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Students from A-State Campus Querétaro Present at Meeting of Young Researchers


JONESBORO – A biological sciences student from Arkansas State University Campus Querétaro recently presented a research project at Concyteq’s Meeting of Young Researchers.

“Our students’ work won third place in the natural and exact science, undergraduate category, at the 10th Meeting of Young Researchers in Querétaro and due to their scores, will have their text published,” said Dr. Maria Juarez, director of sciences and mathematics at A-State Campus Querétaro.

The title of the publication will be “Nest-site Characteristics Diet and Activity Patterns of Sciurus Oculatus in a Mixed Forest” in Nthe, a digital journal that specializes in science, technology and innovation.

She said this is an annual event in which students from all higher education institutions in Querétaro can participate. Papers are submitted in four categories: health, natural and exact science, social sciences and humanities, as well as engineering and technology.

Papers are evaluated, and if accepted, one of the authors from each accepted work will give a short presentation in front of a panel of judges. Works that earn the highest scores are published in Nthe.

The student winners include José Pablo Torres, Ximena Zamora and Diego Aznar, as well as their supervisor, Dr. Nicolás Ramos Lara, assistant professor of biological sciences. 

“The judges were very impressed by the fact that our research paper was completely in English, and they were also interested in the choice of our focus species. We were extremely happy when we found out that we had won,” said Torres.

Torres said their project was to provide information about an endemic arboreal squirrel species that has not been studied very much. Sciurus oculatus (the Peters's Squirrel) is listed as “under special protection” by the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources in Mexico.”

“We conducted our research during the summer of 2022, evaluating the behavior, nest-site characteristics and diet of the squirrels. Our research involved a lot of tree measuring, binocular using and a lot of walking,” said Torres.

“Though our research had somewhat rudimentary goals, we found convincing evidence of nesting patterns and behaviors of the squirrel, which are (probably) the first descriptions of such characteristics.”

Torres said they also participated in the International Course Biological Bases of Behavior, which is an annual congress organized by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México that was held at Morelia, Michoacán.

“I presented a poster I prepared regarding our research. Ximena joined me in the several conferences held at the event, which were extremely interesting. And we had the chance of speaking with amazing researchers from Mexico and the world.”

Juarez said the students did an excellent job representing the university.

“I had the opportunity see José Pablo in action, while he was presenting and defending the results of their work and he did an excellent job,” said Juarez. “The judges at the event were very impressed and could not believe that he was an undergraduate student.”

Student researchers pictured
Student researchers and their instructor from left: Jose Pablo Torres Campos, Ximena Zamora Prieto, Dr. Nicolás Ramos-Lara and Diego Emilio Aznar Cruz

\Sciurus oculatus (the Peters's Squirrel)
Sciurus oculatus (the Peters's Squirrel)