YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A senior biochemistry major at Youngstown State University received national recognition for her research on COVID-19.

Kira Bowman’s project about extracting COVID-19 from wastewater placed second at the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Dallas earlier this month. Bowman is one of a few students involved in the YSU research project.

WKBN met with Bowman and her biology professor about all the work that the program is achieving.

Three years ago, YSU was contacted by the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio State University about a CDC-sponsored project to track COVID-19 on college campuses across Ohio by examining wastewater.

By examining waste water from five residence halls across YSU, students concluded heightened COVID numbers after holiday breaks.

Dr. Chet Cooper, a biology professor at YSU, detailed the benefits of the relatively-small program that has now received national recognition.

“We can get a good number of students actually into a research lab using the instruments that other students at larger institutes don’t get to handle,” Cooper said.

In the past decade, YSU students have received five awards for research from the National Collegiate Honors Council Conference.

For Bowman, this research project has brought her even closer to her future goals post-college.

“I definitely didn’t expect to see myself in this situation when I started here at YSU,” Bowman said. “I appreciate that we are a little bit of a smaller school, so I do have these opportunities to connect with professors and participate in research.”

Bowman said she plans to apply to medical school upon graduation.

“She’s a very independent worker, a critical thinker, and her work ethic is impeccable,” Cooper said.

The project is set to continue into the summer.