Ohio Wesleyan students who participated in this year’s 10-week Summer Science Research Program presented their findings Oct. 6 at the university’s 30th annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium. (Photo by Paul Vernon)

Plunging In

Ohio Wesleyan Students Present Results of Summer Research at Oct. 6 Symposium

By Cole Hatcher

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University students shared the results of their on- and off-campus summer research experiences at OWU’s 30th annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium.

The Oct. 6 event, held inside the university’s Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, included poster presentations with the students discussing their original research and answering questions at the two-hour symposium.

Laura Tuhela-Reuning, director of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program (SSRP), shared thoughts on the value of such mentored research experiences in this year’s abstract book (PDF).

“One of the most rewarding parts of SSRP for me is watching the students grow as scientists, seeing them take command of a research project, and knowing that they are gaining the confidence to speak and act as scientists,” she said. “Science cannot be learned solely from a book. Science must be experienced through research, and at OWU, we encourage students to plunge in, preparing them to be successful researchers both at OWU and at other universities.”

Ohio Wesleyan students presenting research and their projects are:

On-Campus Research

  • Nandini Arora, Lindsey Ashcraft, Josh Cabacungan, Nicole Klabus, Carly Sanders, Abbey Setlik, and Reece Trowbridge, “Using Genetics to Determine the Components of Gravity Sensing in Arabidopsis thaliana.”
  • Lindsey Ashcraft and Josh Cabacungan, “Growth Regulator Gene Family in Arabidopsis thaliana.”
  • Kyleigh Beck and James Doerle, “Imaging Starspots on Lo Pegasi Via Light Curve Inversion,” conducted at Perkins Observatory.
  • Bryan Benavente, “Partisanship & Public Opinion on International Hostility.”
  • Abby Biddle, “Determining the Effects of Adolescent Stress on Psychiatric-Related Behaviors of Adult Mice.”
  • Audrey Calvin, “Investigating the Potential of the M3-M4 Loop of the Glycine Receptor to Act as a Cell Penetrating Peptide.”
  • Chandler Carr, “Nest Building Behavior and Architecture in House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon).”
  • Abigail Doza and Makenna Juergens, “Exploring Local and Regional Variation in NaCl Tolerance In Daphnia pulicaria.”
  • Aadarsha Gopala Reddy, “Artificial Intelligence in Modern Board Games.”
  • Alyssa Head, “Let’s Include the Ladies: Body Dimensions in the Common Wall Lizard Across Populations with Varying Establishment Histories.”
  • Ethan Livingston, “The Importance of Temperature in Scincus scincus, The Sand-Swimming Skink.”
  • Erin Pohlman, “Characterizing the M3-M4 Loop of the Glycine Receptors Potential to Transverse the Membrane.”
  • Carly Sanders, “The Influence of Nitrate Reductases on Gravitational Response in Arabidopsis thaliana.”
  • Zoë Swanson, “Do Female House Wrens (Troglodytes aedon) Have Personalities?”

Off-Campus Research

  • Ali Amer, “Investigating the Oncogenic Potential of Mutations Common in Down Syndrome Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (DS-ALL),” completed at the Texas Children’s Cancer Center.
  • Hannah Cox, “Loggerhead Sea Turtle Conservation in Greece,” completed with Global Vision International.
  • Niladri Deb, “Improving Prediction Accuracy of RBPBind by Including Variable Footprint,” conducted at The Ohio State University.
  • Brianna DeMuth, “Dismantling Human Trafficking: An Updated Comparative Study on Anti-Trafficking Policies and Transnational Advocacy in Southeast Asia,” conducted at The Ohio State University.
  • Daniel Eilert, “Biological Motion Detection: Using Neuroimaging to Explore the Foundations of Social Cognition,” conducted at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
  • Josie Fornara and Lily Hambric, “Caught in the Act: Investigating the Relationship Between Songbird Nest Microhabitats and Predation in a Desert Environment,” conducted in New Mexico.
  • Hannah Green, “Documentation of SOCS and Hardware Simulation for SMB-S4,” conducted at Cornell University.
  • Brooke Hall, “Eating Disorders Among College Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States: A Narrative Review,” conducted at The Ohio State University.
  • Malcolm Henderson, “Variations in Mass Accretion Rate in a High-Mass X-Ray Binary System,” conducted at North Carolina State University.
  • Lily Herreid, Lights Out Cleveland ornithology research, conducted at the Cleveland Natural History Museum.
  • Catie Hyatt, “Conservation and Education: An Internship with Pelican Harbor Seabird Station,” conducted at the Miami, Florida-based seabird station.
  • Zach Jasper, “The Detection of Amino Acids Using Silver Nanoparticles Through Raman Spectroscopy,” conducted at The Ohio State University.
  • Mindi Klaus, “DMPG as a Possible Treatment for Psoriasis,” conducted at Augusta University.
  • Lee Leonard, “Does a Drought Legacy Effect Triticum aestivum Growth?” conducted at W.K. Kellogg Biological Station/ Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program.
  • Rachel Leslie, “Partial Sums in Reverse Lexicographic Order,” conducted at Baruch College.
  • Maya Moore, “Sperm Competition in Dusky Salamanders,” completed at Duquesne University.
  • Zynnia Peterson, “Conservation of the Macaw,” completed at the Macaw Recovery Network in Costa Rica.
  • Maizy Pratt, “Disposable Masks as a Source of Antibiotic Resistance in Stormwater Ponds,” conducted at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
  • Wesley Rancher, “Effects of Desiccation, Starvation, and Temperature Acclimation on Bees’ Heat Tolerance,” conducted at the University of Kansas.
  • Kayla Rush, “FBI Honors Internship,” completed in Quantico, Virginia.
  • Madeline Russell, “Cataloging of Environmental Isolates at Hikma Pharmaceuticals,” conducted at Hikma Pharmaceuticals.
  • Myles Steed, “Characterization of the Effects of IP6 on Jaagsiekte Sheep Retrovirus (JSRV) Assembly,” conducted at Cornell University.
  • Trey Theobald, “Identifying Early Developmental Neurotoxicity Modeled in a Cerebral Organoid System,” conducted at Vanderbilt University.
  • Ivan Vore, “Atypical Key Enzymes in Phosphonate Natural Product Biosynthesis,” conducted at The Ohio State University.

The Summer Science Research Symposium was held as part of Ohio Wesleyan’s first daylong OWU Connection Conference. The conference enabled students to share how their participation in the university’s signature experience – the OWU Connection – is helping them to create the personal and professional futures they seek.

The OWU Connection, part of the university’s general education curriculum, is designed to help students think big (understand complex issues from multiple academic disciplines), do good (volunteer to help others), go global (gain international perspective), and get real (translate classroom knowledge into real-world experience through internships, research, and other hands-on learning).

Learn more about the OWU Connection and the first OWU Connection Conference at owu.edu/connection and more about the Summer Science Research Program and annual symposium at owu.edu/ssrp.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 70 undergraduate majors and competes in 24 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through its signature program, the OWU Connection, Ohio Wesleyan teaches students to integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included on the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “Best Colleges” lists. Connect with OWU expert interview sources at owu.edu/experts or learn more at owu.edu.