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Science on Display: Student Spotlight on Biology Major Emma Stock

This spotlight story originally appeared on Science on Display, a blog published by the Bellevue University Natural Science Center of Excellence.

This week we highlight our senior science student Emma Stock, who’s about to graduate this Spring with her Biology bachelor’s degree with a minor in chemistry!

Emma is currently finishing up her thesis with research on the genetics and genomics of endangered Shoal Chub (Macrhybopsis). She has been sequencing DNA from environmentally collected fish samples that have been preserved, with the purpose of performing a detailed phylogenetic and ecological study of these species. Since these samples have been preserved for several years, it is certainly a challenging task to obtain sufficient intact genomic DNA for Illumina high-throughput sequencing, but according to Emma, taking on these challenging subjects “helps build character”.

After many lengthy hours of DNA extraction from preserved native fish samples and library preps for genome sequencing, she successfully sequenced the complete mitochondrial genomes for three endangered Nebraska fish species. This will help with further preservation efforts and provide a better understanding of the evolution of these species. Besides her thesis project, Emma has also been working this past year as a lab research assistant on various soil and plant sequencing projects in the Bellevue University science labs. Emma is planning to present the results from her research at the Nebraska Academy of Sciences conference in April. 

In addition to her academic efforts, Emma also has had four successful years playing for the BU Women’s soccer team, where she functioned as team captain for the last year two years. Balancing academics and athletics can be challenging, but Emma has done a fantastic job of excelling in both!

Emma is continuing her education and passion for environmental science and has been accepted to the master's program in Environmental Studies at Evergreen State College. 

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