Summer of Research, Internships, and Study Abroad Await Gatton Academy Students
|Author: Zack Ryle|
Date: Thursday, June 1st, 2017
Caption: Meghan Perez ('18, Greenwood HS) will engineer mutations in bacteriophages this summer with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Rodney King.
Ninety-three students from The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky will be involved in some form of summer learning. From research internships to study abroad to robust community service projects, students are gearing up for busy weeks ahead.
Notable research internships include experiences through National Science Foundation (NSF) programs and National Institute of Health (NIH) programs. The Gatton Academy also continues with its eighth summer of the Gatton Research Internship Grant and its first year with the WKU Sisterhood Research Internship Grant. Through these programs, 23 rising Gatton Academy seniors will conduct summer research. This summer also features travel and study abroad opportunities for 58 Gatton Academy students. Summer travel destinations include China, England, Estonia, Morocco, and South Korea.
“Gatton Academy students continuously seek opportunities to learn and contribute,” said Director of The Gatton Academy Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “Whether it is participating in research, volunteering in their communities, or studying abroad, Academy students are actively engaged year-round in efforts that contribute to their communities, our state, and our world. It is always exciting to see what they pursue in the summer.”
A list of grouped student summer plans (where more than one student is involved) appears below followed by individual student experiences.
Faculty-Awarded National Science Foundation Study
Three Gatton students will be working in Barrow, Alaska this summer studying the circadian rhythms of Alaskan birds with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Noah Ashley on an NSF-funded study
- Benjamin Conkright (’18) of Owensboro
- Natalie Ngong (’18) of Louisville
- Keelee Pullum (’18) of Bowling Green
National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), NSF International Research Experiences, and NSF-Funded Studies
The following four students have been selected for prestigious REUs and International Research Experiences funded through the NSF:
- Katie Alexander (’17) of Louisville will pursue a SURE-REU in Molecular Biosciences at UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
- Maxwell Conte (’18) of Bowling Green will be working on Materials Chemistry research at Changwon National University in South Korea on an NSF IRES grant with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Eric Conte.
- Aaron Kirtland (’17) of Crestwood will also work on Materials Chemistry research at Changwon National University in South Korea on an NSF IRES grant with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Eric Conte.
- Phillip Wilkerson (’18) of Russellville (’18) will study heliophysics research with astrophysicists at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Heliophysics on an NSF REU program.
National Institute of Health (NIH)
The following two students have been selected to participate in prestigious NIH programs this summer.
- Jaylon Hurt (’18) of Radcliff will research through the NIH Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons Program (STEP-UP).
- Nikitha Rajendran (’18) of Frankfort will research at the NIH Summer Internship Program (NIH-SIP).
Gatton Research Internship Grant Recipients
In its eighth year, the Gatton Research Internship Grant program provides support funding for rising seniors to conduct summer research. Twenty-one students were chosen for summer 2017:
- Margaret Cook (’18) of Union will study the interactions between Neodymium and Arsenic in varying concentrations and the effect these concentrations have on the health and bio-accumulation of the elements in ferns with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Yan Cao.
- Caleb Curry (’18) of Louisa will research stem cell-derived podocytes with Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Oliver Wessely.
- Jeraan Fernando (’18) of Union will look at the structure of the bacteriophage Moomoo with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Claire Rinehart.
- Callie Freeman (’18) of Louisville will look at mitoNEET and Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production with University of Louisville’s Dr. Michael Menze.
- Grayson Fuller (’18) of Versailles will evaluate the toxicity of engineered metal nanoparticles with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Nilesh Sharma.
- Marco Garcia (’18) of Paducah will work with Pt3Co “octapods” with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Lawrence Hill.
- Olivia Gilliam (’18) of Madisonville will research an ovarian cancer screening program under the guidance of the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Edward Pavlik.
- Emily Guernsey (’18) of Prospect will look at the function of PFKFB4 in cancer cells with University of Louisville’s Dr. Sucheta Telang.
- Camuel Hart (’18) of Morehead will be researching within Knot Theory with WKU Department of Mathematics’ Dr. Claus Ernst.
- Skylar Hornback (’18) of Sonora will look at the theoretical calculation of electron distribution in 1-Methyl-2-Mercaptoimidazole with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Edwin Stevens.
