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Ferris Student Research Fellows to Present Findings from Summer of Work

Student Research FellowshipsFerris State University senior Evan Weaver spent his summer vacation trying to determine the best way to measure architectural daylighting for energy savings.

Weaver, of Rockford, Mich., is one of 11 students who participated in the university’s Student Research Fellowship program, which supports collaborative research projects between faculty and students.

“This has truly been an eye-opening experience for me,” said Weaver, who will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and Sustainability. “It has helped reshape and refine some of my views on different architectural theories.”

The student researchers will present their findings at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22 in Room 210 of the Michigan College of Optometry building on the Big Rapids campus. Each student will give a brief seven- to eight-minute presentation on the progress they made this summer working with Ferris faculty. A reception will follow at 4 p.m. in the MCO’s atrium lobby.

Weaver, who chose to compare the accuracy of architectural daylighting analysis methods, plans to pursue a master’s degree in architecture.

“I have gained so much knowledge from this experience, from reviewing current literature on my topic and working side-by-side with my faculty mentor, Paul Long, to learning software that is being widely used in the architecture field.”

This marks the second year for the Student Research Fellowship program, which is intended to increase on-campus summer research, contribute to the professional development of faculty and provide students with another mechanism to gain research experience.

While the 2011 pilot program included just five students from natural sciences, additional funding allowed the program to expand to include several research projects from a variety of disciplines offered at Ferris.

Students worked full time over a 10-week period on various research projects. The fellowships offer students a more-focused research experience and prepare them for additional opportunities in their chosen career field.

“I am really impressed with the work the students have been doing and the way this experience has impacted them,” said Karen Strasser, director of Academic Research and Grants at Ferris. “A couple of students were on one career path, but now are thinking about graduate school and want to continue their research.

“The program has opened up options they hadn’t considered before, and that is one of our goals.”

Senior Katie Boolman, a Social Work major from Cadillac, focused her research to determine if today’s universities are teaching racial tolerance or merely that racism is not socially acceptable.

“The fellowship increased my desire to get involved in research on campus and has proven to be a valuable learning experience,” said Boolman, who plans to attend graduate school. “It has greatly enhanced my educational experience here at Ferris and had led me to consider pursuing a career in the academic world.”

Two other students did research in Biology professor James Hoerter’s Melanoma Stem Cell Lab, which recently was selected by the National Institutes of Health as a DERT success story for undergraduate research training.

Lauren Clements, a Biotechnology major from Alto, studied sunlight’s role in melanoma, and Sarah Gilbert, a Pre-Molecular Diagnostics major from Bruce Township, focused on synergistic effects of solar UVA and UVB radiation on melanocyte development.

Applications for Summer 2013 will be available in early September. Applications are collaborative: Faculty members submit the application along with a statement from the student.  A committee of faculty and administrators selects the recipients, a process expected to become increasingly competitive, Strasser said.

“This is a lot of work for the faculty mentors, but they are dedicated to their students and want to give them this opportunity,” Strasser said.

For more information about the SRF program, email Strasser at [email protected].

Listed below are the Student Fellows, their projects and faculty mentors:

  • Caleb Archambault, of Fenton, Chemistry/Industrial Chemistry Technology major:Development and improvement of protocols and methodologies for chemical analysis in the fermentation industry” (Faculty mentor: Mark Thomson)
  • David Birdsall, of Lansing: “An investigation of thecocrystallization behavior of saccharin” (Faculty mentor: Dan Adsmond)
  • Katie M. Boolman, of Cadillac, Social Work major: “Teaching Racial Tolerance: Increasing Validity in Racial Surveys” (Faculty mentor: Michael Berghoef)
  • Blake Bonkowski, of Owosso, Pharmacy major: “The synthesis of Novel PPAR delta agonists to better improve upon the clinically-used gamma agonists; such as Avandia” (Faculty mentor: Tracey Boncher)
  • Donald Bucholz, of Weidman, Architecture and Facility Management major: “A comparative, case study analysis of industry standard sustainability assessment methods and their application to sustainable architecture and urban development in Michigan” (Faculty mentor: Paul Long)
  • Amber Carr, of Morley, Biology Education major: “Prevalence of tetrathionate reduction among bacteria isolated from the Muskegon River” (Faculty mentor: Anne Spain)
  • Lauren Clements, of Alto, Biotechnology major: “Damaging and repairing melanocytes: Sunlight’s role in melanoma and its prevention” (Faculty mentor: James Hoerter)
  • Sarah Gilbert, of Bruce Township, Pre-Molecular Diagnostics: “Synergistic effects of solar UVA and UVB radiation on melanocyte development” (Faculty mentor: James Hoerter)
  • Daniel Langenburg, of  Big Rapids, Pharmacy major: “Method development in determining stability of pharmacist-compounded amlodipine besylate in oral suspension” (Faculty mentor: Kim Hancock)
  • Kaylee Moreno, of Alma, Social Work major: “Motivation and communicative action in bullying” (Faculty mentor: Stephanie Thomson)
  • Evan Weaver, of Rockford, Architecture and Facility Management major:“A comparison of the accuracy of architectural daylighting analysis methods” (Faculty mentor: Paul Long)