research and eventually teach at the university level.

“The most important part of my YSU STEM education was the early introduction to lab coursework and emphasis on fundamentals across all core engineering disciplines,” said Janet. “Strong mentorship from faculty Bob McCoy, Dan Suchora, and Hazel Marie helped to keep me focused and provide a solid academic foundation from which I could confidently pursue a doctoral degree and chart a career in research and academia.”

Recent Publications: Janet Gbur

Promoting Technical Standards Education in Engineering
2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Abstract:

The United States Standards Strategy, the framework developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to guide the U.S. standards system, recognizes the need for standards education programs as a high priority and recommends initiatives that address the significance and value of standards. To this intent, a novel workshop was developed in partnership with the library and the School of Engineering to raise the level of awareness of technical standards and standards usage on campus. The effort was a result of a campus-wide collaboration that provided a low-cost method of introducing technical standards and providing a foundation to develop a series of online tools accessible to the campus community. The event featured guest speakers representative of six major national and international standards bodies in addition to faculty, staff and students. The panels provided discussions on the background of the various types of standards and industries impacted, the development and implementation of these documents, the ways in which students and faculty can become more familiar with these documents and the benefit to becoming actively involved with standards organizations. The presentations and question-and-answer sessions provided a venue to learn about technical standards and to talk about ways to improve standards education within the campus community. The event was well received as shown by strong attendance and follow up to online materials continues to show activity five months following the event. This paper summarizes the implementation of the workshop, its impact, and strategies to further improve standards education on campus.

Fatigue and fracture of wires and cables for biomedical applications
International Materials Reviews

Abstract:

Fine wires and cables play a critical role in the design of medical devices and subsequent treatment of a large array of medical diagnoses. Devices such as guide wires, catheters, pacemakers, stents, staples, functional electrical stimulation systems, eyeglass frames and orthodontic braces can be comprised of wires with diameters ranging from 10s to 100s of micrometres. Reliability is paramount as part of either internal or external treatment modalities. While the incidence of verified fractures in many of these devices is quite low, the criticality of these components requires a strong understanding of the factors controlling the fracture and fatigue behaviour. Additionally, optimisation of the performance and reliability of these devices necessitates characterisation of the fatigue and fracture properties of its constituent wires. A review of cable architecture and stress states experienced during testing is followed by an overview of the effects of changes in material composition, microstructure, processing and test conditions on fracture and fatigue behaviour of wire and cable systems used in biomedical applications.The review concludes with recommendations for future work.

Making a Difference: Eighth Annual STEM Awards Dinner

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The eighth annual YSU STEM College Awards Dinner took place on Wednesday, February 17th, 2016. In attendance were students, faculty, alumni, and community partners to celebrate past and future achievements in STEM.

YSU is proud to have honored the following:

Outstanding Young Alumnus: Bijan Hosseininejad, B&W Engineering, Research and Operation Team Leader
Outstanding Young Alumnus: Jared Bilas, Product Design Engineer, MAC Trailer & Assistant Professor, Mount Union
Outstanding Alumnus: John Hamley, Director of NASA Space Flight Systems
Outstanding Community Partner: Drew Hirt, President and Senior Scientist, Materials Research Laboratory
Outstanding Educational Partner: OH WOW! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology
Intern of the Year: Kyle Spickler, Senior Electrical Engineering Major
Co-op Student of the Year: Hailey Sullivan, Junior Chemical Engineering Major

 

Read the full bios of the honorees here.

What does a civil engineer do?

In a series of articles, YSU STEM will take you through some of the most complex jobs out there. We will explore the hows, whys, and wheres of these jobs. For this second article, we will take a look at civil engineers.

Civil engineers create the framework for our world, literally. Civil engineers deal with the design and construction of important structures that we come into contact with every day. The road you drove on to get to class today is there thanks to a civil engineer. But civil engineering is more than just roads, bridges and buildings.

Mark McDonough

Mark McDonough

Mark McDonough, YSU STEM graduate in engineering and current Civil Engineering Project Manager in the Telecommunications Division for the GPD Group in Akron, talked with us and told us exactly what he does with his engineering degree.

