Last summer, Abigail Menefee (12) was contacted by her mentor, Dr. Robin Krimm, to speak at a gustatory (taste) conference after she made a neurobiology breakthrough which concerned taste. Menefee has been working in the neurobiology field of taste since sophomore year. Her work focuses on taste buds.
Menefee still continues her research at the University of Louisville’s Health Sciences Center, and is still undecided as to if she will attend the conference or not.
“I still have not decided whether I will go. I’m hoping it will work. I am nervous and excited about the prospect of the conference. [I am] nervous about the idea of talking to specialists in the taste field, yet excited I was given the opportunity to participate in such an opportunity,” Menefee said.
As to why Menefee went into the field of neurobiology, Mr. Robert Baar (MST Chemistry) is responsible, due to a lab that his students participated in during Menefee’s sophomore year.
“In sophomore year, I was searching for a possible topic to study when Mr. Baar introduced the idea of actual research in a lab to our class. Since I was interested in neurobiology, Mr. Baar gave me information to contact my mentor Dr. Robin Krimm,” Menefee said.
As a senior, Menefee had the choice to participate in science fair this year. Whilst it seems as if a senior would sit out on a stressful project such as science fair, MST teachers disagree.
“Seniors participate for many reasons. Some do it because it makes them more attractive to a potential university or college. For example, a student conducting advanced research in a particular area, might mail their research to the Dean or Chairperson of the comparable department at the college or university that they wish to attend. This makes the student more attractive to the Dean or Chair because of their research experience,” Mr. Robert Baar (MST Chemistry) said.
“Research is a continuous process. I wanted to see my research reach some sort of conclusion so that I could begin a new research idea during senior year and senior summer. In addition it’s a great opportunity for lab experience,” Menefee said.