Concord University student receives honors at research conference

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ATHENS, WV (WVDN) — Concord University student Haidyn DePinho placed second in the poster competition at the SAEOPP McNair/SSS Scholars Annual Research Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference, which took place this year from June 23-26, offers undergraduate and graduate students from all TRIO programs in the United States and Trust Territories the opportunity to share their research and discuss intellectual matters.

DePinho, an environmental geoscience major and McNair Fellow, was one of 40 young researchers who presented in the poster category. His presentation titled “Dendroecological Potential of Riverscour Forest Tree Species” won second place and DePinho received a cash prize of $350 for his work.

Dr. Tom Saladyga, an associate professor of geography at Concord University, oversees DePinho’s research. Dr. Saladyga established the Environmental Geography Laboratory (EGL) at Concord University in 2011 to provide focused and enriching research experiences for undergraduate students like Haidyn DePinho. For this project, Saladyga and DePinho are evaluating the potential use of stream forest tree species in dendroecological research (rings).

The forests and meadows of Riverscour are found along fast-flowing sections of several West Virginia rivers, including the New, Gauley, Greenbrier, Buckhannon, Tygart Valley, Cheat, Cacapon, and Potomac. These frequently flooded sites include exposed bedrock and poorly developed soils, high plant diversity, and sparse, stunted trees. The quality of these sites is negatively affected by dams and changes in river hydrology, non-native plant species, and trampling associated with recreational activities such as boating and fishing.

DePinho examines tree growth dynamics and establishment patterns at a site along the New River in New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. His work will provide baseline data and information that will guide future research on these sensitive sites. The results will ultimately be used by resource managers in the park and throughout the region.

The McNair Scholars Program helps prepare students for doctoral studies by engaging in research and other scholarly activities, such as the SAEOPP McNair/SSS Research Conference. As McNair Fellows, students conduct research with a faculty mentor and complete a summer internship. They have access to training and resources to make the transition to higher education smooth and successful.

For more information about Concord University’s McNair Scholars program, visit concord.edu/McNair. To learn more about Concord’s EGL, visit saladyga-egl.com.

Environmental Geoscience Major and McNair Scholar Haidyn DePinho,

takes a core from a persimmon on a wooded riverscourt along the New River.

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