As a project manager, Mark oversees many other engineers who provide services to clients, such as site audits, design work and construction drawings.

“In the Telecom division of GPD Group, we ensure that all the various cellular carriers, local municipalities, tower owners and building owners receive top notch designs and structural analysis of their facilities,” Mark said. “Another component of my day to day work is developing strong client relationships.”

Mark said YSU was critical to his growth as an engineer.

“Not only does my education stack up with that of my peers, I find that my critical thinking and desire to continually learn was developed excellently,” Mark said. “Throughout my career, I have been excited to take on new tasks or role[s] and [have] been able to learn and adapt well thanks to my Youngstown State education.”

Being a civil engineer is starting to sound like a great career choice, but let’s go a little further. Many people and future employers will encourage you to pursue a graduate degree, but don’t worry, it will pay off. In 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that civil engineers in Ohio have a mean wage of $75,930. Not only does the pay look good, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 20 percent increase in civil engineering jobs by 2022; that’s almost 54,000 more jobs!

If there is a career or job you would like to see covered, don’t hesitate to let us know. We want to know what you want to read about, so shoot us an email, and we will get to work! You can read the first article of this series here.

Students study sloths in Costa Rica

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Ever wondered how sloths hang upside down in trees for such long periods of time? Or how it is that sloths can climb so high, and yet move so slow? Dr. Michael Butcher, of the Department of Biological Sciences, has pondered these questions and is attempting to answer them by researching the specialized anatomy of the brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus). These animals are somewhat rare in the wild, and having the opportunity to study their muscles is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Butcher and his students.

Dr. Butcher traveled to The Sloth Sanctuary in Penshurst-Limon, Costa Rica, on May 26 accompanied by his graduate student, Dylan Thomas, his undergraduate research assistant, Zachary Glenn, and former graduate student, Rachel Olson (YSU 2013). The team collaborated with Rebecca Cliffe, a British zoologist who has dedicated her life to studying these primitive mammals and has been featured on Discovery Channel’s “Meet the Sloths”.

“It was a once in a lifetime trip to work with the sloths and venture into the jungle with some of the most diverse wildlife on the planet,” Dylan said. “It was such a culture shock going from living in the city and waking up with an alarm clock to living in the jungle and waking up to Howler Monkeys securing their territory at sunrise around 4:30 [or] 5 a.m.”

The trip proved to be highly productive, and together they performed several experiments evaluating the strength of sloths, including detailed dissections of their limb anatomy to allow for quantifications of muscle force and power and bone stress.

“Sloths are very unique in their movement and behavior because of their very slow movement through the trees. Sloths are thought to be weak because of this and their small muscles, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth,” Dylan said. “Sloths are able to suspend their entire body weight hanging from one limb for long periods of time and have unbelievable grip strength. Sloths can produce an incredible amount of force for how ‘wimpy’ their muscles are, in fact if you were to arm-wrestle a sloth, the sloth would win every time!”

Dr. Butcher and his team also harvested muscle tissue to determine the distributions of slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscles in their limbs, and how these collective muscle properties relate to their ability to ‘walk’ while hanging beneath tree branches. These tissue-type analyses will be conducted in his laboratory at YSU.

“Each day was an early start to get a jump on the dissections because each limb took approximately 10 to 12 hours to gather measurements and collect muscle samples,” Dylan said.

In addition, Butcher was able to biopsy fresh tissue from their heart, liver, and kidneys for a future project that will map out their genome. The outcomes of all of these studies will provide answers to numerous questions about the unusual biology of sloths. Perhaps most importantly, assembling a set of anatomical and genomic characteristics from three-toed sloths will allow Dr. Butcher to further test hypotheses surrounding the evolution of mammals.

Sloths are members of an assemblage of ancient placental mammals known as Xenarthrans, and knowledge of their emergence is important to understanding how and when other placental mammals like humans evolved.

“I took a lot from this trip, not only from the collected data but also from the personal experience. I realized all of the opportunities that research could bring and how much of the jungle is unknown,” Dylan said. “In the future, I would like to travel back down to Central American and do more research because it’s an area with infinite knowledge, not only for studying muscle anatomy and physiology but also possible treatments for clinical disease.”