A Summer of Research

Posted on 6/19/2019 11:58:42 AM

A total of 40 students are spending their summer as part of the 2019 IUP Research Experiences for Summer Scholars (RESS) program, examining topics ranging from the water quality of Marsh Run to the importance of sleep for student-athletes to understanding perceptions of gender in political tweets.

Now in its fifth year, the RESS program allows IUP students the opportunity to do research in a field of their choice under the guidance of a faculty member and participate in programs designed to help them develop as researchers and scientists. Events of the program focus on research experiences, communication, and professional development and networking.

Students in the program are both undergraduates and graduate students, with majors in five different colleges and in the environmental engineering track. Participants in the program, both in number and diversity of majors, continues to grow each year. This year’s program also includes students working with the STEAMSHOP initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Mathematics). STEAMSHOP is an interdisciplinary project to build a digital fabrication lab (makerspace) and innovation hub being led by Hilliary Creely (School of Graduate Studies and Research) and faculty members Sean Derry and Sharon Massey (art).

In addition to the research projects, students have the opportunity to do informal presentations about their work in progress at the “Presenter Lunch Series,” held in the Hadley Union Building Monongahela Room from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The first Presenter Lunch Series is June 21; it is open to the community. Student presenters for this session will include Patrick Cone and Ian Darragh. Cone will talk about his research with Rachelle Bouchat (mathematics) on the “Graceful Tree” Conjecture in pure mathematics, and Darragh will talk about his research with Katie Farnsworth (geosciences) on the water quality of Marsh Run.

Additional Presenter Lunch Series programs are scheduled for July 12 and July 26 from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The community is also invited to the final event of the program on August 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the PNC Room of the Kovalchick Complex. This program will include a keynote speaker (to be announced) and a poster session by the student researchers.

Rachelle Bouchat (mathematics) is the lead coordinator of the program, working with Justin Fair (chemistry), the original director of the program. RESS 2019 officially launched on June 4 with an informal meet and greet, with students doing short presentations about their research topics. In addition to the Presenter Lunch programs, there is a session discussing resumes and curriculum vitaes (June 26) and a program about research posters (July 17),

The RESS program is open to students in all disciplines who are engaged in original inquiry-based research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. Students must have at least a 2.0 grade point average to be accepted into the program. Financial support is available.

“The RESS program affords IUP students a competitive advantage on many fronts,” Bouchat said. “It offers students experience doing research in their field, it adds to a resume for a future job, improves chances of getting into graduate school, and increases a student’s confidence in relating information.”
The RESS is modeled after the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates programs.

“Nationally, REU programs are seen as one of the most valuable summer experiences students can participate in, yet the acceptance rate for most REU programs is only around three percent,” Fair said.
“Through the RESS program, IUP can offer IUP students from any major the chance to participate in a cutting-edge experience that links knowledge and skills learned in coursework to real-work research and societal problems. Students who have participated in past years have presented their research both nationally and internationally and have published with their research advisor in journals and books.”

The program has drawn impressive keynote presenters, who are doing cutting-edge work:

  • 2018: Murat Ozturan, IUP ’89, Microsoft’s Azure Data Group program manager, who presented “Riding Waves to the Happy End;”
  • 2017: Dianne Mittura Rothstein, IUP ’75, PhD in materials engineering, vice president of research at biotech company Prime Synthesis, who presented “I Was a Kindergarten Dropout;”
  • 2016: Anne Jefferson. PhD in geology, associate professor in the Department of Geology at Kent State University, who presented “Stopping Stormwater: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Improving the Urban Environment;”
  • 2015: Alan Russell, PhD in biological chemistry, Highmark Distinguished Career Professor, chemical engineering and Director of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute, who specializes in regenerative medicine, who talked about the use of computational healthcare and regenerative medicine to change healthcare.

The 2019 RESS program participants, their majors, faculty mentors and topics are:

