Shenandoah University alumnus Daniel Cooper ‘13 (pictured above on the left), who earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies, has won the Virginia Academy of Science’s prestigious Baker Award for Best Student Presentation in Botany at the organization’s annual meeting in Blacksburg, Va.

Cooper was one of four Shenandoah students who had their proposals accepted and presented their research at the May 2013 meeting.

His yearlong research focused on the “floristic quality” of ecological communities in the Abrams Creek Wetlands in Winchester, Va. As a faculty member must supervise the research process, Cooper enlisted the aid of Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology Woodward Bousquet, Ph.D., as a faculty adviser and co-author of the presentation.

“I owe all of my success to Dr. Bousquet. The project never could have happened without him,” said Cooper. “His knowledge and passion for teaching and nature is what made the project and my learning experience successful. I was incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to work so closely with such a great professor.”

Cooper’s study was supported by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) and supervised by Bousquet throughout its development.

The Baker Award is given to one presentation by an undergraduate or graduate student, and is an incredible honor.

“I feel very honored to win the Baker Award. Dr. Bousquet hasn’t had a student win the award until now, and it’s gratifying to win an award as the final outcome of my involvement with the study. There was a lot of hard work and long hours put into this project, both physically and mentally,” Cooper said.

Cooper interned this summer with the Potomac Conservancy and moves on to work with Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., an environmental consulting firm in Gainesville, Va.

The three other Shenandoah students who presented at the meeting are also to be commended.

Senior environmental studies major Jessica Miller presented “Plants as Indicators of Wetland Disturbance,” and Joshua Walker ‘13, who earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies and Biology, presented “Hibernation Site Selection by Wood Turtles, a Threatened Species.” Angela Felicio ‘13, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology presented “Growth Dynamics in a White Cedar Forest.”

Miller’s presentation was co-authored by Bousquet and Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute scientist Thomas Akre, Ph.D. Walker’s presentation was co-authored by Bousquet, and presentations by Miller and Walker were also co-authored by a research team of seven Shenandoah undergraduate students. Felicio’s presentation was co-authored by faculty research adviser and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies and Geography Joshua Kincaid, Ph.D., and fellow undergraduate student Cory Miller.