Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan Students to Discuss Science Research at Sept. 26 Symposium

September 14, 2016 – by Ohio Wesleyan University

Ohio Wesleyan students Ifa Abduljelil, left, and Colleen Chernowsky participated in the university’s 10-week Summer Science Research Program (SSRP). They studied safe, effective methods to purify water. All SSRP participants will present findings at a Sept. 26 symposium. (Photo by Mark Schmitter)

DELAWARE, Ohio – How does playing video games affect the brain’s ability to maintain goals? What can we learn about the sun by studying the stars? How can we purify water without using harsh chemicals or creating harmful byproducts?

Ohio Wesleyan University students explored these and other issues as part of their 2016 Summer Science Research Program experiences. For 10 weeks in May, June, and July, 30 Ohio Wesleyan students immersed themselves in scientific research with faculty mentors on and off the OWU campus. In addition, nine students from other institutions traveled to Ohio Wesleyan to participate in on-campus research.

The student-researchers will make poster presentations and answer questions about their work at noon Sept. 26 during Ohio Wesleyan’s 24th annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium. The free, hour-long event will be held in the atrium of Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, 90 S. Henry St., Delaware.

Among this summer’s student-researchers was Colleen Chernowsky, a junior from Flint, Michigan, who is a double major in geology and chemistry. Chernowsky worked with chemistry professor Kim Lance, Ph.D., to research the “Preparation of Complexes as Robust Catalytic Oxidants,” or, more simply put, the creation of a molecule that helps with water purification.

Chernowsky, who expects to pursue her doctorate after graduation from Ohio Wesleyan, said she appreciated the rigor of the SSRP as well as the hands-on experience it provided.

“Many times I felt in over my head, but Dr. Lance discussed the problems I might be facing and helped me through them,” Chernowsky said, adding that the research program also provided “hands-on experience and a feel for whether this is the right path or not.”

Ohio Wesleyan graduate Nathan Madonich, Class of 2016, agreed the annual research program provides vital real-world experience. As an OWU student, Madonich worked with botany-microbiology professor Chris Wolverton, Ph.D., to study drought-stress responses in plants. Today he is an OWU research technician working on Wolverton’s NASA-funded research of the effects of zero gravity on plant roots on the International Space Station.

“My summer at OWU in SSRP provided me with the knowledge and tools to begin investigating important research questions in the field of plant biology,” Madonich said. “This included essential skills such as experimental design, common lab procedures, and keeping an up-to-date lab notebook. As my first research experience it pointed me in the right direction and inspired me to pursue a career in plant biology.”

Read research abstracts prepared by 2016 program participants and learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Science Research Program at For more information about majoring in the sciences at OWU, visit

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers nearly 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at