  • Shimaa Alzgool, biology, Daniel Widzowski, “The effect of doxepin on mice weight: Does adding M3 blocking drug affect weight change observed?”
  • Lindsey Aman, geology, Jon Lewis, “Documenting the Plastic to Brittle Deformation of Taiwan’s metamorphic core”
  • Rebecca Bailey, biology, Paul Nealen, “Survivability of the Rehabilitated Fox Squirrel, Sciurus Niger Vulpinus”
  • Hannah Brennan, criminology, Rachel DeSoto Jackson, “Theatre Training for Effective Nursing Hospice Simulations”
  • Abigail Cermak, environmental engineering, Sajad Hamidi, “Determining the processes influencing mobility of sediment-associated fecal indicator bacteria in streams”
  • Trevor Cohn, chemistry, Carl LeBlond, “The Development of Novel C-C Cross-Coupling Protocols”
  • Patrick Cone, mathematics, Rachelle Bouchat, “Visualizations of Graphs: A New Way to Look at the Graceful Tree Conjecture”
  • Ian Darragh, geology, Katie Farnsworth, “Water quality of Marsh Run”
  • Kathleen Dougherty, biology, Ellen Yerger, “Relative role of native and invasive plants in the insectivorous food web”
  • Sarah Everett, Strategic Communication, Mark Piwinsky, “Twitterverse and Gender: Examining Perceptions of Gender in Political Tweets”
  • Esteban Garcia, mathematics, John Chrispell, “Exploration the effects of viscoelasticity on the motility of bacteria pullers”
  • Noah Garrett, chemistry, Avijita Jain, “Examination of Spectroscopic and Biological Properties of Ru-lr/Ru Mixed Metal Complexes”
  • Anvita Ghuge, biology, Narayanaswamy Bharathan, “Differential gene expression in potato due to Rhizoctonia solani infection”
  • Debbie Goss, English Composition and Applied Linguistics, Matt Vetter, “How do Rhetoric, Composition and Writing Studies Faculty Engage Wikipedia? A Scaled Survey of Attitudes and Uses”
  • Sarah Grandinette, biology, Cuong Diep, “Expression for R1 Peptide Under Heat Shock Promoter in Zebrafish”
  • David Henninger, natural sciences, Andrada Maicaneanu, “Iron Enriched Montmorillonitic Clay. Synthesis and Characterization”
  • Mohammed Jaber, biology, Narayanaswamy Bharathan, “Data Mining on cloned Double-Stranded RNA Sequences of Rhizoctonia Solani Isolates, 357, 303, 386”
  • Ryann Knowles, geoscience, Katie Farnsworth, “The Water Budget Within McCarthy Run”
  • Emily Loose, communications media, Mark Piwinsky, “The Capstone Experience of an Internship’ Documentary”
  • Tyler Maykovich, biology, Eric Morschhauser, “Bone Histology of Leptoceratops gracilis”
  • Breanna McGhee, chemistry, Andrada Maicaneanu, “Synthesis and Characterization of Iron-Doped Carbon Xerogels”
  • Savannah Mitchell, environmental engineering, Sajad Hamidi, “Flooding Effects in White Township”
  • Joellen Nelson, geoscience, Holly Travis, “STEAMSHOP curriculum development”
  • Justin Newman, political science, Aleea Perry, Development of the Department of Homeland Security”
  • Olivea Norris, theater, Rachel Desoto Jackson, “What detention programs, centers, and disciplinary methods are currently used in the U.S. for middle school and high school students and how can applied theater methodology be used to positively reshape them?”
  • Christopher Pagan, biology, Ellen Yerger, “Identifying Herbivorous Insect on Native and Invasive plants”
  • Samantha Pilch, English, Christopher Kuiper, “Understanding the Past with a Foreign Language”
  • Wiliem Rizer, mathematics, Rachelle Bouchat, “Counting Domino Tilings”
  • Christopher Sedwick, chemistry, Charles Lake, “Rietveld Analysis of Montmorillonitic Clay”
  • Chunghyeon Seo, criminology and criminal justice, Bitna Kim, The Effectiveness of Police Response Models for Dealing with Mentally Ill Persons: A Meta-Analysis
  • Alayna Shoenfelt, psychology, William Farrell, “Characterizing the Behavioral and Neural Actions of Dopamine in the Orange Head Roach”
  • Breanna Simpson, psychology, Pearl Berman, “University Students Experiences with Victimization and Perpetration: Comparison Across Cultural Groups”
  • Sarah Smallwood, environmental engineering, Sajad Hamidi, “Stream Bank Erosion Analysis”
  • Sara Thomas, xxx, Marissa Sweeny, “Philadelphia Urban Seminar”
  • Mariana Valenzuela, biology, Paul Nealen, “To Sleep, the First Step Towards an Optimal Athletic and Cognitive Performance”
  • Taylor Wascovich, mathematics, Brandon Vick, “Small Schools on a Larger Scale”
  • Ryan Wertz, communications media, Mark Piwinsky, “Research of Digital Storytelling Techniques”
  • Elyse White, biology, Holly Travis, “STEAMSHOP Curriculum Development”
  • Catherine Zerfing, chemistry, Holly Travis, “STEAMSHOP Curriculum Development”
  • Laith Zuraikat, communications media and instructional technology, Mark Piwinsky, “I’m sorry to everyone who I’ve let down: A study into the accounts provided to the media by professional athletes following a violation.”