Feature Story

Significant Results

September 23, 2015 – by Billie Paulus ’16

Chemistry major Erin Boedicker ’17 spent 10 weeks this summer conducting research on the Ohio Wesleyan University campus as part of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program. She also was among the students participating in this year’s 23rd annual research sy

Ohio Wesleyan Students Share Summer Science Research Program Experiences

Chemistry major Erin Boedicker ’17 spent 10 weeks this summer conducting research on the Ohio Wesleyan University campus as part of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program. She also was among the students participating in this year’s 23rd annual research symposium. (Photo by Mark Schmitter ’12)

Erin Boedicker ’17 still recalls visiting Ohio Wesleyan University while in high school and listening to OWU students presenting the results of their Summer Science Research Program projects.

“I remember coming to the symposium as a prospective student and wanting to pursue research and gain public speaking skills,” says Boedicker, a chemistry major. “I wanted to test the lab atmosphere and see if this is what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life.”

On Sept. 21, she was among the 41 OWU students participating in this year’s 23rd annual Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium, sharing results of her research into how to more effectively synthesize a molecule tied to cancer research.

Of her 10-week summer experience, Boedicker says: “We were in the lab every day at 8 a.m., setting up and running reactions. Sometimes we had to run reactions anywhere from three to eight times, to make sure we were getting accurate information. In the afternoon, we would analyze what we’d found.”

And did the experience live up to her high-school expectations? “My friends at other universities are amazed at the opportunities I have here,” Boedicker says. “When I look back, this will be one of the most prominent memories I have of OWU.”

Boedicker’s fellow student-scientists agreed that their Summer Science Research Program experiences have been especially beneficial.

Onyinye Okoli ’16, a genetics and French double-major, says: “I learned persistence this summer. So many times, our experiments didn’t go as planned, so we had to keep trying.”

Okoli’s research partner, Susannah Waxman ’16, a botany major, adds, “This summer made me realize this is what I want to do for the rest of my life – exploring unanswered questions of the universe.”

The Summer Science Research Program also provides students with a valuable continuation and elaboration of what they’ve learned in class. “The research we did was entirely hands-on,” Okoli says. “We were trying out techniques we’d learned about in textbooks and lectures.”

Dara Markus ’16, a microbiology major, says OWU’s Summer Science Research Program as a great example of the university’s diversity. “The program brings a lot of students and faculty together from different perspectives, and we learn together. It really represents what OWU stands for.”

Topics presented at this year’s symposium, held in the atrium of Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, ranged from chemistry to linguistics to microbiology and everything in between. Using posters, participants presented their research, experimentation, and findings to peers, faculty, and prospective students attending the “Consider Science” event.

Ohio Wesleyan students are invited to participate in the Summer Science Research Program by faculty who observe their work during the academic year. Such was the case for Aaina Gupta ’18, a pre-professional zoology major. “I came to Ohio Wesleyan because of the science programs,” Gupta says, “and I’ve been given so many opportunities while being here.”

After participating in a Theory-to-Practice Grant experience in Tanzania, Jocelyn Munoz ’17, a microbiology and Spanish double-major, says: “I was able to continue my study of psycho-linguistics. This program has given me a foundation for so much. Prior to this experience, I’d never presented, nor done my own research.

“I wanted to participate in the Summer Science Research Program because it’s so important for us all to share in our understandings of the world,” Munoz says.

Read more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Summer Science Research Program, including student abstracts of their work, at https://www.owu.edu/about/offices-services/academic-affairs/programs/summer-science-research-program/.

Photos from the Summer Science Research Program Symposium