Science & Math Summer Research



Faculty and students from the 2014 Summer Research Experience

The 2015 SNU Summer Research Experience (SRE) will take place from May 11 to June 19, 2015.  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 2015 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 2015 research topics in each area is given below along with the respective research adviser(s).

Biology – Dr. David Hoekman

Project Title: Collection and characterization of insect community composition in open and closed canopy ecosystems

Insects compose the majority of terrestrial biodiversity and play key functional roles in ecosystems. Insects inhabit virtually every ecosystem on earth as demonstrated by their wide variety of body types and adaptations. In addition, they are often used as biological indicators because they respond strongly to environmental gradients. Differences in abiotic variables, such as moisture or sunlight, can result in changes in biological communities. We’ll explore the variety of morphology and life history forms of insects while characterizing the differences in community composition between two major ecosystems, forests and fields, which differ in a number of important environmental variables.

Mathematics – Dr. Nicholas Zoller

Project Title: A Study of the Solve It! Math Game

Games are sometimes used to teach mathematics. The Solve-It Math Game is designed to teach elementary school students about even and odd integers and to give them practice with their addition facts. Two players take turns putting numbered chips into a 6 x 7 grid that resembles a Connect Four game board. Each player is trying to make even or odd sums in the rows, columns, and diagonals of the grid. Points are awarded for each sum of the correct parity. The player with the most points is declared the winner.

What is a winning strategy for this game? Is there a strategy that guarantees a win to the player who goes first? Is it possible for the two players to tie? In how many ways can the grid be filled following the rules of the game? We will find answers to these and other questions using mathematical tools from probability, linear algebra, and combinatorics.

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 2015-2016 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 2016)

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 2015.  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 11 to June 19). 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 Thursday, March 12, 2015; note that this is the Thursday before spring break.  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, April 3 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 12 in order for your application to be considered complete.