G.U. Gives Undergrads Much-Needed Research Experience in STEM

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by Rachel Heston-Davis G.U. Gives Undergrads Much-Needed Research Experience in STEM

A senior honors student majoring in biology painstakingly prepares her application for the grad program of her dreams.

A freshly-minted physics graduate polishes his resume, aiming for that plum career in government or industry.

Like many students pursuing undergraduate degrees in STEM fields today, these young scientists face a challenge that even their recent predecessors did not face: the expectation of formal research under their belts by graduation.

Now more than ever, undergraduates need opportunities to put “research” on their resumes. Greenville University’s summer science research program helps answer this need. Summer 2018 marked the ninth summer of research on G.U.’s campus.

G.U. STEM students applied for the six- to eight-week research appointments in math, biology, chemistry or physics. They worked individually or with partners under the close supervision of assigned faculty members, ensuring one-on-one mentoring and instruction. 

2018 Undergraduate Research Teams

Kavaalactones with Eugene Dunkley: Ruth Rabe ’21 investigated whether kavaalactones—a lactose compound found in the kava beverage of the Pacific Islands—might inhibit the activity of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This built on kava research conducted last year with Assistant Professor of Biology Bwarenaba Kautu, and supports last year’s findings.

Water Quality Analysis with Darrell Iler: Another continuation of last year’s research, the Greenville University Well Water Quality Analysis Project carried on with testing Southern Illinois water sources for bacteria, metals and other harmful contaminants. Hannah Frerker ’19 and Logan Dameris ’20 expanded contacts with private well owners, launched a Facebook page, applied for an EPA grant to fund the program and learned how to use G.U.’s recently-purchased ICPE, an instrument used to test water for trace amounts of metal. Read more about their project.

A Two-Charge Theory of Gravity with Hyung Choi: Students Ye Jin Han and Draven Houser ’19 were introduced to the problems posed in physics by dark matter and dark energy. They explored a new theory which might resolve these problems. Students used computer modeling to look into the calculations behind this theory.

Smart Wearable Health System with Dongxue Zhao: Gabriella Pflederer ’21 and Johnny Wang designed a proposed 24-hour health monitoring system that includes an electrocardiogram, oximeter, temperature sensor and much more. They tackled the coding, communication protocol, data acquisition model, non-linear data compression method and other vital aspects of the system. The team plans further work on the non-linear data compression aspect of the project. 

Corrosion in Piping for Geothermal Units with Vlad Ivashyn: Copper pipes, commonly used in household plumbing and geothermal units, experience excessive, premature corrosion. Cameron Tanzyus ’20 and Emmanuel Nava ’21 investigated substances that might contribute to enhanced corrosion, as well as inhibitors to corrosion. The group hopes to collaborate with Darrel Iler’s water quality team and use the University’s new inductively coupled plasma spectrometer (ICPE) to shed more light on copper piping corrosion. 

Analysis and Non-Euclidean Geometry with George Peters: Sean Douglas ’18 expanded upon research conducted by one of last year’s teams on Cantor sets in the Poincare model of hyperbolic geometry. He and Peters produced an article based on their results, which they will submit for publication to a peer-reviewed journal.

Population Dynamics of White-Footed Mice with Gregg Marcello: Jasmine Andruss and Ethan Clements ’20 sought answers to questions surrounding the living habits of white-footed mice, involving the marking/recapturing of the mice using live traps.

Related Stories

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University Students Continue Testing Well Water Quality In Southern Illinois

Students’ Discovery Draws Interest From International Scientific Community

Summer STEM Adventures 


Science and math programs are thriving at Greenville University thanks to the generosity of donors. Your gift today opens the door for more students to contribute to the world of STEM.

This story was published on August 27, 2018

Author: Admin