Anna Kazarina, Lydia Batey earn first, second place at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences Meeting

The outstanding presentation prowess of two Alcorn State University students from the School of Agriculture and Applied Sciences resulted in big finishes at this year’s 82nd Mississippi Academy of Sciences Meeting.

Anna Kazarina, a senior, environmental science major from Bor, Russia, earned first place for her oral presentation, “Understanding Grass-Dark Septate Endophytic (DSE) Fungal Symbioses Using Non-Native Grass Host, Miscanthus Sinensis.” Her poster presentation, “Macromorphological and Micromorphological Diversity of Root-Associated Fungal Endophytes of Giant Miscanthus and Witchgrass,” won second place at the Meeting, which was held Feb. 22 and 23 at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Thad Cochran Convention Center in Hattiesburg.

Lydia Batey, a junior, plant and soil science major from Collins, Mississippi, earned the second place award for her oral presentation, “Fermentation Optimization and Nutritional Profiling using Red Yeast in Sweet Potatoes as a Feed Stock.” The pair of winners is very proud representatives of Alcorn who desire to see each other achieve success.

“I was very proud for Alcorn,” said Kazarina. “I was extremely proud of my lab mate and friend, Lydia. It was an honor to stand with her and receive congratulations and encouragement from others. We both put in lots of hard work into our research, and it all paid off.”

“Winning second place was humbling and confidence boosting,” said Batey. “It felt great to be praised for our hard work. It also felt great to root my friend Anna and the rest of my peers. At Alcorn, we are a team. It was an honor to cheer on those who I consider family.”

The students shared similar experiences during the Meeting. They enjoyed learning from others and forming relationships that could prepare them for the future.

“I really enjoyed talking to people from my field, and was very surprised that so many people are interested in microbial ecology. I just loved talking about my work and how people like myself can make a difference,” said Kazarina.

“Not only was I able to network with others, but I was also able to attain more knowledge about my field and how I can maximize my abilities to their full potential,” said Batey.