Date: 2019/04/05

Great Falls College MSU students attend 2-Year Research Day in Montana

"Independent research projects like these allow students to explore topics outside of the traditional classroom setting." Dr. Brenda Canine

GREAT FALLS — Great Falls College MSU students, Justine Quirk and Julius Scott, will be participating in the Montana 2 Year College Research Day at Highlands College in Butte Montana on Friday, April 5.

The Student Research Day is an opportunity to celebrate students who have a passion for research and creativity and is a chance for students to meet with their peers who are also interested in research opportunities.

Quirk and Scott will have the opportunity to present the projects that they have been working on all year.

Dr. Brenda Canine, a biology faculty member at GFC MSU, helped facilitate these projects and notes, "These presentations are the result of these students putting in a lot of time and hard work. Independent research projects like these allow students to explore topics outside of the traditional classroom setting. The Two-Year Research Day gives them the opportunity to meet and discuss their work from people across the state and create connections and open doors for their future careers."

Justine Quirk
Justine Quirk

Quirk's passion for research ignited when her boyfriend found a camel spider. When she wanted to learn more and did not know the type of spider it was, her research began.

In her research, Quirk found the camel spider is native to Montana. She was able to continue her research after approaching Dr. Dan Casmier, chemistry faculty member at Great Falls College MSU. He assisted by providing a tank in the Student Research Lab in which to place the spider. Justine was able to continue her research through study, observation, and working with a scientist in Colorado. Her research was funded through a Mini-Grant Undergraduate Research Project award funded by generous community donor.

"I never thought I would love a spider so much," Quirk Said. "He's just captivated my entire sophomore year."

Quirk plans to earn her bachelor's degree in biology with a focus in fish and wildlife management and ecology and continue on to earn her doctorate in zoology.

Scott was recommended by Christopher Mee, Computer Technology Faculty Department Chair, to conduct research to update a plasma cutting table. He has always been intrigued by computer technology and software as far back as he can remember.

"I received my first cell phone in 1st grade," said Scott. "I also had my first computer a few years later and have always been into technology, so I thought, 'why not turn that into a career?' which led me here to Great Falls College MSU."

Julius Scott
Julius Scott

Scott ran into a few problems from the start when conducting his research on the table.

"There was little information from the trades department on the table so a lot of the diagnosis came from test runs using a CNC Cam webcam device," said Scott.

He found that the company who made the plasma table went out of business and there were no records of the company or table.

Scott decided to update the plasma table using a new computer and a software system called OS Linux Ubuntu.

"NASA uses a lot of Linux programs during their missions. Since I am looking into going into the computer science field, finding ways to practically use Linux is great," said Scott.

Scott is the recipient of the Montana Space Grant Consortium, a component of NASA's National Space Grant College and Fellowship program. He has been awarded $900 per semester to restore the plasma table.

"What is really cool about this project is that Computer Science is everywhere," said Scott. "It reaffirms that computer usage is prominent in this day and age, and we really need people to make sure we can meet the needs of the fast-growing computer technology field."

For media requests, please contact:

Taylor Alexander
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Phone: 406.771.4314

Dr. Brenda Canine
Biology Faculty
Phone: 406.771.4435

⇦ Back to list page
Record Number: 625