Science & Math Summer Research

 Faculty and students from the 2015 Summer Research Experience

The 2016 SNU Summer Research Experience (SRE) will take place from May 18 to June 28, 2016.  The SRE is sponsored jointly by SNU and the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC).  You can read more about OSGC activities here

Current SNU students may apply for the 2016 SRE if they are freshman or sophomore students who have declared an academic major offered through the SNU Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science/Network Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics Department.

Project Descriptions

A description of the 2016 research topics in each area is given below along with the respective research adviser(s).

Chemistry – Dr. Lisa Crow and Dr. Shawna York

Project Title: Cleaning with Magnetic Carbon Composites

Lodestone magnets have fascinated people for centuries. The iron oxide material, magnetite, is naturally occurring and environmentally benign, consequently as a composite material with carbon it is a green method for catalysis and remediation of wastewater. In this project, the researchers will synthesize magnetic carbon composites and characterize their properties. The composites will be investigated as Lewis Acid catalysts for organic reactions, and as adsorbents for organic and metallic contaminants in water.

Computer Science – Dr. Brent Eskridge

Project Title: Local Communication in a Bio-Inspired Collective Decision-Making Model

Coordination of large aggregations are frequently observed in natural systems. However, producing similar intelligent coordinated behaviors in artificial systems, such as swarms of robots, is challenging. In this project, we will continue previous research in biologically inspired collective decision-making and investigate the role of an individual's spatial position in aggregations relying solely on local communication.

Statistics – Dr. Nicholas Zoller

Project Title: An Analysis of SNU Chapel Attendance Data

The growth of the Internet over the past 30 years has made it possible for organizations of all types to gather and store data. Businesses gather data about their customers. Governments gather data about their citizens. Non-profits gather data about their clients. Electronic data storage is cheap, so a very large amount of data has been stored. However, making intelligent use of the data can be difficult. Data mining attempts to provide a solution to this problem by using techniques from statistics and computer science.

In this project we will study chapel attendance data for students at Southern Nazarene University. We will begin by looking for answers to interesting questions. For example, does a typical female student complete her chapel requirements in less time than a typical male student? Do guest speakers from outside of SNU draw more students than chapels that feature SNU community members? Are students more likely to finish up their chapel requirements as early as possible or at the last minute? It is hoped that in seeking to answer these and other questions, we will discover unexpected patterns and trends.

Summer Support and Stipend

Participants are eligible for free room in a SNU dorm facility. Each participant will receive $2,500 as a stipend for research. Payments will be made throughout the summer program; a final installment will be paid at the conclusion of the program. Participants are expected to commit to 40 hours of research a week as scheduled by the research adviser, generally from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. If participants anticipate being gone for any reason during the program, they should make alternate arrangements with their research adviser for making up research. Participants are required to present the results of their research at a symposium at the end of the summer program. Additionally, participants must present the results of their research in two different settings during the 2016-2017 academic year:

  • During the weekly Math and Science research seminar
  • At an off-campus academic conference or at the annual SNU Undergraduate Research Symposium (in March or April 2017)

Application Requirements
Applicants must be SNU freshman or sophomore students who have declared an academic major offered through the SNU Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science/Network Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics Department.  Applicants should expect to complete their freshman or sophomore year in Spring 2016.  U.S. citizenship is required.  Participants are expected to be available Monday through Friday, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm, for the entire six-week period (from May 18 to June 28). If applicants anticipate being absent for any reason, they should report the duration and reason for absence on the application form.

Each applicant must submit three recommendations – two of which must come from SNU professors. Applicants should email the recommenders and provide the URL (see below) for the online recommendation form. If a paper recommendation (rather than the online form) is needed, please contact Dr. Nicholas Zoller at


Applicants must complete their online application forms and have all required documentation (recommendations, etc.) completed by Friday, March 4, 2016.  If the applicant must submit paper copies of application materials, then they should be delivered to Dr. Nicholas Zoller in Beaver Science 202E. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, March 25 of their acceptance into the program. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Nicholas Zoller at  You are also encouraged to discuss your interests with any of the research advisers listed above.


  • Application: Log in to your SNU Gmail account and apply online at this Google Docs application form.
  • Recommendations: Go to the GoogleDocs recommendation form, and copy and paste the URL address into your e-mail requests to your recommenders.  Recommenders must submit their recommendations by the application deadline of March 4 in order for your application to be considered complete.