I would first like to thank everyone who came the 118th Annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science.  This was a great meeting, with some exciting and interesting events and changes. To start with, we had approximately 400 registered participants at the meeting, and about another 30 registered guests.  This is definitely a healthy showing of the academy.  As in the past, the majority of our attendees and presenters were students, both graduate and undergraduate.  Our students put forth a great effort, presenting original research in fields ranging from Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Freshwater Ecology, Mathematics, Conservation Biology, Systematics and Evolutionary Biology, and many more.  In a new method of handling the undergraduate awards, we recognized the top winner in each of the 17 sections in the categories of oral presentation and poster presentation.  From that pool of winners, we selected the top three awardees based on their Z-score transformed final scores.  This meant that instead of giving 6 poster awards and 6 oral awards to undergrads, we had a possible 34 total awards that could have been issued.  I think the students liked the new award system, as there were a lot of happy and excited faces up at the podium during the awards banquet this year.

The graduate students also made a great showing with their new format.  This year, the graduate students selected for final round judging based on their abstracts were placed in a separate Graduate Symposium on Friday, and we got the pleasure of hearing 10 excellent presentations.  The graduate academy committee awarded three honorable mentions and first, second, and third place to the top presentations.  My word of encouragement to the rest of the graduate students at the meeting is that I wish we could have had more awards to give out to graduate students, as there were many worth presentations.  Keep writing those great abstracts and giving powerful presentations.

 I would also like to once again congratulate our Outstanding Texas Educator, Ms. Celena Miller, and our Distinguished Texas Scientist, Dr. Francisco Gonzales-Lima. I would be remiss if I did not send out my extreme thanks and appreciation to University of the Incarnate Word, for providing a great meeting site, wonderful venues for talks and posters, and delicious snacks and meals.  I have been informed that a few people might have left a personal item or two behind at the banquet.  If this might be you, please contact Veronica Acosta at    Finally, I would like to thank the Board of the Academy of helping me during my term as President, and I look forward to continuing to serve and support the Academy in my new role as Immediate Past President this upcoming year.  I hope everyone had a great meeting, and we look forward to seeing you in Junction in 2016.

Dr. Christopher M. Ritzi, Immediate Past President of Texas Academy of Science

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2015 TAS Research Awards

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