Students, faculty benefit from Summer Scholars program

The summer months offer SUNY Oswego students both a break from the classroom setting and an opportunity to take what they have learned and put it to practical use with grant-funded research projects.

The Summer Scholars Program provides a total of $50,000 in stipends to students involved in research projects with faculty members. The program was made possible by donors to SUNY Oswego and the Oswego College Foundation.

Several academic disciplines were involved in summer research projects, spanning the sciences of biology, physics, chemistry and earth science; social sciences such as communication studies, political science and psychology; as well as the arts and creative disciplines. Students and faculty took part in research projects outside of their major area of study, making this an enlightening experience for all involved because of the convergence of academic perspectives.

Casey Raymond, a participating professor in the program, praised the Summer Scholars Program and its success: “It’s a great opportunity for students to be able to participate in research and work with other departments.”

Brandon Jardine, a senior biology major, worked with earth science department professors, Diane Boyer and Anthony Kettle, on his project titled “Past Climate and the Distribution of Marine Mollusks.” He sought to determine where mollusks lived in the past compared to where they now live to determine climate changes and effects of climate on animal populations.

Jessica Lallier, also a senior biology major, focused on a relatively untapped biological disorder, Metabolic Syndrome, which has been linked to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Her project was titled “Proteomics Study for Biomarkers of the Metabolic Syndrome in Children.” Lallier, with the help of biology professor James A. Mackenzie, took 32 children’s blood samples and sent them to Arizona for analysis. They found three proteins that are potentially biomarkers for Metabolic Syndrome in children.

Mark Potter, a senior with a dual major in accounting and information science, worked on a project with the physics department titled “Integrating Touch Based Technologies into the Classroom.” The central focus of Potter’s research was how technology affects student learning. He developed a multi-touch board to be integrated in a physics classroom. The multi-touch board combines reading, writing, aural, kinesthetic, and visual learning styles into one tool with the objective of enhancing student comprehension.

Tim Humeston, a graduate student in the chemistry department, collaborated with Martha Bruch on a project titled “Comparative Studies of Octapeptin and Polymyxin B.” Their goal was to verify their understanding of the chemical, Polymyxin B, found in some antibiotics, such as Neosporin. Humeston explained that as bacteria build resistance to antibiotics, there is a pressing need to find a way to kill drug-resistant bacteria; studying Polymyxin B is useful because fully understanding how antibiotics work could increase their effectiveness against drug-resistant bacteria.

Students presented their research at a poster presentation on Friday, September 17, the same day as the groundbreaking ceremony for the new science facilities. As enthusiasm and excitement during the event clearly showed, the Summer Scholars Program was a great success. SUNY Oswego students are continuing to build upon their academic knowledge base with meaningful, influential research.

Story: Brian Schaedler, senior English major; Video: Emi Williams, senior broadcasting major

(Posted: Oct 14, 2010)

Tags: summer scholars, science, intellectual rigor