Undergraduate Student Research  
 

Previous Research

 
May 2012-2013 May 2010 - 2011 May 2008 - 2009 May 2006 - 2007
May 2011 - 2012 May 2009 - 2010 May 2007 - 2008 May 2005 -2006
 
 

May 2012-2013

Market Research for Blue Star Sportswear, Inc.

Rachel Bartels

We will prepare a case analysis and a market analysis for Blue Star Sportswear, Inc. The case analysis for the company will include a breakdown of buyer demographics, their buying behavior, current positioning, unique selling points, product portfolio, methods of distribution, and promotions. The market analysis will explore Blue Star Sportswear’s competition and will include competitors’ brand positioning, market share, methods of distribution, pricing, and avenues of promotion.


Faculty mentor: Kristel Heinz Ciullo
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program


 
Characterizing the ability of allicin and garlic extract to inhibit biofilm formation in Streptococcus mutans

Lauren Bauer

Lauren Bauer

We will be characterizing the inhibition of biofilm formation on orthodontic wire, primarily. We also hope to gather a genetic profile of biofilm formation-associated genes under different culture conditions.


Faculty mentor: Jennifer Hess
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Self-Identified Needs of the Urban Homeless

Molly Cook

This research is both a scholarly inquiry and a community needs assessment. As such, two separate by related questions will be asked: How can Park Congregational Church best provide services and support to the homeless of Grand Rapids? What are the self-identified needs of the urban homeless, and how do these compare with the needs identified by service providers?

 

Faculty mentor: Kathy Kremer
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program and Aquinas Department of Sociology


 
Hyperbolic Circle Quadrature
Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Janôs Bolyai wrote that squaring the circle (constructing a regular quadrilateral with the same area as a circle with given radius) could be done in hyperbolic geometry. His description is notoriously convoluted. He did not, however, have a model in which to actually perform this construction, nor did he have a distance formula to use in verifying the result. Noah and I will find the construction in the Poincare disk model and prove that a direct construction from the circle to the quadrilateral, without knowing the radius of the circle, is impossible. We will connect these results with known work in analytic hyperbolic geometry.


Faculty mentor: Michael McDaniel
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Paleolimnology of a West Michigan Pond
Bradley Farley
Bradley Farley

This project will utilize paleolimnological techniques to reconstruct the landscape history of south western Michigan. We specifically will assess the sediment depth and physical characteristics and also intend to utilize rudimentary palynological analysis to reconstruct vegetation coverage and climate over the past 14,000 years.

 

Faculty mentor: James Rasmussen

Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 

Development of a Paper Analytical Device for the Detection of Insecticides

Tom Finn

Tom Finn

We will develop a paper-based device for detecting the insecticides permethrin and deltamethrin, which are commonly used on mosquito netting.


Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Diagnostic value of the Steinman test in Evaluating Meniscal tears

Ben Hagge

We will determine the reliability of the Steinman test as a diagnostic tool for detecting meniscal tears in subjects presenting with knee pain. The Steinman test will be compared to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as other special tests for meniscal tears.


Faculty mentor: JoAnne Gorant
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program


 
Psalm of the Piano Key: Faith and Philosophy in Notes from Underground

Jarrod Irwin

We will attempt to illuminate the Underground Man’s religious predicaments, place him in the context of Dostoevsky’s other major characters, and discuss what this would have meant in terms of nineteenth-century thought about religion.

 

Faculty mentor: Daniel Brooks
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program


 
Sex, Age and Quantitative Motor Unit Recruitment

Janie O'Donnell

Janie O'Donnell

Female and male subjects (ages 40-55) will be studied to determine each group’s ability to recruit motor units by increasing grip strength using the iWorx physiological recording system.

 

Faculty mentor: Tom Bahl
Funded by: Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Establishing a Contemporary Art Image Database at Aquinas College
Tom Olson

We will research the best way to properly attain, organize and store contemporary art images and accompanying text by emerging artists. We will also establish a system for receiving and using these images for use in the Aquinas Art Department and campus-wide.

 

Faculty mentor: Dana Freeman
Funded by: Aquinas Summer Scholars Program

 

May 2011-2012

 
From Climbing the Promotional Ladder to Navigating the Promotional Labyrinth: Professional Women in Leadership Positions

Sarah Allen

Sarah Allen

Sarah is examining the pertinence of the labyrinth model (rather than the glass ceiling model) for professional women.  Her qualitative examination is based on interviews conducted with professional women and analysis of their experiences.  The results of her research will be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, and the Michigan Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. Sarah has been selected by the Michigan Colleges Foundation as one of two 2011 Earhart Emerging Scholars at Aquinas College.

 

Faculty mentor: Susan Haworth-Hoeppner


 
Kayla Berigan and Bernadette Poirier
Kayla Berigan, Robb Bajema and Bernadette Poirier

We will characterize ant colonies at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and investigate the effect of temperature on ant foraging.


