Indiana State University Newsroom

Senior invited to present research in Washington D.C.

April 21, 2010

An Indiana State University senior presented his oceanographic research during the Council of Undergraduate Research's "Posters on the Hill" reception.

Ron Taylor, a geology major from West Terre Haute, was one of 75 undergraduate researchers chosen nationwide to present at the April 13 conference. The students spoke about their research to members of Congress, congressional staff members and federal government officials.

"I was honored," Taylor said about being selected from the 300 students that applied. "To be honest, I was surprised."

Taylor presented his research on "Using Benthic Foraminifera to Assess Seasonal Changes of Marine Ecosystems in the Antarctic." Taylor uses foraminifera, which are marine organisms that are sensitive to environmental change, to learn more about seasonal changes. That information could be used to study the impact of climate change on the Antarctic marine ecosystems.

"The research is still in the early stages," Taylor said. "I would like to go back and get replicate samples."

Taylor first traveled to Antarctica for samples in July 2008 as part of a National Science Foundation-funded research cruise with Indiana State associate professor of geology Tony Rathburn.

"I'm really glad I'm here at ISU because they really focus on undergraduate research and experiential learning," he said. "It works. I'm proof that it works."

Taylor said presenting findings at conferences is part of doing research.

"You get an idea, you collect samples, you do the research, you interpret your results and then you present your findings," Taylor said. "It's a process you'll have to do as a grad student and I've been able to do that with Tony (Rathburn)."

In fact, it was after his presentation at the National Geological Society of America's meeting during the fall of 2009 that he learned about "Posters on the Hill." A representative from the council talked with him at length about his research.

"She invited me to submit an abstract," he said.

Taylor will graduate with his bachelors of science in geology in May. He plans to work on his master's degree in earth and environmental systems at Indiana State before going on to earn his doctorate. In working on his master's degree, he plans to expand on his undergraduate research.

"This is the ground work for my thesis," he said about Antarctic research. "I plan to expand on it and get concrete conclusions."


Ron Taylor discusses his project during the Council of Undergraduate Research's "Posters on the Hill" reception. Courtesy photo

Writer: Jennifer Sicking, Indiana State University, assistant director of media relations, at 812-237-7972 or