- Arjun Kanthawar (’18) of London will look at uniquely identifying parameters in a differential equation model with WKU Department of Mathematics’ Dr. Richard Schugart.
- Benjamin Kash (’18) of Bowling Green will work with Cytochrome P450 Enzymes alongside WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Rui Zhang.
- Samuel Kessler (’18) of Campbellsville will determine whether Black Soldier Fly larvae are a protein source for shrimp with Kentucky State University’s Dr. Vikas Kumar.
- Nikhil Krishna (’18) of Corbin will work on a mathematical model for healing diabetic foot ulcers with WKU Department of Mathematics’ Dr. Richard Schugart.
- Deeya Patel (’18) of Hopkinsville will research how human cells generate force with Vanderbilt’s Dr. Dylan Burnette.
- Hasan Salim (’18) of London will assess the role of Pebbled in air sac primordium invasive behavior with Department of Biology’s Dr. Ajay Srivastava.
- Harper Sewalls (’18) of Winchester will be working on the Muon g-2 experiment with Fermilab’s Dr. Chris Polly.
- Carly Taylor (’18) of Cold Spring will identify biomarkers in Stage 4 breast and ovarian cancer at the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Institute with Dr. Julia Carter.
- Mason Tomko (’18) of Glasgow will study the interactions between Neodymium and Arsenic in varying concentrations and the effect these concentrations have on the health and bio-accumulation of the elements in ferns with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Yan Cao.
- Summer Wei (’18) of Fort Mitchell will work with Stoneflies with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Scott Grubbs.
- Brian Zhu (’18) of Lexington will work on a convolutional neural network to classify 3D mammogram images with the University of Kentucky’s Dr. Jinze Liu
WKU Sisterhood Research Internship Grant Recipients
Made possible by a gift from the WKU Sisterhood in the fall of 2016, the WKU Sisterhood Research Internship Grant program offers internships for young, underrepresented women between their junior and senior years. Recipients are:
- Wendy Cecil (’18) of Bardstown will look at mercury levels in eagle wings with WKU Department of Chemistry’s Dr. Cathleen Webb.
- Meghan Perez (’18) of Bowling Green will engineer mutations in bacteriophages with WKU Department of Biology’s Dr. Rodney King.
NCSSSMST Student Research Conference
Six Gatton Academy students are presenting research this summer at the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) Student Research Conference at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA. From July 8-11, these students will join approximately 100 other students from across the country to share their research work through oral and poster presentations. Gatton Academy representatives and their presentation titles are:
- Grayson Fuller (’18) of Versailles will present “The Toxic Effects of Gold Nanoparticles on C. elegans Morphologies.”
- Arjun Kanthawar (’18) of London will present “Uniquely Identifying Parameters in a Differential Equation Model using Practical Identifiability.”
- Meghan Perez (’18) of Bowling Green will present “Using the Bacteriophage HK022 Nun Protein to Selectively Control the Expression of a Targeted Gene.”
- Keelee Pullum (’18) of Bowling Green will present “Effect of Acute Sleep Fragmentation upon Morphology and Density of Astrocytes in Hippocampal and Hypothalamic Tissue.”
- Nikitha Rajendran (’18) of Frankfort will present “The Relationship between Maternal Physical Activity and Infant Motor Development.”
- Harper Sewalls (’18) of Madisonville will present “Computer Simulations of Conformations of Large Dynamic Proteins.”
- Brian Zhu (’18) of Lexington will present “Parallelizing Monte Carlo Tree Search for Dots and Boxes.”
- Daniela Zieba (’18) of Lexington will present “Creating an Abstraction Layer and Balancing Jobs on Top of Existing Command-line Bioinformatics Pipelines and Tools.”
National Security Language Initiative-for Youth (NSLI-Y)
NSLI-Y scholarships are from the U.S. Department of State and fund students for six-to-eight weeks of summer intensive study and immersion in a critical language. The scholarship covers all program costs, travel to-and-from the host country, tuition, housing with a host family, activities and more. The following six students have received NSLI-Y Scholarships for summer language study:
- Alexander Banaszak (‘17) of Crestwood will return to China for intensive language study with his NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.
