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NASA Summer Research 2015

NASA Summer Research 2015Students Embark On Cutting Edge Research With NASA

A growing number of Southern Nazarene University’s science students are becoming actively involved in cutting edge research, a majority of which takes students far beyond the classroom. One of the ways SNU has achieved this is to partner with scientific organizations and entities that offer these unique research opportunities.

This past summer, junior science education major Andi Will and sophomore biology-chemistry, pre-med major Greg Sattler were given an opportunity to conduct research through the NASA Research Program. According to Will, their research was focused on studying the effects of herbicides on insect populations.

The duo studied the difference between insect populations in a grass hay field that was untreated and a grass hay field that had been treated with an herbicide periodically for a number of years. “We have used two methods of collecting insects: sweep nets and pitfall traps,” explained Will. “Sweep nets are for catching flying insects and pitfalls are for catching ground crawling insects. We are hoping to see some variation in data that suggests that there are differences in the insect communities in each field.”

Sattler said about 4,000 arthropods were collected. DNA barcoding was also used to determine genus and species name of some of the most common specimens. “We have also had to quantify any differences in soil quality and plant diversity in the two fields through random sampling and chemical tests,” said Sattler.

This research project has given Will a better understanding of the research process in general. She said this knowledge would be crucial for her to teach science at the high school level, which is her career goal. Will also said this project has shown her a new side of the scientific process. Sattler said the project has afforded him a crucial learning experience that will help prepare him for medical school. “It is giving me a better understanding of and experience with the research process,” said Sattler. “It is also something I find very interesting and have enjoyed doing, which is something that medical schools look for.”

Will also noted that the project has been one of the most satisfying learning experiences she has experienced thus far at SNU. “The most rewarding part has been being able to work with a partner who has similar interests and looks forward to the same outcomes that I do,” she said. Dr. David Hoekman oversaw both students as they conducted their research.

2015 NASA Summer Research Synopsis from Dr. Hoekman



Summer Research 2014 - Mickey DeMarzo and Rachel Rindom

Mickey DeMarzo and Rachel Rindom participated in the SNU Summer Research Experience. Under the guidance of professors Dr. Lisa Crow, Dr. Shawna York, and Dr. Carrie Bentley, Mickey and Rachel worked towards synthesizing nanoparticles and testing their antimicrobial properties.

Miranda Garlett & Gentry Smith – Johns Hopkins Summer Institute in Anatomy 
Summer Research program 2014 - Miranda and GentryMiranda and Gentry were accepted into the Johns Hopkins Summer Institute in Anatomy. This summer experience is a four week program that is designed to give undergraduate students an introduction to all aspects of human anatomy including human cadavers. This program is taught by faculty who teach anatomy to first year medical students at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Out of 17 accepted into this summer program, two were SNU Students.

CJ HornbeckCJ Hornback – Oklahoma Summer Healthcare Internship
CJ was involved in the Oklahoma Summer Healthcare Internship. This 6 week internship provided an opportunity to work with faith-based clinics in Oklahoma City that service at-risk residents. The purpose behind this internship is to encourage graduating health care providers to serve the growing number of Oklahoman's who cannot access health care through traditional means.

Nick Peoples - Vanderbilt University Research ExperienceNick Peoples
Nick participated in the Vanderbilt University 2014 Physics REU. There were 458 applicants for 11 available positions. It’s a 10 week program that lets each accepted undergraduate work on their own personal research project at the university laboratory under supervision from a Vanderbilt research professor, in their choice of three different areas: nuclear physics, astrophysics, or biophysics. Nick’s project was using an experimental procedure called laser microsurgery to understand the physics of certain developmental processes in fruit flies.

All students in program had to present their research at the Vanderbilt University Physics Research Symposium at the end of the summer. Nick’s presentation was called “Laser Microsurgery: Investigating the Biomechanics of Germ Band Retraction in Heat-Shocked Tissue” and won best Physics Research Presentation, furthermore, an all-expenses paid travel scholarship is provided for Nick to attend the SACNAS National Research Conference in Los Angeles this October.

Mary Jo Galbraith (pictured right) – Texas Tech University Computer Science Mary Jo GalbraithDepartment Research Experience
Mary had the opportunity to studywith faculty mentors at Texas Tech University where she was able to learn how to apply the state of the art computing technologies to challenging problems in Cybersecurity, Energy, Healthcare and Space Exploration. Mary’s time involved in this research was focused on cyber security.

Bethany Calvert (right)Bethany Calvert (pictured right) – University of Nebraska’s Summer Medical Education Program
Bethany participated in a six week summer academic enrichment program that offers freshman and sophomore college students intensive and personalized medical and dental school preparation.

Ray Niazi – Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute REU ProgramRay Niazi
Ray was accepted into University of Texas A&M’s Cyclotron Institute for Research Experience as an Undergraduate. This program focuses on nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry where A&M faculty provide oversight to research experience to undergraduates at the Cyclotron.

Jared GalbraithJared Galbraith participated in the SNU Summer Research Experience 
Under the guidance of Dr. Nicholas Zoller, Jared worked towards determining an optimal division structure for the Great American Conference.

Byron Crouch participated in the SNU Summer Research Experience  Byron Crouch
Under the guidance of Dr. Brent Eskridge, Byron worked on understanding and exploring the effects of personality traits on the leadership ability of simulated robots.

Our Nazarene Heritage
Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university - a service of the Church of the Nazarene. Located on a 40-acre campus just west of Oklahoma City, SNU grew out of several small colleges committed to training people for lives of service to God, leadership, and reconciliation toward their neighbors and within the global community. More than 32,000 alumni work and serve throughout the United States and the world. Read About Our Heritage

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