Faculty mentor: Robb Bajema


Funded by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute URGE


 
The Role of Visual Input on Motor Unit Recruitment During Finger Flexion
Tim Carew
Tim Carew and Tom Bahl

The goal of the project is to assess the ability of individuals to determine intensity of grip strength with and without visual input from the Iworx electrophysiological recording system.


Faculty mentor: Tom Bahl

 

Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Almost Dominating Steps in Graph
Ian Hart
Ian Hart & Joseph Spencer

We will study sets of vertices that almost dominate a graph. We will consider a couple of definitions for almost domination. We will study the concept for various families of graphs and consider other relationships that hold for normal domination.


Faculty mentor: Joseph Spencer


Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Modeling the Dynamics of Sand Ripples
Jacob Jeffers
Jacob Jeffers

Sand Ripples have an interesting uniform pattern and can be see on many of our local beaches on a windy day. Observations in wind tunnels and nature directly were used to learn about sand movement. Our goal was to create a mathematical model that shows the initiation, formation of shape, growth, stabilization of height, and translation of these ripples.


Faculty mentor: Dr. Tim Pennings, Hope College


Funded by the National Science Foundation.


 

Demographic and Economic Characteristics of Ethnic Groups in Grand Rapids: 1920

Devin Lea

Devin Lea & Rich McCluskey

An analysis of the occupational states of specific ethnic groups especially within the furniture manufacturing sector.


Faculty mentor: Rich McCluskey


Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Fugue for Wolf and Bear: Cases for and against Chechen Sovereignty

Aimee Shemanski

An analysis of the historical context of the current conflict in Chechnya and the evolution of Russian policy since 2001. Especially addressed is the rhetorical and ideological evolution of combatants on either side of the conflict.


Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011.

 

Faculty mentor: Roger Durham


 
With F*R*I*E*N*D*S like these...: Media, Liberalism, and Haiti

Joseph Spaulding
The mainstream press has decided en masse that the solution to all of Haiti's problems is the appearance of opening up and securing of markets with a large supplement of private charity; to accomplish this, the massive earthquake is framed as a new zero point from which "new" frameworks can be constructed. Unfortunately, while the physical structures may have crumbled, the structure of Haiti's relationship with the developed world, and the legacy of domination and exploitation contained within it, not only continue to function, but are able to do so with even more impunity under the false guise of being a non-ideological reaction to a merely humanitarian disaster


Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011


Faculty mentor: Roger Durham


 
The Study of Spectroscopic Properties of the Additives in Biodiesel
Jacob Streng
Jacob Streng & Li-heng Chen

We will try to identify the characteristic peaks in different spectroscopies of the additives used in biodiesel. Based on the peak intensity, the quantity of the additives may be determined.


Faculty mentor: Li-heng Chen

 

Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 

99 Points of Intersection in Hyperbolic Space

Megan Ternes
Mike McDaniel and Megan Ternes

Walser's Euclidian constructions have hyperbolic versions which may or may not hold.


Faculty mentor: Mike McDaniel


Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Potency and Selectivity of three clinical drugs at N-methyl-D-aspartic acid receptor subunits
George Van Den Driessche
George Van Den Driessche

Xenopus oocytes were used to selectively screen for NMDA receptor subunits 2A, 2B, and 2D. Oocytes were then profused in a drug solution to test for 50% inhibition (IC50 curves). 2B and 2D receptors were determined to be the most selective to atomoxetine at equal blocking without magnesium present, however when magnesium was added to the solution only 2D receptors continued to demonstrate significant block occurring.

 

Faculty mentors: Dr. Scott Myers, NeurOp CNS Drug Discovery Inc.

 

Funded by: Center for Behavioral Neuroscience (BRAIN: Behavioral Research Advancements In Neuroscience)


 
Human Trafficking in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Kathrine Woodhouse
The Kingdom of Bahrain suffers from myriad political, socioeconomic and employment problems is also entrenched with the heart breaking issue of human trafficking and all its manifestations.


Presented at the Michigan Conference of Political Scientists meeting, Petosky, Mich., October 14, 2011.


Faculty mentor: Roger Durham

 

May 2010-2011

 
Baily Agattas
Baily Agattas

I participated in a one-week-long Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI) Undergraduate Modeling Workshop on the topics of Epidemiology and Stochastic Dynamics. Here, a group of about 30 students, including myself, were given presentations on previous research activities and methods, mostly in epidemiology, the study of health and diseases in populations and their contributing factors. We learned basic statistical equations and analysis, and how to apply them to SIR, SIS, and SIRS models. At the end of the week, after being broken up into groups of three, we were given 24 hours to use all of the information from the week to analyze ten years of national flu data in a creative and applicable way.

 

Faculty mentors included SAMSI professors, grad students, and professionals.


