Science research is thriving on campus this summer due to the time and effort of dedicated students and faculty.
A prominent feature of an Ohio Wesleyan University education is the chance for students to learn independently outside of the classroom, whether it is through Travel-Learning Courses, internships, or OWU’s Summer Science Research Program (SSRP).
Shane Gorbett ’15, a pre-professional zoology and Spanish double major, is among the students participating in this year’s SSRP, which has been part of the OWU experience for 20 years. The 10-week program enables students to work with faculty mentors to conduct independent research.
“This program let me stay where I was comfortable and do research,” says Gorbett of Galion, Ohio. “It is one of the main reasons I came to OWU.”
The junior’s studies focus on looking at male competition and mating behavior in fish. He spends his days in a room filled with fish tanks, examining their behavior and characteristics.
Through his research, Gorbett says he has learned a lot that will help him in the future, such as how to use a professional software and terminology.
Gorbett says he hopes to publish a scientific paper about his studies and continue his research after the summer. He is working on the project with Shala Hankison, Ph.D., assistant professor of zoology.
Robert Elder ’15 stayed in Delaware to study nuclear physics. The summer research includes studying data from Florida State University. He is part of a team looking at the structures of nuclei and how the nuclei go from high energy to low.
The students work with professional computer programs to study the nuclei. Elder, a physics and mathematics major, says he has learned much more about nuclear physics since he has started the research.
“A lot of the techniques used will help in future labs and classes,” says Elder of South Charleston, Ohio.
Elder also says he hopes to continue his research after the SSRP concludes. He is working with OWU faculty mentor Robert Haring-Kaye, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and astronomy.
Hayley Winslow ’14, a genetics and Spanish major, is studying plants this summer.
“I’m working in Dr. [Chris] Wolverton’s lab studying gravitropism in plants, basically how they can sense which way is down and grow their roots accordingly,” says Winslow of Minneapolis, Minn. Wolverton, Ph.D., is a professor of botany/microbiology.
Winslow agrees with the others that this summer research will help her with her education and future outside of Ohio Wesleyan.
On Sept. 16, students reveal their research results at the Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium for all those to see. The event, from noon to 1 p.m. in the atrium of the Schimmel/Conrades Science Center, is open to the public.