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2019 Summer Research Fellows announced by Drinko Center

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Posted on Friday, April 26, 2019

NEW WILMINGTON, PA – Seven student-faculty pairs have been selected as the 2019 Summer Research Fellows by the Westminster College Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research.

Student and faculty partners from all disciplines were encouraged to apply for the third annual competitive research fellowship, which provides stipends for both the undergraduate researcher and his or her faculty mentor. On-campus housing is provided to recipients to help with residential costs during their four- or six-week research period.

This year’s fellowship winners and their research projects are:

Breanna Ferguson, a sophomore neuroscience major, and Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor of neuroscience, will research the social anxiety in rats using circadian rhythm and foot shock stressors. Ferguson is a daughter of Jeffrey and Kari Ferguson of Saegertown and a graduate of Saegertown High School.

Rebecca Hansen, a junior early childhood/special education major, is partnering with Dr. Sararose Lynch, associate professor of education, on the project “Development of a Problem-Based Learning Unit: Integrating Sustainability in an Early Learning Environment.” Hansen is the daughter of Marc and Andra Hansen of Rochester and a graduate of Central Valley High School.

Timothy Hering, a sophomore English/music major, will partner with Dr. Timothy Winfield, assistant professor of music, on the project “The Causes and Effects of the Involuntary Activation of the Valsalva Maneuver in Brass Instrumentalists.” Hering is from New Galilee and is a graduate of Olmsted Falls High School.

Hannah Hunter, a first-year biochemistry major, and Dr. Jessica Sarver, assistant professor of chemistry, will investigate the Alpha-synuclein binding mechanism using electron spin resonance. Hunter is the daughter of Douglas and Jennie Hunter of Fredonia and a graduate of Lakeview High School.

Maggie Manolis, a junior biology/secondary education major, and Dr. Patrick Krantz, associate professor of environmental science, are working on the project “Development of a Problem-Based Learning Unit: Modeling Experimental Design Using iButton Technology.” Manolis is the daughter of Angelo and Cynthia Manolis of Jeannette and a graduate of Jeannette High School.

Emily Marcus, a junior criminal justice studies major, is partnering with Dr. Jamie Chapman, assistant professor of sociology, to study “Frontline Mental Health Workers in Incarcerated Settings.” Marcus is the daughter of David and Joanne Marcus of Pittsburgh and a graduate of South Park High School.

Rachael Woessner, a sophomore molecular biology major, and Dr. Joshua Corrette-Bennett, associate professor of biology, are collaborating on the project “Using CRISPR-Cas to create a Staphylococcus aureus deletion mutant strain that is deficient in biofilm production.” Woessner is the daughter of Clifford Woessner of Butler and a graduate of Butler High School.

The Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research encourages and financially supports undergraduate research through various grants aimed at either the undertaking of research and creative projects at Westminster College or the external presentation and dissemination of research and creative works at conferences.

For more information, please contact Dr. Pamela Richardson, co-director of the Drinko Center, at 724-946-7286 or