Berea College Faculty and Students Garner Awards

Dr. Ralph Thompson, recently retired Berea College professor of botany, and 45 Berea College students received awards at the recent 2014 Kentucky Academy of Sciences (KAS) symposium in Lexington.

Dr. Thompson was awarded the “Distinguished College/University Scientist Superlative Award” at the recent Kentucky Academy of Science (KAS) symposium. Dr. Thompson has the distinction of being the first faculty member from a private college ever to be given this award.

Thompson served as professor of biology at Berea from 1994 until his retirement. He also was curator of the Berea College Herbarium since 1980. Thompson received funding for numerous undergraduate research projects and published more than 50 articles and abstracts during his career. His research includes a project that studied the flora and vegetation of drastically disturbed lands and natural areas of Kentucky. He also conducted researched on mistletoe in Kentucky, finding it 119 of the Commonwealth’s 120 counties. In 1993, he received the Seabury Award for Excellence in Teaching (Berea College’s highest faculty award). Thompson earned his M.A. in Biology from Southwest Missouri State University in 1975, and his Ph.D. in Botany from Southern Illinois University in 1980.

During the symposium, 45 Berea students presented their research findings, either with posters or oral presentations, with 18 being awarded a prize, as follows:

Agricultural Sciences

Leah Peng – 1st Place Poster Competition (Ron Rosen)

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Alyssa Hubbard –3rd Place Oral Competition (Mayo Clinic, Mentor Chella David)

Chemistry: Analytical/Physical

Pyae Phyo –1st Place Oral Competition (Jay Baltisberger)

Kyaw Hpone Myint – 3rd Place Poster Competition (Jay Baltisberger)

Chemistry: Organic/Inorganic

Michael McCann – 2nd Place Oral Competition (Johns Hopkins University, Mentor Thomas Lectka)

Andrew Norris – 1st Place Poster Competition (Matt Saderholm)

Anthony Boateng – 2nd Place Poster Competition (University of Louisville, Mentor Gerald B. Hammond)

Ecology and Environmental Science

Michon Martin –1st Place Oral Competition (Roy Scudder-Davis)

Michael Oxendine – 2nd Place Oral Competition (Paul Smithson)

Health Sciences

Sheniqua Austin –3rd Place Poster Competition (St. Georges University, London, Mentor Yangmin Hu)

Physiology and Biochemistry

Chi Peng –2nd Place Oral Competition (Vanderbilt University, Mentors Christopher Cummings & Billy Hudson)


Sophia Al-Maamary – 1st Place Poster Competition (Dave Porter)

Science Education

Kaitlyn Reasoner –1st Place Poster Competition (Megan Hoffman)

Willie Gosnell – 2nd Place Poster Competition (Sarah Blank)

Chioma Amaechi – 1st  Place Oral Competition (Sarah Blank and Judith Weckman)

Yungpeng Xia – 2nd  Place Oral Competition (Sarah Blank and Judith Weckman)


Hanna Abe & Kidist Ashami –2nd Place Poster Competition (Ron Rosen)

Lauren Ballou –2nd Place Oral Competition (Ron Rosen)

Categories: News, People, Places
Tags: Kentucky Academy of Science, Ralph Thompson, science

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College admits only academically promising students with limited financial resources, primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia, although students come from 40 states and 70 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally-recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly, earning money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.