Feature Story

Multiplying Knowledge

July 1, 2015 – by Julia Stone ’16

Erin Boedicker ’17, a chemistry major and mathematics minor, is participating in this year’s Summer Science Research Program. All participants will share their findings in September at the Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium.

Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Research Programs Helps Students Expand Science Skills

Ohio Wesleyan University’s science and mathematics departments provide a Petri dish of cutting-edge research during their Summer Science Research Program and National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

These 10-week hands-on experiences offer OWU students, and students from across the country, opportunities to conduct original research alongside experienced Ohio Wesleyan faculty mentors.

OWU students apply for the Summer Science Research Program (SSRP) through an online application. An SSRP selection committee, made up of science and math professors, chooses the participants.

Students seeking to travel to OWU for the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) program also take part in a competitive application process, says Scott Linder, OWU professor of mathematics and statistics.

“For the NSF-funded students, the application process is quite competitive since applications are accepted from any U.S. citizen,” Linder explains. “Applicants to the NSF-REU program are asked to rank two or three of the projects they find most appealing. Faculty then selects candidates from these applicants.”

Summer research projects this year vary from creating artificial intelligence, to exploring the ecology of two Ohio invaders: garlic mustard and the emerald ash borer, to characterizing nematode parasites using scanning electron microscopy.

In September, SSRP participants will share their research results at the campus-wide Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium. The students, and others from the other Five Colleges of Ohio consortium, also will participate in a mini-symposium in July hosted by the NSF-REU program. The Five Colleges are Ohio Wesleyan, Denison University, Kenyon College, Oberlin College, and The College of Wooster.

Research projects happening at Ohio Wesleyan this summer include:

  • Fishing for Answers: Researching Paternity and Mating Behaviors in the Sailfin Molly.
  • Investigating Invasive Species: Garlic Mustard and the Emerald Ash Borer.
  • In the Cards: Creating a ‘Smarter’ Artificial Intelligence.
  • Plant Responses to Gravity: NASA Grant Helps Research ‘Blast Off.’
  • Exotic Atomic Nuclei Research: From Florida State University to OWU.
  • Statistics: Bringing a New Mathematical Problem to Life.
  • Seeking Solutions: Real-World Math vs. Pure Math.
  • Astronomy Research: ‘Starring’ L.O. Pegasi.
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases: Learning How Neurons Protect Themselves.