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Summer Research: 2016 Projects

2016 science summer research projects

During the summer of 2016, 88 students worked on 55 different research projects across the science division.

Students were involved in a wide variety of research projects both on and off campus.  Projects ranged from cancer research to a water supply design for gardens to studying hind limb form and function in early cetaceans to studying the orbital eccentricity of a specific binary star. Research took place in campus labs and outdoors.  Some students traveled to other states as part of their research and some “traveled” to outer space.

Below is a sampling of 2016 projects:


Matthew Schepers studied how ant gut bacteria contributed to ant evolution. He was supervised by Professor John Wertz.



Chemistry and Biochemistry





27 students participated in summer research with 12 Chemistry faculty members. Allie Bogner and Cambrynne Rietberg studied the ubiquitination of Ras, a protein in which small changes cause more than one third of all human cancers, and how it can lead to an understanding of ways to treat Ras-driven cancers. Professor Rachael Baker was their supervisor.

Computer Science

Chris Dilley and Patrick Crain worked with Professor Joel Adams to develop a graphics library that would help educators teach computer science students about parallel programming. See the poster he prepared for the Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair.


Tube bundles are used in the chemical industry as either heat exchangers or flow strighteners. Matthew Boelens studied the effects that different types of tube bundles have on the flow of air through a section of pipe. He was supervised by Professor Aubrey Sykes. Read the summary of Matthew's work.

Geology, geography and environmental studies

Daniel Blakemore and Nathaniel Bos worked with Professor Renee Sparks to analyze 11 copper samples (some from Calvin's own Dice Mineralogical Museum) to identify metal relationships within them. See the poster they prepared for the Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair.

Mathematics and statistics

Joyce Park and Sarah Strikwerda worked with Professor Hyunyi Jung to analyze data collected from 5 universities to determine what methods were most helpful to preservice teachers to learn about algebra and algebra teaching. See the poster they prepared for the Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair.


Josie Granner, Marianna Perez and Elise Veurink, supervised by Professor Adejoke Ayoola, participated in research begun 2 years ago concerning the promotion of preconception and reproductive knowledge. This program is now wrapping up and the students visited homes, conducted surveys and analyzed data as to birth control methods, pregnancy recognition and program drop out rate. Read the summary Josie wrote about her research.

Physics and astronomy

Jacob Hartman and Professor Ryan Balili conducted their research at the University of Pittsburgh. They conducted optical experiments at liquid helium temperature on semiconductor microcavities to measure the strong coupling of light with semiconductor excitations.










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Learn more

See a complete list of the 2016 summer research projects.

Read summaries students wrote about their projects

See posters presented at the 2016 Science Division Summer Research Poster Fair