NASA Space Grant Funds Summer Research

BETHANY, Okla. —Last Thursday, five students presented their research findings from their summer research projects funded by the space grant from NASA.

The NASA grant is part of a federal program called the NASA Space Grant. The NASA Space Grant program exists "to expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in NASA's aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts." (source).

The SNU summer research experience (SRE) is a 6-week program for students who have just completed their freshman or sophomore year. There are similar summer research programs at colleges and universities across the country, but most are typically open to students who have completed their junior year.

“By getting students involved in research earlier in their careers, we hope to inspire them to apply for one of these other summer research programs on another campus. Those students who decide to apply for such a program will have a stronger application because they can list their participation in the SNU SRE,” stated Dr. Nick Zoller, Assistant Professor of Mathematics.

For those students majoring in math or science it remains a best practice to participate in research as early as possible within their academic careers. The learning that occurs during the research process is valuable and long-lasting.

“After graduate school, I want to go into field research as a career, so I felt that participating in the SRE would be a great opportunity to get some experience in lab work. By connecting concepts I learned in a lecture class with the procedures we used in research it really helped me master the material. I feel much more confident in my understanding of these concepts now,” said sophomore Laura Mino.

Students apply for the SRE and are accepted through a competitive application process. Students must submit transcripts, write an essay that describes their interest in the program, and submit letters of recommendation. A team of SNU math and science professors reviews the applications and determines acceptance.

Each summer there are several research opportunities available and topics depend on the interests of the faculty members who supervise the students. This year the projects presented were:

  • Biology/chemistry: Ian Sanders and Jamie Williams worked under the direction of Dr. Carrie Bentley and Dr. Lisa Crow to revise a first-year biology lab in order to make it more likely that students can complete the lab successfully.
  • Environmental science: Laura Mino worked under the direction of Dr. Jeff Griffitts to develop soil tests that can be used to measure the health of soil at the QERC in Costa Rica.
  • Physics/astronomy: Jordan Dawson worked under the direction of Dr. Mark Winslow to revise the Astronomy course, including footage from the recent annular eclipse of the Sun and the transit of Venus across the Sun.
  • Mathematics: Jeremy Acre worked under the direction of Dr. Nick Zoller to study the average length of a game of Hi Ho! Cherry-O under various changes to the rules of the board game.

Current SNU students who are interested in participating in the 2013 SRE should contact Dr. Nick Zoller  or their academic advisors.

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.