 
Optimization of a B12 Fast Melt Tablet
Teresa Buiocchi
Teresa Buiocchi

I'm evaluating raw materials, altering formulas, conducting consumer product evaluations for sensory testing to create a panier that the group can choose from once they have established goals for cost, marketing claims, ease of manufacturing, etc. Planned presentation on August 4th in Buena Park, California.

 

Mentor Janira Intra; Funded by an Internship at Nutrilite in California.


 
Synthesis and Characterization of Ionic Liquid Crystal Compounds
Lauren Cichon
Lauren Cichon with faculty mentor Dr. Beth Jensen

Liquid crystals are materials with structures intermediate between crystalline solids and isotropic liquids. They find use in electronic devices such as digital displays. In this project, we will synthesize a series of compounds that are expected to have liquid crystalline phase transitions at relatively low temperatures. The compounds are composed of an organic ligand with one or two long carbon tails, a transition metal ion, and a halide ion (chloride or bromide ion). These compounds will be characterized by Differential Scanning Calorimetry and Fourier Transform Infrared spectrometry, among other techniques. This work is related to the 2008 project by Molly Soper and Elizabeth Jensen. We plan to present our results at the 2011 Central Regional meeting of the American Chemical Society.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Beth Jensen; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Tree survey of Eastown
Kaila Crisler & Kirsten Borek
We are aiding in the creation of more green spaces in the Eastown community by first conducting a tree survey of the area. By performing this survey, we will learn not only what types of trees are already growing there, but also their size and the state of their health. This information will then be used to note where additional trees might be planted, as well as which trees should be monitored for possible removal due to health issues in the future.
Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus; Volunteer effort

 
Sex with Isabel: Circumventing Machismo and Marianismo in Latin America.
Josi DeVrou
My project explored women, sexuality, and Isabel Allende's use of these themes in her narratives. This work was presented at the Michigan Academy at Calvin College in March 2010. I would like to acknowledge the assistance that both professors have given me with this project. Dr. Rottschafer for teaching the class that inspired my research and Dr. Romero for assisting me with the research and paper writing process as well as being present when I presented my research at the conference. I have just graduated from Aquinas and have been accepted to Western's MA program in Spanish.
Faculty mentors Dr. Shelli Rottschafer and Dr. Marcus Romero; Supported through the Spanish310 - Special Topics - Isabel Allende; Fall 2009 course.

 
Bio-directed fractionation and investigation of anti-plaque (dental plaque) activity of Lippia sidoides
Aimee Gowell
The purpose of my project is to effectively fractionate the natural product Lippia sidoides using Bio-directed fractionation, as well as characterize the fractionated components.  Once fractionated, the different fractions will be investigated for activity against the bacteria that causes dental plaque as a potential natural oral care agent.  I will be giving a presentation at the end of the summer, but an official date has not yet been set.
Faculty mentor Amit Chandra; Funded by Amway Internship

 
Purifying and Characterizing Recombinant IdeZ and Associated Mutant Enzyme Constructs and Their Interaction with Cystatin C
Andrew Howard
Andrew Howard with faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess

The goal of our summer research is to study the cleaving effects of the streptococcal enzyme, IdeZ, on human IgG, one type of antibody in the human immune system.  We are also exploring the relationship between this enzyme's ability, and the ability of other mutants IdeZ enzymes made in our lab previously, to cleave IgG in the presence of cystatin c, a cysteine protease inhibitor, which has been shown to enhance enzymatic activity in previous studies. 

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Woodpeckers and Their Preferred Trees
Jacob Jeffers
Jacob Jeffers with faculty mentor Dr. Robb Bajema Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by URGE Grant

 
Possible recognition of nest (colony) mates in the American cockroach: evidence for memory in a group-living insect
Genevieve Kendall
Genevieve Kendall with faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl

We will present our findings as a poster at The West Michigan Undergraduate Research Conference at Van Andel Institute in October, 2010.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 

Acquisition of Information Regarding Services for Kent County Residents

Leah Kicinski
Leah Kicinski

October and November 2010 - Leah Kicinski interviewed a stratified sample of 104 Grand Rapids food pantry users and eight pantry directors to determine if installing digital signage or a video loop system at a food pantry would effectively engage pantry users and inform them about available resources.  Her research also focused on determining which types of resources are being used in addition to the food pantry, and the ways in which pantry users became informed of the resources and the ways in which they preferred to receive information about these resources.  Her research suggests an incongruity between the agency’s desire to use technology to pass along information and the pantry user’s preferred methods of acquiring information on available community services.
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Kathy Kremer


 
Development of  Homochiral Group 2 Reagents in Asymmetric Synthesis
Kayla Lewis
Kayla Lewis

