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Three Yotes Earn Awards at Prominent Biology Conference

May 20, 2022

Three College of Idaho students earned the top spot in their respective categories at the 45th annual West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference in San Diego, California, in April.

Seniors Reannon Suzuki and Courtney Covolo along with junior Makenna Doramus each earned distinction for their work at a conference that featured students from 65 different colleges and universities from 25 different states, including UCLA, Stanford, NYU, and Cal-Berkley. There was a total of 25 awards handed out, three of which went to students from the College.

“I think the height of the conference for me was winning an award for the best oral presentation in the ecology and evolution section,” said Doramus, a biology major who was awarded outstanding oral presentation honors for her work researching Red Band Trout in Foothills streams that feed the Boise River system. “It was truly a treat to see the hard work of my peers and I culminate in such an amazing honor after working so hard this summer.”

Suzuki and Covolo each earned outstanding poster presentation awards. Suzuki, majoring in biomedical sciences, researched compounds that can potentially alleviate the side-effects of chemotherapy drugs, while Covolo, a biology major, examined the evolution of genes involved in vitamin synthesis.

“Participating in the conference allowed me to practice my presentation skills, which is useful in any career,” said Covolo. “I want to continue doing research after graduation so it is especially important that I have experience presenting at conferences.”

For Suzuki, there were multiple benefits.

“For me, the highlight of the conference was being able to hear from other student researchers and exploring California with friends all on the same day,” she said. “Conferences such as this give me the opportunity to develop my scientific communication skills as well as hear from a variety of topics that interest me.”

Dr. Luke Daniels and Dr. Anna Himler, two members of the College’s biology faculty, accompanied the College’s delegation of students at the conference.

The College of Idaho has a 130-year-old legacy of excellence. The College is known for its outstanding academic programs, winning athletics tradition, and history of producing successful graduates, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three governors, and countless business leaders and innovators. Its distinctive PEAK Curriculum challenges students to attain competency in the four knowledge peaks of humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and a professional field—empowering them to earn a major and three minors in four years. The College’s close-knit, residential campus is located in Caldwell, where its proximity both to Boise and to the world-class outdoor activities of southwest Idaho’s mountains and rivers offers unique opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. For more information, visit