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With the weather warming delightfully and our lilac bushes in fragrant bloom, I’m loving every sunny day. The busy buzz of lawn mowers fills the air, and I’m digging out my summer outfits.

Our first story today has a memorable beginning that left me chuckling, and I couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Quin McLaughlin, a senior from The College of Idaho, took first place at a prestigious California conference. She was so surprised to hear her name called that she lost her shoes en route to accepting her award. I love it! Read on!

C of I biology student wins first place award

The Marine and Aquatic Biology category at the 43rd Annual West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference, held at St. Mary’s College of California, presented the first place award for poster presentation to Quin McLaughlin, a biology and art double major. (Busy girl.)

“I was just so shocked and excited that I had won,” Quin said. “That day, I was just glad that people who saw my poster were excited about my research.”

Quin spent the last year as a member of Cof I biology associate professor Dr. Mark Gunderson’s lab preparing her biology honor’s thesis, focusing on the lab’s development of signal crayfish as model organisms to study environmental toxicology.

Her thesis concentrated on the use of selenium exposure to counteract the decrease in Glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity. She designed and ran the experiments on her own, although she received assistance from labmates in dissecting her crayfish specimens and running assays.

At the same time, she was also preparing artwork to participate in the senior art exhibition.

“It was a stressful time trying to organize work for both of my majors,” Quin said.

Quin was the sole C of I representative to earn top honors in her category.

Bike camp for folks with disabilities

The deadline for registration is Tuesday, May 15, for the ICan Bike Camp.

I heard from Roberta McElwain, a volunteer with the Treasure Valley Down Syndrome, partnering with another nonprofit called ICan Shine, that they are offering an opportunity to people with disabilities to learn to ride a conventional two-wheeled bike, utilizing adapted equipment, trained professionals and motivational volunteers.

The camp will be held June 11 to 15 at Meridian Homecourt, 936 Taylor Ave., Meridian. There will be five 75-minute sessions available between 8 a.m. and 2:45 p.m., with 40 slots available. The groups are also seeking 100 volunteers.

Riders must be at least 8 years old, have a disability and be able to walk without an assistive device, such as a walker or cane. The cost for the week-long camp is $199 and all participants will receive a new safety helmet and a T-shirt. To learn more, register a rider, help as a volunteer, or become a sponsor, please visit the Treasure Valley ICan Bike Camp website: You may also email

Congrats to Monarrez

This is the time of year for congratulations to many of our young graduates. Magdalena DeLeon and her hubby sent their best wishes along to their grandson, Nic Monarrez, who just graduated Suma Cum Laude from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and plans to continue into law school this fall at Arizona State U. Nic graduated from Bishop Kelly High School in Boise in 2015. Great going, Nic!

Marie Galyean writes the Front Porch column for the Idaho Press-Tribune. Email your local news, club activities, honors and other “tidbits” to

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