UMO Students Receive Undergraduate Research Grants

UMO Students Receive Undergraduate Research Grants

MOUNT OLIVE- University of Mount Olive (UMO) students Ashley Hartman of Ayden, NC and Andrea Palos-Jasso of Malvern, PA recently received the George T. Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Grant. The Grant encourages undergraduate involvement in research.  Hartman and Palos-Jasso both received $500 for their research.

Hartman, a chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry, submitted a proposal to study oxidation of cosmetic foundation. Her research involves determining what environmental conditions can cause cosmetic foundation to change color. Hartman’s research also deals with the possibility of finding a way to prevent or reverse the color change.

She found out about the grant from her advisor, Dr. Megan Pajski, who encouraged her to apply. “I was so ecstatic to receive the grant,” Hartman said. “During my research, I learned to be adaptive. I also learned how important it is to communicate. We have often been taught that chemistry is not only theory, but also a great deal of application.  However, it is sometimes difficult to picture that application until you actually do it.”

Receiving the grant has given Hartman valuable opportunities that she may not have had without it. “I got the opportunity to do research on something that I was passionate about, and that I wanted to learn more about. I got to network with people that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to meet before, and I got to learn more about researching in my field, which will better prepare me for my future.”

Palos-Jasso, a double major in biology and chemistry, submitted a proposal to study Culex mosquitos and West Nile virus in eastern North Carolina. She was interested in determining local mosquito species, how many are able to carry the West Nile virus, and whether or not any are actually carrying the virus.

She was encouraged by her advisor, Dr. Mickael Cariveau, to apply for the grant. “I was overjoyed that I was one of the students chosen to receive the grant,” Palos-Jasso said.

“My research has not only exposed me to what it feels like to work in a laboratory environment, but it also has taught me many lab techniques and shaped my mindset,” she shared. “As I increased my exposure to the procedures, I was not only learning how to improve my methods, but also gaining confidence in myself and learning how to approach the many challenges that arise.”

The grant allowed Palos-Jasso to purchase materials for her research that were not previously available to her. She is thankful for how the grant strengthened her overall research experience. “Through this incredible and valuable experience, I was able to grow academically and individually in the science community,” Palos-Jasso said.

The University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The University, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Research Triangle Park, Washington, Jacksonville, in Smithfield at Johnston Community College, and online.  For more information, visit

(L-R)  Andrea Palos-Jasso and Ashley Hartman pictured at NC State following their research presentation