Headline: UAPB Physics student to present research at STEM conference


Byline: Special to The Commercial


Kayleigh Johnson, a junior Physics major at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, will present her research on Bacterial Motility and Chemotaxis at Different Concentrations of Magnesium Sulfate at the Emerging Researchers National (ERN) Conference in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The conference is hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Programs and the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Human Resource Development (HRD), within the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR).


Set for February 6-8, 2020 in Washington, D.C., the conference is aimed at college and university undergraduate and graduate students who participate in programs funded by the NSF HRD Unit, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce.


In her research, Johnson discusses Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, its properties, and capability to support life. According to Johnson, Europa is a good candidate, however, life there must be adapted to high hydrostatic pressure, low temperature, and other chemicals present there.


Johnson says she chose to pursue a degree in Physics because she has always been intrigued by it. An introduction to it in the sixth grade ignited a growing passion for science that follower her through high school.


“In high school, I had an amazing Physics teacher that made the subject fun and interesting and meeting many physicists from NASA only enhanced my love for the subject,” Johnson said.


After completing her bachelor’s degree in Physics, Johnson plans to join the Army where she will obtain a master’s degree in Physics while working as a Combat Engineer.


“With my Master’s [degree], I plan to become an Astrophysicist or an Aerospace Engineer while also completing my doctorate degree,” Johnson said. “I hope to pursue my dream career as either an astrophysicist or aerospace engineer. One day I hope to return to my hometown of Parkin, Arkansas, to reopen the school and become a physics and mathematics teacher committed to the advancement of kids in small, rural areas.”