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Tiny Earth, Big Impact

Congratulations to Prof. Brian Merkel, campus support personnel and everyone who took part in the Tiny Earth event at the Lambeau Field Atrium, Friday, Dec. 7. Attendance alone (about 250 attendees) was impressive for the inaugural event. In addition, UW-Green Bay students took first and third place (out of 56) for their research posters.

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First place, left to right, Halee Behrens and Katlynn Tappy

“Tiny Earth in Titletown is an excellent example of the great things that can happen when people work together to address big, complex problems for the common good,” Merkel said.

Thirty-five judges worked in teams of three to evaluate each poster presentation. Judges asked questions during a 10-minute evaluation period. Students were ranked on their ability to present the information, methods, results, conclusions, literature cited, future directions related to their research and their ability to answer questions.

Halee Behrens and Katlynn Tappy took first place for their research poster presentation, “Discovery of Broad Spectrum Antibiotic Producing Soil Bacteria.”

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Taking third place, left to right, Emanuel Hernandez and Sam Engel

Taking third place: Sam Engel and Emanuel Hernandez for their poster, “Isolation and Characterization of Soil from Kennedy Park in Green Bay, Wis.”

The prize winners will continue their research as independent study research projects, according to Merkel. One of the three is considering changing his career aspirations from veterinary medicine to microbiology. An additional benefit, according to Merkel, is that some of the event judges are leaders from micro-based companies from the region.

“There is good chance that opportunities could arise for these students because the leaders from these businesses are familiar with the student’s background and expertise in microbiology,” Merkel said.

Upon reflection, Merkel said the community partnership aspect was a personal highlight.

“Cherney Microbiological Services, led by former student, Steve Kuchenberg (Chief Operating Officer), Nature’s Way, MCW-Green Bay, Associated Bank all convening at the Tiny Earth in Titletown symposium to lending their time, expertise and financial support to student efforts to mitigate the world crisis of antibiotic-resistant bacteria against the backdrop of Lambeau Field made for a thrilling and inspirational evening.