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Southern Nazarene University - Character Culture Christ

2018 SRE Students and Faculty.  Photo courtesy of Dr. Nicholas Zoller.2018 SRE Students and Faculty.  Photo courtesy of Dr. Nicholas Zoller.

The 2019 SNU Summer Research Experience (SRE) will take place from May 15 to June 25, 2019.  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 2019 SRE if they have completed their first one or two years of study in an academic major offered through the SNU Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science/Network Engineering, Mathematics, or Physics Department.

Project Descriptions

A description of the 2019 research topics in each area is given below along with the respective research adviser(s).

Biology – Dr. Jeff Griffitts
Project Title: Fatty acyl species in control mice; GC/MS Analysis

My research focuses on elucidating the composition of fatty acyl species in the livers of mice to try and identify novel species involved in liver cancer development. In the past, we have taken extracts from transgenic mouse models of hepatocarcinogenesis. To combine with prior work, this year we will be conducting lipid analyses on the livers of control mice at varying time points of age.

This research project will allow the undergraduate student to learn:

  • how to perform lipid extractions
  • 1D TLC separation of phospholipids
  • the use and application of gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC-MS).

Biology – Dr. David Hoekman
Project Title: Predator-prey insect ecology in an agricultural setting

One or two students will work with Dr. Hoekman on a collaborative ecological research project in Madison, Wisconsin. With a team of professors, graduate students and undergraduates, we will be investigating how variation in agricultural landscapes affects natural enemies and their biological control services. This will involve sampling lady beetles and aphids in a variety of landscapes in southern Wisconsin and also conducting laboratory trials and analyses. Preference will be given to applicants who have had an insect class, which may be taken at Au Sable between the end of the spring semester and the beginning of the summer research program.

Biology – Dr. Caio França
Project Title: Mosquito-borne Disease Surveillance in the Metro Area

Mosquito vector-borne diseases are of great importance for public health worldwide as well as in the US as they affect humans and animals alike. Viral diseases like West Nile, Zika, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, Dengue Fever, and Chikungunya are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitos. The goals of this project are to monitor the mosquito diversity and distribution in the OKC metro area; utilize molecular assays for detection of arboviruses; and sequencing of pathogens genome. We will be collecting mosquitos from various locations across the metro area using CDC Gravid and miniature light traps. Mosquitos collected will be identified to genus and species and known vectors will be tested for the presence of virus. Mosquitos pools positive for West Nile virus will be targeted for an amplicon-based approach to amplify and sequence.

Mathematics – Dr. Nicholas Zoller
Project Title: An Analysis of Ward Boundaries for the City of Bethany, Oklahoma

Every ten years, the boundaries of federal and state electoral districts are redrawn to reflect new population data from the United States Census. The redistricting process has always been a political process since the Constitution and federal law only determine how many Congressional districts each state has. The boundaries of those districts are determined by state legislatures and are governed by federal laws, state laws, and federal court precedents. 

Mathematics (especially geometry) has much to offer in determining electoral district boundaries that are as fair as possible. In this project we will use geographic mapping software to consider alternative ward boundaries for the City of Bethany. First, we will measure the fairness of the current ward boundaries according to some of the most popular numerical measures. Then we will attempt to draw new boundaries that perform better than the current boundaries according to the same numerical measures.

Science Education – Dr. Lisa Crow
Project Title: Developing a Creative Writing Science Workshop

Science is a creative process and the best education experiences engage students with science early through encouraging innovative thought in collaborative projects to achieve a goal. This project is of interest to future teachers interested in designing a science curriculum and will involve developing a short workshop experience for young students with strong creative writing skills and an interest in science experiments. The workshop is meant to facilitate the students writing short interactive fiction pieces as text adventures with science experiment content. The curriculum will include resources for teachers to use in teaching the Inform 7 interactive fiction language during the workshop and handouts to aid the students in creating a fictional work that engages their readers with science.

STEM Education – Prof. Jody Bowie
Project Title: Automating Educational Processes with Javascript

In this project we will work on learning the basics of algorithmic thinking (computational thinking) and Javascript. Armed with some basic coding skills we will continue to build and refine the automated processes of an Open-Source Educational Portfolio system using Google Drive. No coding experience required, only an interest in it.

Summer Support and Stipend

Participants are eligible for free room in a SNU dorm facility. Each participant will receive $3,000 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 2019-2020 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 2020)

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 first one or two years of study in their major by the end of the Spring 2019 semester.  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 15 to June 25). 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 8, 2019.  If the applicant must submit paper copies of application materials, then they should be delivered to Dr. Nicholas Zoller in Beaver Science 202D. Successful applicants will be notified by Friday, March 15 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 application form.
  • Recommendations: Go to the 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 8, 2019 in order for your application to be considered complete.
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 educating 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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