Students to Give Findings in Next Kaler Lecture
/ Categories: General, Natural Sciences

Students to Give Findings in Next Kaler Lecture

"Nature & Nurture" to include results from 2022 PRECS program

Parkland College students will present their summer research work at the October James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium.

This Friday, October 7 at 7 p.m., Sarah Porth, Stephanie Thomas, and Sarah Kroncke will present a talk titled "Nature and Nurture: Examining How Diverse Organisms Adapt to Changes in their Everyday Environment," which includes their results in the 2022 Phenotypic Plasticity Research Experience for Community College Students (PRECS) program.

Admission for all Kaler Lectures is $2 and is free for members of the Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

The PRECS program is a collaboration between Parkland College and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign and is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. The 10-week program brings community college students from across the country to Parkland and UIUC to conduct research over the summer. Phenotypic plasticity describes how environmental conditions produce responses in genes that affect physical appearance or behavior.

Porth investigated three species of frogs to understand the links between nervous system development and behavior. Thomas studied different types of bacteria found on vegetables, their various metabolites, and potential impact on human health. Kroncke examined various pigments found in amaranth, some species of which are major agricultural pests, but other species are a potential food and natural pigment source.

All Kaler Science Lectures are filmed by Parkland College TV for later viewing. After the talk, the planetarium will premiere a new program at 8 pm. "Expedition Reef" was funded by support from the Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium. Tickets for fulldome shows range from $5 to $6, with discounts offered for large groups. For a show schedule, call 217/351-3446 or visit

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