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Summer Research: 2009 Projects

2009 science summer research projects

During the summer of 2009, 81 student students worked on 57 different research projects across the science division.

Here is a sampling of those projects, organized by scientific field:


  • Ben Konynenbelt and Dan Minarik worked with John Ubels to develop and evaluate eye drops for the treatment of dry eye syndrome.
  • Peter Dornbos traveled with Keith Grasman to the Adirondack Mountains in New York to study the impact of airborne mercury on the immune function of Common Loons (birds).
  • Jodi Unema and Josh Garone worked in Calvin's Ecosystem Preserve conducting a census of breeding birds, a sampling of small mammals and a census of the preserve's tree population.


Computer science

  • Nat Burns worked with Harry Plantinga to develop a method to use algorithms and similarity measures to search for similarities in musical scores.


  • Nate Gifford studied existing recycling technology with Aubrey Sykes in order to see improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of recycling programs over time.
  • Amanda Hayes worked with David Wunder to investigate the water treatment properties of bagasse charcoal for developing global regions.

Geology, geography and environmental studies

  • Andrew Quackenbush worked with Johnathan Bascom (GEO) to illustrate the first atlas to be published of Africa's newest country: Eritrea. The atlas will be used as a textbook at universities and schools in Eritrea.

Mathematics and statistics

  • Sarah Snoeyink and Ethan Van Andel worked together with Michael Bolt (mathematics) on numerical conformal mapping and potential theory in the plane.

Physics and astronomy

    A physics researcher
    Nathan Meyers studied lipid phase transitions with Paul Harper.
  • Andrew Harmon and Zach Smith worked with Matt Walhout to produce and study an unusal molecule, the krypton molecule.
  • Katherine Shomsky, Peter Plantinga, Tim Atallah and Zach Smith worked as a team with Stan Haan in an ongoing project in theoretical physics investigating the mechanisms by which lasers with visible or infrared wavelengths remove two electrons from atoms.
  • Luke Lesiman studied the cool cores in the spaces between galaxies with Deborah Haarsma.


  • Charlotte Du Laney studied the neuronal function of Probsts bundles in brain tissue with Paul Moes.


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Learn more

See a complete list of the 2009 summer research fellowships.

Read about five science students who received prestigious Goldwater Scholarships to conduct summer research.

Ecosystem Preserve summer researchers

Watch two students in their daily work in the Calvin College Ecosystem Preserve.