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Westminster announces 2024 Summer Research Fellows

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Posted on Friday, May 24, 2024

For the eighth consecutive year, the Westminster College Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research has awarded Summer Research Fellowships to student-faculty research teams.

This year, the highly competitive fellowship was awarded to 10 teams, enabling Westminster faculty and students to engage in significant projects during the summer. Collaborators from all academic disciplines were encouraged to apply.

This year’s fellowship winners and research projects are:

Alexandria Bender, a rising sophomore honors student and biology major from New Castle, Pa., and Dr. Helen Boylan '95, professor of chemistry, on the project, “The Effects of Nature Theory on Stress.”

Rachel Brady, a rising junior honors student and biology major from Columbus, Pa., and Dr. Adam Blumenthal, assistant professor of math and computer science, on the project, “System to Measure Indoor Shotput Throws.”

Jonas Clark, a rising senior accounting and finance double major from Montgomery Village, Md., Keith Bittel ’95, assistant professor of business, and Jennifer Tuttle Waldo ’90, assistant professor of business, on the project, “Comprehensive Research Initiative Aimed at Investigating the Pedagogical Approaches Used to Engage Students in Finance and Accounting within K-12 Education.”

Erin DaRe, a rising junior history major from Mars, Pa., and Dr. Angela Lahr, associate professor of history, on the project, "Do Hobbyists View History Differently?"

Gabriela Garza, a rising senior biochemistry major from Spring Hill, Tenn., and Dr. Jessica Sarver, associate professor of chemistry, on the project, "To Ferment or Not to Ferment: Exploring the Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties of Kombucha Tea."

Lily Hefner, a rising senior honors student and molecular biology and criminal justice double major from Washington, Pa., and Dr. Marosh Furimsky, associate professor of biology, on the project, "Identifying Genes Affected by MAO Inhibition."

Matthew Howard, a rising senior biology major from Grove City, Pa., and Dr. Diana Ortiz, associate professor of biology, on the project, "What Is the Efficacy of Piper nigrum Extract as a Repellent on the Feeding Behaviors of Aedes albopictus Mosquitoes?”

Talia Morgenstern, a rising junior biology major from New Wilmington, Pa., and Dr. Joshua Corrette-Bennett, associate professor of biology, on the project, "Effects of Neuropeptide Y on S. aureus Biofilm Formation.”

Sydney Rensel, a rising senior English major from Evans City, Pa., and Dr. Robert Craven ’13, assistant professor of English, on the project, "Hidden Casualties of War: How Anti-War Novels Highlight the Unseen Casualties of War."

Chloe Smith, a rising junior English major from Brookville, Pa. and Dr. Kristianne Kalata ’00, associate professor of English, on the project, "Contrasting Quality in Contemporary Romance Novels: A Study of Tropes, Sex Scenes, and Social Media Influence."

The fellowship includes stipends for undergraduate researchers and their faculty mentor to work on a research project lasting four to six weeks.  Housing costs for those students who wish to remain on campus during their research are also covered by The Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research.

For more information on the program, please contact Dr. Patrick Lackey, director of the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research and associate professor of chemistry, at