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Students pursue research in Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program

Muskingum University students from a wide variety of academic disciplines dedicated their summer to advanced levels of research as part of the university’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.

The program allows students and faculty to immerse themselves in the pursuit of specific and challenging areas of research that the students study during the regular school year.

To be considered for a fellowship, students must write a detailed proposal of what they intend to study and what they hope that study will achieve. This is done in tandem with the faculty members with whom they intend to work, and who must provide the formal nomination for the fellowship. Proposals are then considered by the office of the vice president of academic affairs and ultimately approved by the president of the university. 

Anna Mayo ’17, a chemistry major, developed an assay for the detection and quantification of a type of mutation in DNA known as abasic sites to help determine the efficacy of chemotherapeutic cancer treatments.  Mayo worked with Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Deepamali Perera.

Landis Bates ’18, a petroleum geology major, worked on a gas shale retorting experiment that can help reveal the potential for gas production in shale formations.  Bates studied with Professor of Chemistry Dr. Ray Rataiczak and Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Eric Law. 

Trevor Basham ’16, a petroleum geology major, worked to develop and test a geographic information system to determine landslide susceptibility in Muskingum County.  He studied with Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Stephen Van Horn. 

Whitney Rice Stesen ’17, a sociology major, spent the summer with the Noble County Genealogical Society to uncover, examine and catalog headstones believed to be buried in the Sarahsville Cemetery.  The information from those stones will be integrated into existing documentation on the cemetery.  Stesen was advised by Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Sandra Schroer. 

Aaron Vance ’16, a music education major, created band transcriptions for musical compositions that were originally intended for another instrument.  The work included Johann Sebastian Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor, and combining that with Bach's Little Fugue in G minor.  That transcription will be performed this fall by the Muskingum University Wind Ensemble.  Vance also transcribed three dances by Brazilian composer Camargo Guarnieri that were originally written for piano and were at some point transcribed for orchestra.  He transcribed the pieces for band, and it is believed that this is the first time that has been done.  Vance was advised by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. David Turrill. 

Camille Walker ’18, a biology major; and Harrison Raub ’18, a biology and environmental science major; were part of a larger team of researchers who wanted to better understand the ecology of grassland birds living in areas adjacent to The Wilds wildlife preserve and research facility in Cumberland, Ohio.  The students studied with Dr. James Dooley, the Bill and Martha Lovejoy Distinguished Professor in Biology; and Dr. Danny Ingold, the Homer A. Anderson Distinguished Professor in the Natural Sciences. 

Erica Winland ’17, an environmental science major, collaborated with the Muskingum Soil and Water Conservation District to study agricultural nutrient efficiency by analyzing water, soil and plant samples in Muskingum County.  Winland was advised by Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Lois Zook-Gerdau. 

Taylor Little ’16, a history major, wrote a scholarly article on the history of the Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, where 2,260 Confederates--mostly POWs from the Camp Chase Prison--are buried in the Hilltop neighborhood of Columbus.  Little collaborated with Dr. William Kerrigan, the Arthur G. Cole and Eloise Barnes Cole Distinguished Professor of American History.