The current use of Mg(HMDS)3-, an organometallic substance where HMDS is a ligand, has a Lithium cation that impedes further reactions, so I am working to replace that metal cation with a new, less obstructive cation.  This would let the organometallic ion react much more readily in other organic chemistry reactions. I have a presentation at Hope College on July 30 and possibly at Notre Dame on August 6, 2010.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Ken Henderson; Funded by REU at Notre Dame


 
Glycine Receptors and their Function
Marissa Mikkelson
Marissa Mikkelson

In order to study the structural information about the resting, opening, and desensitizing stages of the glycine receptor, I am making double mutants of cysteine crosslinked with benzophenone. I will be presenting at an undergraduate research symposium on July 30, 2010 at Duquesne.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Michael Cascio and graduate student mentor Chelsee Kraushaar;
Funded by NSF Grant for Integrated Computational and Experimental Chemistry REU-ASSURE Program


 
Work with Pancreatic Cancer
Katie Partyka
Intern at the Van Andel Institute for an independent study.
Mentor: Dr. Haab

 
Research at the Davis Bodega Bay Marine Laboratory at the University of California
Carly Plank
Poster presentation at the University of California in late summer 2010.
Faculty mentor Dr. Jay Stachowicz; Funded by NSF Grant for REU program.

 
Alhazen's billiard problem in hyperbolic space
Nathan Poirier
Nathan Poirier with Provost Dr. Chad Gunnoe

In 1997, it was proved that constructing an inscribed isosceles triangle in a given circle with each of two given points on a leg is impossible with compass and straightedge. That was in Euclidean space. We are attacking the hyperbolic case. In our first few weeks, we have found two ways to turn the hyperbolic case into the Euclidean case. We are trying to extend these ways to all possible hyperbolic solutions, thus demonstrating that the problem is impossible in hyperbolic space.

 

Pictured at left with AQ Provost, Dr. Chad Gunnoe; Faculty mentor: Dr. Mike McDaniel; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant


 
Homeownership & Foreclosure In The Creston Neighborhood: An Analysis of Neighborhood Change
Breane Proctor, Leah Kicinski, Drew Anderson, Regina DeVries, Mayerlyn Magana, Marilyn Buford, Abigail Schippers, Chris Jacobs, Tracey Morairty
Grand Rapids’ Creston Neighborhood is experiencing population decline, household incomes below city median; and high foreclosure rates. In April 2010 Aquinas College students partnered with the Creston Neighborhood Association to identify resident awareness of programs available residents and their concerns related to vacant housing and changing housing conditions in the neighborhood. Two target areas of the neighborhood were surveyed, and the qualitative and quantitative data that was collected will guide the Neighborhood Association’s response to the community change.
Faculty Advisor Dr. Kathy Kremer

 
K-Step Domination
Tayler Spellis
Tayler Spellis with faculty mentor Dr. Joe Spencer Faculty mentor: Dr. Joe Spencer; Funded by Mohler-Thompson Summer Research Grant
 

May 2009-2010

 
Identifying Oak (Quercus) species at Pierce Cedar Creek using amplifications of the matK gene.
Kirsten Borek
Kirsten Borek (left) with faculty mentor Dr. Summer Silvieus

Oak species hybridize within across species fairly readily, which makes identification of them through morphological characteristics very difficult in the field. Through the use of DNA isolation, amplification, and sequencing, we were able to compare DNA sequences of the matK gene region of various oak species and their hybrids. Ideally, the sequences will be very similar from oak samples of the same species, and more different when compared to samples from different species.

 

Planned presentations: (1) Pierce Cedar Creek Institute on September 19. (2) Poster at West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference on October 31.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Summer Silvieus; Funded by URGE Grant & AQ Student Senate Research


 
Teresa Buiocchi
Teresa Buiocchi (right) with faculty mentor Dave Fochtman As a Personal Care R&D Intern, I am working on three intertwined projects at Amway. (1) Understanding G&H Body Shampoo in the Chinese market based on a usage and attitudes study prompted by a drop in market share, (2) cost analysis of polymers, and (3) in-vitro studies to test irritation levels of formulas.
I will be presenting at Amway's World Headquarters on August 6 at 1 p.m.

Faculty mentor Dave Fochtman; Funded by Amway.

 
Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) using polymerized ionic liquid (PIL)-coated fibers with SPME-GC-FID
Katie Brandt
Katie Brandt

Solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a technique used to pre-concentrate chemical compounds from various matrices by exposing a coated fiber to the sample. This fiber is then desorbed in a gas chromatograph where the analytes are separated. In this project, new coatings based on polymeric ionic liquids (PILs) were used to identify the optimal extraction parameters for harmful aromatic compounds (polyaromatic hydrocarbons). The effect of extraction parameters on the fiber reproducibility was examined.