- David Ewing (‘18) of Lexington will continue his study of the Chinese language this summer with his NSLI-Y scholarship.
- Noemi Leibman (‘18) of Prospect will travel to Estonia for intensive Russian study with her NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.
- Benjamin Luckett (‘17) of Versailles will return to China with his NSLI-Y scholarship this summer.
- Evan “Van” Poole (‘18) of Central City will continue Chinese study on the NSLI-Y scholarship.
- Sarah Beth Sarver (‘18) of Glendale will travel to Morocco for intensive Arabic study this summer.
Three students will travel with the WKU Confucius Institute’s High School China Summer Bridge Program in Beijing, Xi’an, and Shanghai from June 4-18. The students are:
- Lillian Hamm (’18) of Somerset
- Brock McDaniel (’18) of Corydon
- Mia Weaver (’17) of Flatwoods
Now in its seventh year, The Gatton Academy is once again partnering with Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, to offer a study abroad course. The following students will study Honors: Introduction to Literature with Professor Walker Rutledge of the WKU Department of English:
- Jackson Abell (’18) of Barlow
- Patton Allen (’18) of Morgantown
- Olivia Bickett (’18) of Owensboro
- Ethan Brown (’18) of Paducah
- Benjamin Conkright (’18) of Owensboro
- Margaret Cook (’18) of Union
- Caleb Curry (’18) of Louisa
- Samuel Durham (’18) of Crab Orchard
- Jeraan Fernando (’18) of Union
- Callie Freeman (’18) of Louisville
- Grayson Fuller (’18) of Versailles
- Marco Garcia (’18) of Paducah
- Olivia Gilliam (’18) of Madisonville
- Emily Guernsey (’18) of Prospect
- Lillian Hamm (’18) of Somerset
- Jacob Harris (’18) of Irvine
- Camuel Hart (’18) of Morehead
- Olivia Hawkins (’18) of Scottsville
- Madeline Hulse (’18) of Owensboro
- Wren Jenkins (’18) of Ashland
- Arjun Kanthawar (’18) of London
- Benjamin Kash (’18) of Bowling Green
- Nikhil Krishna (’18) of Corbin
- Yik Kwan (’18) of Murray
- Chloe Lindsey (’18) of Leitchfield
- Tige Littlefield (’18) of Princeton
- Jack Marquardt (’18) of Bowling Green
- George Mattingly (’18) of Fort Mitchell
- Jonnah McManus (’18) of Wickliffe
- Emily Nguyen (’18) of Bowling Green
- Meigan Niu (’18) of Bowling Green
- Leah Nofsinger (’18) of Louisville
- Aidan O’Brien (’18) of Morehead
- Martin Pena (’18) of Shelbyville
- Meghan Perez (’18) of Bowling Green
- Mary Reilly (’18) of Elizabethtown
- Jaylen Rhodes (’18) of Louisville
- Keeley Ruskowski (’18) of Hardinsburg
- Hasan Salim (’18) of London
- Alexandria Scoville (’18) of London
- Selin Sergin (’18) of Somerset
- Harper Sewalls (’18) of Madisonville
- Kyler Shaw (’18) of Vine Grove
- Lindy Sipes (’18) of Hickman
- Dillon Tate (’18) of Louisville
- Carly Taylor (’18) of Cold Spring
- Alexa Thompson (’18) of Bowling Green
- Kyla Wilkie (’18) of Berea
- Morganne Williams (’18) of Hamilton
- Daniela Zieba (’18) of Lexington
Other Notable Individual Summer Experiences
For a list of other individual summer experiences, please click here.
About The Gatton Academy: Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to the Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for nine consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.
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History will be made on Nov. 29 when WKU will get its first chapter of SALUTE, a national honor society for student veterans. Seven charter members will be inducted into SALUTE at 5 p.m. in the Veterans Resource Center, 410 Tate Page Hall.
Three alumni from WKU’s Department of Geography and Geology who work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) have been assigned to Puerto Rico to assist in post-hurricane recovery efforts.
The Department of Student Financial Assistance will be closed from Wednesday, Nov. 22nd through Friday, Nov. 25th. The office will reopen on Monday, Nov. 27th.
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