Wide World of ScienceGAMBIER, Ohio (July 6, 2011)
A small army of Kenyon students is working in the laboratory and in the field to advance knowledge in anthropology, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and psychology. They are the thirty-five Summer Science Scholars conducting research in close collaboration with faculty mentors.
They endeavor to evaluate, examine, measure, model, and characterize what they observe in the formal, natural, and social sciences, ranging from cosmic bubble collisions to the nesting patterns of seabirds. The scholars receive a fellowship award of $3,500 plus housing and money for materials. Kenyon and faculty research grants support the program.
The students create research plans, execute their projects, and prepare their findings for publication or other presentation in a public forum. The projects this summer cover a wide array of topics, including quantum gravity, leaf-trait diversity, athletic stress, and gene expression patterns.
Several students have been scouring the countryside for clues about developments in wildlife and the environment.
Kelly Heilman '12 and August Steigmeyer '12 have been hooked on fish, specifically a colorful minnow known as the redside dace. Their examination of its sperm motility from samples they collected from Ohio streams is part of their multi-faceted study that could help save the endangered species. "That's our aim," said Heilman, a biology major. "We really feel like we are doing something important. This is probably the best summer I've had."
Nick Lehn '13 has been plucking wild parsnip, Queen Anne's Lace, burdock and other plants in and around the Brown Family Environmental Center for laboratory testing and analysis to determine if they could have been part of a Neanderthal diet tens of thousands of years ago. "It is groundbreaking research, because there is very little in the literature about the role plants played in their diet," said Lehn, a sociology and anthropology double major. "The current thought is that Neanderthals just ate meat, but they had to get carbohydrates and fiber from somewhere."
The program gives students a sense of what it is to do science, not just study it. It arouses their curiosity, demands persistence and nurtures problem-solving skills. They also learn to cope with reverses. In some cases, their hypotheses collapse under the weight of evidence.
"I think the program is invaluable," Lehn said. "It's a wonderful opportunity for undergraduates to gain research experience, have something to put on a resume and work one-on-one with a professor. I have definitely developed a relationship with my Summer Science mentor (Associate Professor of Anthropology Bruce Hardy) that goes beyond the typical student-teacher relationship."
Summer Science is as much a lifestyle as an academic pursuit. The scholars live in Acland Apartments where they often meet for discussions and social activities. "We have a lot of fun," Heilman said. "We play volleyball and soccer, go bowling, and a bunch of us recently spent a weekend camping at Mohican State Park."
Here is a list of the projects:
Nick Lehn '13, Assessing the Possible Dietary and Medicinal Uses of Plants
Julian Tancredi '12, The H1N1 Epidemic and the Importance of its Effects on Educational Institutions
Katheryn Connell '13, The Relationship Between Midgut Growth and Morphology and Metabolic Rate in the Tobacco Hornworm Manduca sexta
Gian Garduque '12, The Role of the Toi-Pal Trans-envelope Complex in Escherichia coli pH Regulation
Kathryn Haller '13, The Effect of Size-Selected Manduca sexta on the Ontogenetic Scaling of Metabolic and Growth Rates
Nina Hamilton '12, Leaf Trait Diversity and Insect Community Composition in a Temperate Forest
Kelly Heilman '12, Genetic Quality in Redside Dace
Nathan Huey '13, Characterizing Differential Gene Expression Patterns of a Xenopus laevis Cell Line Mediated by Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor Agnonists
Amanda Maxfield '12, Using CYP1A Induction to Measure Aryl Hydrocarbon Activation by 4-OH-TAM in Xenopus laevis
John Patrick Mershon '14, Investigation of Single Cell and Biofilm pH Using Green Fluorescent Protein-pHluorin Microscopy
Stephen Raithel '13, Modeling Metabolic Rate and Growth through Ontongeny in Manduca sexta by Cellular Expansion and Division
Daniel Riggins '12, The Impact of Anaerobiosis on Extreme Acid Survival of Escherichia coli
Andrew Schwartz '12, Differentiation of Catalytic Activity Between CYP1A6 and CYP1A7 in Xenopus laevis
Graham Sorenson '12, Nesting Patterns and Movement Choices in Leech's Storm Petrel
August Steigmeyer '12, The Effects of Physical Coloration and Water Temperature Variation on the Reproductive Success of the Endangered Redside Dace
Kelly Wahl '12, Evaluating the Use of Frass DNA Barcoding as a Fast and Accurate Surveying Technique for the Characterization of Macrolepidoptera Species
Sally Wilson '12, Dentrification in Wetlands along a Gradient of Disturbance
Snow Adler '13, Development of a Novel Synthesis of Natural Products Containing the Cyclopoental(C) Pyridine Substructure
Andrew Ebner '13, Reconfiguration of CHARMm Program for the Theoretical Evaluation of Nucleobase Protonation in RNA
Robert Fine '12, Exploring Saturation Spectroscopy as an Analytical Tool
Clara Fischman '13, Exploring the Utility of Ionic Hydrogenation in the Synthesis of Iridoid Natural Products
Ian Richardson '14, The Role of Methylmalonate Semialdehyde Dehdrogenase in Valine and Propionyl-CoA Metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana
Ryan Talk '12, The Predisassociation of OBrO in Stratospheric Ozone
Kate Moore '12, Perfect Numbers and Abundancy Outlaws
Ian Bakk '12, Second-order Nonlinear Susceptibility in Various ZnCdSe Thin Films
Hilary Child '13, Modeling Cosmic Bubble Collisions
Andrew Chevalier '14, Fabricating Faraday Rotators Using Mesoporous Films
Mark Gervelis '13, Measuring Diffusion Coefficients in Biological Crystals Using Dynamic Light Scattering
Patrick Meyers '12, Minimal Length Scale and Atomic Calculations in the Context of Quantum Gravity
David Somers '12, Measuring Diffusion of Small Molecule Compounds within the Solvent Channels of Biological Crystals
Julia Cohen '12, Anxiety, Anxiety Sensitivity, and Mental Toughness in Collegiate Varsity Athletes and Non-Athletes
Clifford Eberhardt '13, Mental Processing Speed and Implicit and Explicit Learning
Kaitlin Graff '12, Sexualized Clothing in Girls Magazines across Time
Kendra Lechtenberg '13, The Role of Dopamine D1 and D2 Receptors in the Abnormal Response to Amphetamine of the Inbred Mouse Strain BTBR T=tf/J
Alyssa VanDenburg '12, The Role of Gender in Stress, Coping and Health Behaviors