 

Graduate student mentor Yunjing Meng; Faculty advisor Dr. Jared Anderson; Funded by NSF grant


 
Is Sexual Behavior in the American Cockroach (Periplaneta Americana) Innate or Modified by Experience?
James Carrow
James Carrow (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl
Results to be presented in the fall of 2009 to the Aquinas College community and later to The West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference in October 31, 2009.
 
 
Faculty mentor Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
The Ethnogeography of Grand Rapids – 1920
Nicole Caswell
Nicole Caswell (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Rich McCluskey

A systematic sampling of the residents of Grand Rapids, Michigan from the 1920 US Census with special emphasis on the spatial and aocioeconomic characteristics of immigrant populations. The spatial distribution of the residents is compared to qualitative descriptions of immigrant neighborhoods and enclaves revealing significant variations between the census data and previously published historical analysis. Planned presentation at the East Lakes Division of the American Association of Geographers Conference in Dayton, Ohio, on October 24, 2009.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Rich McCluskey; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
K-step Domination
Ember Clark
Ember Clark (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Joe Spencer

We worked at and succeeded in deriving formulas for a few different kinds of graphs which would yield the domination number of the graph when given "n" and "k."  We did this mostly by constructing efficient dominating sets and finding upper bounds, lower bounds, and patterns.  We are also striving to make some more general statements involving diameter, radius, and center. Poster session at Aquinas College on October 1, 2009.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Joe Spencer; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Identifying the non-fuel layers formed from biodiesel fuels
Caylee Fias
During this summer's research, we worked with biodiesel fuel to identify the different compounds present in the two non-fuel layers that occur during formation of the fuel. The present compounds included soaps, glycerol, methanol, water and another carbon-based compound we were unable to study fully during our time this summer. We also determined many simple ways to extract the soaps present in the non-fuel layers and tested the extracted soaps for their effectiveness in cleaning grease. Planned presentation at Aquinas in September, 2009.
Faculty mentor Sister Katrina Hartman; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
Rebecca Hyatt
Rebecca Hyatt (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess

The goal of our summer research is to study the cleaving effects of the streptococcal enzyme, IdeZ, on human IgG, one type of antibody in the human immune system.  We are also exploring the relationship between the enzyme's ability to cleave IgG in the presence of iodoacetate, a known inhibitor, and cystatin c, which has been shown to enhance enzymatic activity in previous studies. Planned presentations: (1) Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Fall 2009 (2) West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference on October 31, 2009.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Nested Hyperbolic Polygons
Jullian Russo
Jullian Russo (right) with faculty mentor Dr. Mike McDaniel

We studied hyperbolic polygons. Jillian discovered some constructions which, combined with hyperbolic trigonometric formulas, give us all the angles, lengths and areas of the hyperbolic polygons and parts of hyperbolic polygons. We use her construction to prove the constructible hyperbolic regular polygons have the same number of sides as the constructible Euclidean polygons. We have a paper entitled, "Hyperbolic Polygons Spirals." It will be published in the fall 2010 Rose-Hulman Undergraduate Math Journal.

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Mike McDaniel; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Low temperature transcriptional networks and their effect on the transcript of cold-regulated
genes in Arabidopsis thaliana
Elliot C. Sedlecky
Elliot C. Sedlecky

In this lab, we are particularly interested in identifying and understanding the low temperature transcriptional networks that plants have evolved to survive freezing temperatures.  Specifically, I am working with Arabidopsis thaliana t-DNA insertion mutants in transcription factors that are believed to have roles in the low temperature transcriptional network.  I am examining these knock-out mutants for changes in expression of cold-regulated genes in response to low temperature.  I am using quantitative Real-Time PCR (qRT-PCR) to examine the transcript levels of these genes in the mutant plants compared with that of wild-type plants.  The goal is to better understand cold acclimation with an ultimate goal of decreasing crop loss due to freezing temperatures.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Sarah Jane Gilmour and Principal Investigator Dr. Mike Thomashow at Michigan State University; Funded by the MSU Undergraduate Summer Research Experience in Plant Genomics


 
Molly Soper
My project for the summer was to consolidate 4 methods of testing sunscreen actives by HPLC into one in order to increase the Amway quality assurace lab efficiency.  In addition, I optimized the method in order to use less solvent and decrease waste.  I presented at Amway on August 27, 2009. 
Mentor: Kem Charron; Funded by: Amway

 
Eric Tank
An Exploration of Iconography in the Eastern Churches
Eric Tank

My goal was to explore the icon tradition of the Eastern Churches by studying the particular method and style of Western Ukrainian Iconography. I was able to accomplish this goal by writing an icon in studio, learning the theory of iconography through lecture, and understanding the historical development of iconography by participating in various excursions to museums, churches and monasteries. Presented a general historical overview of iconography in Dr. Marko's Eastern Christian Churches class this semester. 

