Feature Story

Abstract Intellect

September 11, 2019 – by Cole Hatcher

Logan Rice ’20 (back) and Shannon Agler ’20 researched cell division and development in roundworms during Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Science Research Program. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Ohio Wesleyan Students to Present Research at Sept. 23 Science Symposium

Akul Rishi ’21

As a high school junior, Akul Rishi watched a video of Ohio Wesleyan University professor Robert Harmon delivering a three-minute lecture on starspots.

Rishi was intrigued and wanted to learn more. Now an OWU student, Rishi recently completed the University’s 10-week Summer Science Research Program (SSRP), conducting original research under Harmon’s mentorship. The program often involved Rishi, an astrophysics major from India, working overnight to collect data at OWU’s Perkins Observatory.

“SSRP made my summer brilliant because the experience I gained, the content I learned, and the work I did all went beyond the scope of the classroom,” said Rishi, who also credits Harmon with expanding his “understanding of the universe using complex equations and extraordinary puns.”

“Any student interested in research should definitely apply for the program as it prepares you for a life in your preferred field and provides opportunities which were previously inaccessible,” Rishi said. “Being a part of the SSRP emboldened me to continue with my plans of getting into grad school after OWU for astrophysics.”

Rishi and all of the students who participated in the university’s 27th annual Summer Science Research Program were selected for the experience by a committee of science and mathematics professors. In addition to OWU students, students seeking to come participate in the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program also took part in a competitive application process.

During Ohio Wesleyan’s 10-week Summer Science Research Program, students conducted research under the mentorship of OWU professors and in venues including the university’s Perkins Observatory. (Photo by Paul Molitor)

The students will come together at noon Sept. 23 to present their findings, share their abstracts, and answer questions. They will set up posters and discuss their research in the atrium of the Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, 90 S. Henry St., Delaware, at this year’s Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium.

Here is a list of the students, their projects, and their mentors:

  • Dustin Braden of Granville, Ohio, researched “Evaluating Urban Sustainability Efforts in Columbus, Ohio,” under the mentorship of Ashley Allen, visiting assistant professor of geography.
  • Hien Mai of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Brad Orzolek of Saint Clairsville, Ohio, researched “Improving Cognition and Brain Function through Video Games” under the mentorship of Kira Bailey, assistant professor of psychology.
  • Shannon Agler of Canal Winchester, Ohio, and Logan Rice of Cleveland, Ohio, researched “Analysis of Cell Division and Development in C. elegans and Other Nematodes” under the mentorship of Danielle Hamill, professor of zoology.
  • Jenell Betts of Whipple, Ohio, researched “Paternity and mating behaviors in the sailfin molly, Poecila latipinna” under the mentorship of Shala Hankinson, associate professor of zoology.
  • Brianna Graber of Noblesville, Indiana, researched “Impacts of storm drain outflows” under the mentorship of Shala Hankinson, associate professor of zoology. Her experience was supported by the City of Delaware and by an OWU Theory-to-Practice Grant.
  • Dexter Allen of Delaware, Ohio, researched “Intruder States and Transition Strengths in 73 As” under the mentorship of Robert Haying-Kaye, professor of physics and astronomy. The work included using Florida State University’s particle accelerator.
  • Colin Hawes of Delaware, Ohio, and Grace Klausen of the University of Missouri, Kansas City, researched “Search for Exotic Shapes in the ‘Wild West’ of the Nuclear Landscape” under the mentorship of Robert Haying-Kaye, professor of physics and astronomy. The work included using Florida State University’s particle accelerator.
  • Akul Rishi of India researched “Starspots on LO Pegasi” under the mentorship of Robert Harmon, professor of physics and astronomy.
  • Victoria Boehm of Penn State University researched “Stellar Surface Imaging via Light Curve Inversion (LI)” under the mentorship of Robert Harmon, professor of physics and astronomy.
  • Mathilde Rosi-Marshall of University of Virginia researched “Analysis of Climate Feedbacks” under mentorship of Craig Jackson, associate professor of mathematics and computer science.
  • Jacob Tarnowski of St. John Fisher College researched “Sampling distribution of regression statistics with data subjected to type II sensoring” under mentorship of Scott Linder, professor of mathematics and computer science.
  • Karli Bigler of Aurora, Ohio, researched “Meta-analyses of Child/Parent Attachment” under mentorship of Leah Manning, visiting assistant professor of psychology.
  • Anton Kramskoi of Lewis Center, Ohio, and William Elliman of Hobart and William Smith Colleges researched “Artificial Intelligence for Modern Board Games” under mentorship of Sean McCulloch, professor of mathematics and computer science.
  • Kaytlin Ward of Delphos, Ohio, researched “Redox-active Ligand Scaffold for the Activation of Oxygen” under mentorship of Allen Pistner, assistant professor of chemistry, and David Lever, associate professor of chemistry.
  • Natalie Huebschman of Roanoke, Virginia; Michelle de Oliveira of Wheaton College; and Reid Matheison of Asbury University researched “How the Anti-Vax Movement is Influencing World Health: A Mathematical Model” under the mentorship of Pamela Pyzza, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science.
  • Abbi Turner of Indianapolis, Indiana, and Moira Meehan of Bay Village, Ohio, researched “Behavior, physiology, and reproductive success in two species of North American wrens” under the mentorship of Dustin Reichard, assistant professor of zoology.
  • Aliyah Hannig of Wilmington, Delaware, and Kait Aromy of Kenner, Louisiana, researched “Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and GIS to Monitor Water and Forest Resources in Delaware” under the mentorship of Nathan Amador Rowley, assistant professor of geology and geography.
  • Lexie Chafin of Powell, Ohio; Claudia Kelly of Ukiah, California; and Brayams Ayala Ramos of Marion, Ohio, researched “Plant Gravity Perception” under the mentorship of Chris Wolverton, professor of botany and microbiology.

Read the full research abstracts prepared by Ohio Wesleyan’s 2019 Summer Science Research Program participants and learn more about the program at www.owu.edu/ssrp.

For more information about majoring in the sciences at Ohio Wesleyan, visit www.owu.edu/academics.