Environmental science student-researcher wins Regents’ award for notable accomplishments
Nicole Choma reflects on how experiences in undergraduate research, marching band and other scholarly activities have enhanced her college journey
Nicole Choma received the Sam Lieberman Regents’ Award for Student Scholarship at the 2022 "Honor the Best" ceremony.
As environmental science major in the College Nicole Choma wrapped up her third year at the University this May, she received the Sam Lieberman Regents’ Award for Student Scholarship. Choma, an Honors College student also majoring in biology, won the award due to her outstanding student achievements, including her impressive and ongoing undergraduate research projects and participation in the Wolf Pack Marching Band.
Choma was surprised when Mae Gustin, a professor in the College, reached out and wanted to nominate her for the award. The support Choma received from Gustin and other mentors in Gustin’s lab gave Choma many opportunities to develop valuable professional skills and feel more comfortable in a laboratory setting.
Sarrah Dunham-Cheatham, director of the College’s Experiment Station unit’s Core Analytical Laboratory, mentored Choma in funding, creating, designing and presenting her own research. Choma’s research project is investigating the absorption and desorption of mercury from microplastics and the aquatic ecosystem.
She said, “Outside of the impacts of microplastics, we should know if there's anything being carried on [them], because that can change how we think about what's going into our bodies, what's going into our food, what's going into our plants.”