The Office of Student Research is proud to feature Charlotte Pfamatter in this week’s “Scholar Story”.
Charlotte Pfamatter is a senior Integrated Environmental Sciences major at Longwood University. She was inspired to become a sustainability director because “I want to bridge the gap between science and society through outreach and communication.”
Her research focuses on evaluating mitigation techniques for mosquitoes in rainwater harvesting systems. Rainwater harvesting systems collect and store rainwater as a sustainable water source for people living in areas facing water scarcity. When not properly maintained, mosquitoes breed inside of the systems. Mosquitoes are vectors for diseases such as Zika and West Nile Virus, making this a public health threat. The purpose of Charlotte’s project is to identify the most effective method to reduce mosquitoes in rainwater harvesting systems to inform their owners, which would increase public health and increase the sustainable utilization of these systems.
Charlotte decided to become involved in an independent research project at Longwood because “As a scholar of the LIFE STEM program, research experiences have been an integral part of my education since I was a freshman. Since day one, faculty have encouraged me to participate in undergraduate research, and I was extremely motivated to find a spot in a professor's lab. I went into my research with Dr. Kathy Gee not only wanting to obtain skills, but I was ready to grow as a young woman in STEM. I wanted to challenge myself and increase my academic rigor. I am so glad that I prepared early, because now I have had years of invaluable experience.”
Participating in research during Longwood’s summer PRISM program and over the course of many semesters has given Charlotte the confidence to pursue a master's degree in 2022 because she now feels “equipped to face the challenges of graduate-level research. I have also learned that when facing challenges, I am always more capable than I might initially think.”
Charlotte has particularly enjoyed “collaborating with both my mentor Dr. Kathy Gee and my research partner Curran Atkinson. I have learned so much from them, and our different backgrounds and perspectives have helped to create a successful research experience.”
During her four years at Longwood University, Charlotte has had many opportunities to present her research. In 2019, Charlotte attended the 72nd Annual Virginia Mosquito Control Association Conference to support Dr. Gee's previous research students. In 2020, Charlotte and her research partner presented a poster at the 73rd Annual Mosquito Control Association Conference and they won 4th place in a student competition. In addition, they gave an oral presentation at the Network for Undergraduate Research in Virginia Conference at Hampden-Sydney College. In 2021, Charlotte will present at the virtual 87th Annual American Mosquito Control Association Conference and the virtual Virginia Academy of Science Annual Meeting. Currently, Charlotte is also working on a manuscript that will be submitted for publication soon.
Congratulations to Charlotte on her successful research!
If you would like to have your research featured in a “Scholar Story”, or if you would like to learn more about getting involved in research at Longwood University, please visit Longwood’s Office of Student Research website http://www.longwood.edu/office-of-student-research/