 

Faculty mentor Dr. Robert Marko; Partial funding from Aquinas Student Senate Grant


 
Joanne Vanderhyde and Alyssa Fleser
Joanne Vanderhyde Faculty mentor Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by URGE Grant

 
Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Christopher Madziar - The Characterization of Mucin-1 and its Associated Proteins That Carrythe Concanavalin A and Bauhinia Purpurea Lectin Binding Moieties. Intern at the Laboratory of Cancer Immunodiagnostics at VAI.
 
Emily Popma - Mutagenesis of GCCR and PTH1R as Part of the Construction of Inducible Expression Systems for GPCRs. Intern at the Laboratory of Structural Science at VAI.
 
Marian Testori - Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1: Incorporation of Mutant VP16 into the Viral Genome. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.
 

May 2008-2009

 
(SMDEP) Summer Medical Dental Program
Courtney Banks
Courtney Banks (far right) at SMDEP Involved in a six week Summer Medical Dental Program (SMDEP) designed to give students a chance to experience medicine or dentistry through observations, simulation clinics, migrant camp visits, and lectures in health care.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Douglass Jackson, DMD, Ph.D., MS at the University of Washington-Seattle
Funded by SMDEP

 
Environmental Effects on Zooplankton Cyclomorphosis
Katie Brandt & Jackie Plough
Katie Brandt with mentor Dr. Robb Bajema

Zooplankton often times go through a process called cyclomorphosis. The actual cause is unknown although predation is the most popular theory at this time. Using controlled aquatic systems, the goal of our experiment is to observe cyclomorphosis in zooplankton with the hopes of finding other factors that can induce this change. A factor that will be observed is the presence of predators, which is already believed to induce cyclomorphosis, and changing certain chemical properties of the water which includes pH, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. The results of this experiment will allow people to gain a better understanding of cyclomorphosis and the factors that allow zooplankton to undergo this physical change.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Social Capital and Entrepreneurship within the Context of La Fundacion Mariana San Isidore Labrador in
El Llano, Dominican Republic
Jessica Coffelt

This case study examined characteristics of leadership grounded in social capital and social entrepreneurship within the context of the Fundacion Mariana San Isidro Labrador in El Llano, Dominican Republic. Findings of the fieldwork conducted over several months suggest that this grassroots community development organization has a two-person leadership team that includes a social entrepreneur, and a leader who regularly invests social capital in the community. While previous research suggests using both social entrepreneurship and social capital can limit efficiency of the CDO, this examination pointed to the effectiveness of development when grounded in both. Presented at the 2009 Meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society, Des Moines, Iowa, April 2-5, 2009.

 

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kathy S. Kremer


 
Algebraic Reasoning for Teachers and Students
Stephanie DeFouw
Stephanie DeFouw with mentor Dr. Kathy Burgis Performed qualitative research to investigate the growth of teachers' algebraic reasoning, and consequent impact on classroom practice. Analyzed interviews and journals, and worked on the design of a follow-up survey. Planned presentation: Research Council for Mathematics Learning."
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Kathy Burgis
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
Mutagenesis of the recombinant streptococcal IdeZ protein and the resulting functional effects
Kyle Flippo
Kyle Flippo with mentor Dr. Jen Hess

Studied recombinant enzymes originating from a streptococcal species. We tried to create DNA mutations that might affect the functioning of the enzymes. We hope to create several amino acid substitutions in the IdeZ protein that change enzyme's function.
Planned presentations: (1) Poster presentation for Aquinas College's Mohler/Thompson Scholar symposium, September 2008. (2) Poster presentation at the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Semi-annual meeting, October 10-11 2008, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI. (3) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, November 1, 2008, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Solid phase micro extraction using ionic liquid as a stationary phase
Tien Ho
Tien Ho in the lab. I coated a bare 50 micron column fiber with an ionic liquid and used this fiber to extract organic analytes (such as esters). After extracting these analytes, I desorbed them into the gas chormatograph and, based on the output, I determined the extraction efficiency of the coated fiber, as well as its reproducibility.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Jared Anderson at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Grad student mentor: Christa Graham at the University of Toledo in Ohio, Funded by NSF Grant

 
All chord diagrams from the wheel are self-invertible
Jane Kraemer
Jane Kraemer (bottom right) with mentor Dr. Michael McDaniel (far left) The knot invariants of finite type can be studied using chord diagrams - oriented circles with chords. Finding the existence or non-existence of a non-invertible chord diagram remains an open question. We show that any chord diagram of odd order which has a closed vertex path using alternating arcs of the outer circle is self-invertible. This partially answers the open question in the negative. Submitting paper to "The Journal of Knot Theory and Its Ramifications." Jane's paper "Fibonacci numbers when counting chord diagrams" was accepted at the Pi Mu Epsion Journal.
>>Download Jane Kraemer's Paper (pdf)
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael McDaniel; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
Stress in Correlation with Emotional Attachments: A Study of Undergraduates
Kelsey Leonard
Kelsey Leonard (left) with mentor Terry Keller This research hypothesized that if a student does not have a high emotional attachment with his or her parents, they may lack self-efficacy, leading them to feel stressed in overwhelming situations. Research was grounded in Bandura's theory of self-efficacy. Analysis of two questionnaires administered to undergraduate students identified no correlation within the variables of age, year in school, the amount the individual talks to their parents each week, and whether they live on campus or commute. This suggests that having a high emotional attachment with parents does not mediate students' stress in overwhelming situations.
 
