ABAC’s Student Engagement Programs (STEPS) is a study program that offers students a variety of study options, including internships, scholarships and conducting research while mentored by a professor.

     At the end of each semester, after concluding their projects, students gather to present their projects at the annual STEPS Symposium. ABAC’s second annual STEPS Symposium was held Tuesday, April 23.

     The Symposium began at 9:30 a.m. in Howard Auditorium, where the top five student groups, chosen by committee, gave lightning talks about their projects to the gathered crowd of students and faculty.

     These four groups were as follows: Elizabeth Buttram and Angel Cain presented “Management Plan for Gopher Tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) on Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College’s School Forest, Tift County, Georgia;” Parker Gerdes and Dalton Ridgdill presented “A New Method for Detecting Hook Ingestion in Freshwater Turtles;” Diego Escobar and Bryce Sanders presented “Web Scraping Applications for Students;” and Destinee Story and Chris Terrazas presented “Use of Highway Culverts by Winter-Roosting Bats in Georgia’s Coastal Plain.” After the talks had concluded, there was a brief Q&A session, and each of the four groups were given prize bags.

     After this, the students and most of the crowd moved to Branch Hall, where 45 participating students presented posters they had prepared about their topics. The subjects covered in the projects ranged from monitoring the deer population at ABAC’s school forest to rhetoric in law.

     The Branch study area was filled with students and professors, as students presented all their cumulated research. Some students have been working on these projects for months, while some, like Gerdes and Ridgdill, have been working on this project for about a year. For anyone interested in applying for the STEPS scholarship, the application can be found on the STEPS page on the ABAC website.

     New applications are due at the first of each month. For more information, contact Dr. Darby Sewell at dsewell@abac.edu.

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