Faculty mentor: Terry Keller, Department of Psychology

 
Comparison of Various Population Parameters for Green Frogs (Rana clamitans) Across Three Different Wetland Habitats at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Becca Lodewyk
Becca Lodewky in the field. We are studying how populations of Green Frogs vary across three different wetland habitats. Some factors we are comparing are the sizes of adults, the ratio of males to females, timing of breeding activity, and development of tadpoles at each location. We are also comparing habitat parameters such as water temperature, air temperature, vegetation, temporary vs. permanent habitats, and other factors of each habitat. With this data we can see which habitats are better suited for reproduction and survival.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Stephen Burton from Grand Valley State University, Funded by PCCI Faculty-in-residence Program

 
Nocturnal Thermal Stratification in Selected Valleys at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute and Conklin, Michigan
Melissa Menerey & Meghan Fish
Melissa Mereney (left) and Meghan Fish in the field. We are looking to see how temperature stratification develops throughout the evenings, how wind speed will influence stratification, how elevation will influence, and how vegetative cover will influence such stratification. We've selected several sites at Pierce Cedar Creek & Conklin, MI and monitored the temperature at the top, middle and bottom of all hills. We've also been recording wind speeds at both locations.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Paul Bieneman
Funded by URGE Grant

 
Amplifying and Sequencing DNA from Common Garden Plants Utilizing
Universal Primers for the potential use in DNA Barcoding
Ivana Pasalic
Ivana Pasalic in the lab

We extracted and amplified approximately 600bp of DNA from common plants, including tomato, green pepper, chives, and watermelon. We first tested a set of primers suspected to be universal across a diverse range of plant families. Finding that these primers worked well, we proceeded to sequence the DNA that was amplified. We hope to find enough differences between these sequences that they could be used to identify the plant species. Presentations included (1) Poster presentation at Aquinas' Mohler/Thompson Scholar symposium, September 2008. (2) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, November 1, 2008, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Ionic Liquid Crystalline Compounds of Transition Metals with Tetraalkylammonium Ligands: Synthesis and Thermal Properties of [(C18H37)2(CH3)2N]2[MX4], M = Cr3+, Mn2+, Fe2+, Fe3+, Co2+, Ni2+, Cu2+, Zn2+, Pd2+, Pt2+, X = Cl, Br
Molly Soper
Molly Soper in the lab. We synthesized twelve compounds by combining one of ten transition metal halides and either dimethyldioctadecylammonium chloride or the analogous bromide. In compounds of this type, the long-chain organic ligand produces liquid crystalline phases near room temperature while the metal ion may contribute other interesting physical properties. Differential Scanning Calorimetry was used to characterize the phase transition behavior of each compound.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
The Influence of Allatectomy on the Sexual Behavior of Male Periplaneta Americana (American cockroach)
Marian Testori
Marian Testori Juvenile hormone (JH) is produced by a pair of glands known as the corpora allata found posterior to the brain of insects. JH has been well-studied in female insects with respect to reproduction. However, the role of JH in male insect sexual behavior has been minimal. This study investigated how the sexual behaviors of male American cockroaches are possibly affected by the removal of the corpora allata.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

 
Measuring Self-esteem, Leadership, Self-efficacy, and Civic Engagement in At-risk Adolescent Girls
Elise Wisnieski
Elise Wisnieski (left) with mentor Kathy Kremer

This study examined the effects of a high school leadership program on self-esteem, leadership, self-efficacy, and civic engagement among program participants by analyzing responses from questionnaires completed before and after completing the program. Results indicate increases in self-esteem and self-efficacy levels from pre-test to post-test, but little increase in civic engagement and leadership levels. These findings are consistent with previous research on self-esteem and self-efficacy in adolescent girls (Gibbs 1985, Gurney 1986, Orenstein 1994 and Steese et al. 2006). An additional finding is how leadership is defined by program participants and the implications this has for use of standard measures of leadership in sociological research.

 

Presented at the 2009 Meetings of the Midwest Sociological Society, Des Moines, Iowa, April 2-5, 2009.
Presented at the 2009 Michigan Campus Compact Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich, February 12 & 13, 2009.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Kathy S. Kremer; Research supported by: Michigan Colleges Foundation Earhart Emerging Scholar Award


 
Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Left to right: Randi Van Ocker, Kevin Coalter, Kathleen Pollock, Vinh Ho, Christina Gourlay

Randi Van Ocker-Search for an in vivo template: Examining the Evolutionary Conservation of the C-Reaction Protein-Kininogen Complex in Mus musculus. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Kevin Coalter -
Identification of Human PXDNL as a Mediation of Oxidative Stress. Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Kathleen Pollock - Establishing a Model for Human Osteosarcoma and Therapy. Intern at the Laboratory of Noninvasive Imaging and Radiation Biology at VAI.

 

Vinh Ho - The TDH3prom/rt-TA-M2 Dual System and its Effects on Tetracycline-Regulated Gene Expression in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Intern at the Laboratory of Structural Sciences at VAI.


Christina Gourlay
- Analysis of ARS606 Origin Structure in Saccharomyces cerevisiae for Identification of an Inhibitory Sequence Element. Intern at the Laboratory of Chromosome Replication at VAI


 

May 2007-2008

 
Kevin Coalter
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant
 
Mutated Immunoglobulin-degrading Enzymes of Streptococcus Species and Their Effects on Human IgG
Jamie Fink
Jamie Fink in the lab.

We studied recombinant enzymes originating from two streptococcal species. We tried to create DNA mutations that might affect the functioning of the enzymes. We were successful in creating one serine to alanine amino acid substitution in the IdeZ protein that seemed to abolish the enzyme's function. Presentations: (1) Oral presentation for Aquinas College's Mohler Scholar symposium, September 26, 2007. (2) Poster presentation at the Michigan Branch of the American Society for Microbiology Semi-annual meeting, October 12 & 13, 2007, Traverse City, Mich. (3) Poster presentation at the West Michigan Undergraduate Scientific Research Conference, October 19 2007, Van Andel Institute, Grand Rapids, Mich.

 

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jen Hess; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant


 
Lead Concentrations in Soils at Fruit Orchards in the Grand Rapids Area
Shannon Henderson
Shannon Henderson In the 1940s, lead arsenate was frequently applied to apple trees as a pesticide. To determine whether this compound persists in the soil, and at what level, we quantified the concentration of lead in soil samples taken from apple orchards using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry.

Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Columbus, Ohio, June 2008.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen; Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Jane Kraemer
Faculty mentor: Dr. Michael McDaniel
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Audrey Sanders
Faculty mentor: Dr. Tom Bahl
Funded by Mohler Summer Research Grant

Formation of Pierce Cedar Creek Institute Interactive Tree Key for Common Plants Along Trails
Molly Soper
Molly Soper in the field. Surveyed angiosperm plants along the orange trail of PCC. Recorded species, morphological traits, location, and abundance of plants. This information was then utilized in the formation of an electronic interactive key for visitors to utilize to aid in identification of the plants.

Presentations: Oral presentation at Pierce Cedar Creek for URGE members, September 2007.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Summer Silvieus
Funded by URGE Grant

Kathleen Pollock
Faculty mentor: Dr. Claire Hartmann-Thompson at Michigan Molecular Institute
Funded by REU Grant

Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study
Van Andel Institute (VAI) Student Independent Study

Liz Block - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI. Started a full-time position fall 2007

Krysta Collins - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Natalie Kent - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI. Started a full-time lab tech position in summer 2007.

Sara Kunz - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

 

Mien Nguyen - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Audrey Sanders - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.

Rebecca Trierweiler - Intern at a Laboratory at VAI.


 

May 2006-2007

 
An Analytical Study of Heavy Metal Concentrations In Soils at Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Rob Sturm and Lianne Griffiths
(Left to right:) Dr. Elizabeth Jensin, Rob Strum, Lianne Griffiths Vehicular traffic is thought to be the main source of roadside pollution. We quantified the concentration of lead, copper, and zinc in soils near roads using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry to determine whether distance from the road bed was correlated to metal concentration.

Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Covington, Kentucky, May 2007.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by URGE Grant

Jessica Higgins
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema
Funded by URGE Grant

 
Kyler Carroll
Faculty mentor: Dr. Cora Lind at the University of Toledo
Funded by REU Grant

 

May 2005-2006

 
Water Chemistry of Brewster Lake, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Meghann Broderick and Melissa Conklin
Melissa Conklin (left) and Meghann Broderick Seven properties of the water of Brewster Lake were measured weekly for ten weeks as indicators of water quality. Surface temperature, pH, alkalinity, and conductivity were measured and the concentrations of phosphate, nitrate, and dissolved oxygen were determined. Presented at the Central Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Frankenmuth, Michigan, May 2006.
 
Faculty mentor: Dr. Elizabeth Jensen
Funded by URGE Grant

 
David Baylis and Loreina Van Strien
Faculty mentor: Dr. Robb Bajema
Funded by URGE Grant