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Twenty-Four UW Students to Receive EPSCoR Undergraduate Research Fellowships

May 21, 2013

Two dozen University of Wyoming undergraduate students will have great opportunities to become involved in scientific research this summer.

Through the Wyoming EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) office, 24 UW students received Undergraduate Research Fellowships worth up to $3,500 each to conduct research. To receive the fellowships, students wrote successful proposals to work on scientific research related to the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics (WyCEHG).

WyCEHG is a multidisciplinary center established at UW through funds from the five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to Wyoming’s EPSCoR office. The grant, the largest in UW’s 126-year history, provides for new physical and intellectual infrastructure that enables a comprehensive research program that links surface and subsurface watershed hydrology, geophysics, remote sensing and computational modeling.

While not all projects that received the fellowships are water-related, all of the fellowships are funded through the EPSCoR grant, says Steve Holbrook, a professor in UW’s Department of Geology and Geophysics and a WyCEHG co-director.

“The fellowships are a great way to further one’s experience in a lab setting and obtain real hands-on experience in a field of interest to the student,” says Lisa Marie Abeyta, coordinator of student research programs for Wyoming NSF EPSCoR. “Having the opportunity to be in the field furthers the students’ interest and experience.”

Students and their hometowns, majors and project titles are as follows:

-- Callie Berman, Boulder, Colo.; geology and environmental and natural resources/international studies; “Fate and Transport of Water in a Mountain Environment: Continuing Snowy Range Field Studies.”

-- William Chapple, Littleton, Colo.; rangeland ecology and watershed management, environmental and natural resources; “Water Partitioning in the Snowy Range Watershed.”

-- Joshua Heyer, Windsor, Colo.; geography/environmental and natural resources, “North American Monsoon Variability and Drought in the Trans-Boundary Headwaters of the Rio Grande River.”

-- Sierra Jech, Cody, earth systems science, biology; “Water Quality in the Prairie Pothole Region: Assessing Contemporary Quality Parameters for Wetland Systems.”

-- Matthew Provart, Cody, mathematics, “Modeling Fracture and Weathered Zones in the Near Subsurface.”

-- Samuel Bartko, Cheyenne, chemistry, chemical engineering; “Maximizing the Efficiency of TiO2 Solar Cells with Quantum Dots and ssDNA-Porphoryn Nanoassemblies.”

-- Bailey Hallwachs, Cheyenne, agroecology, “Optimizing Genetic Engineering Protocols for Hybrid Grape Varieties.”

-- Jesse Hinshaw, Kemmerer, chemical engineering, “Engineering Blue Light-Activated Gunayklate Cyclas for Use in Cell Biology and Agriculture.”

-- Leon Miller, Casper, secondary education in science, biology; “Side Effects of Global Warming.”

-- David Veinbergs, Grand Rapids, Mich.; mechanical engineering, “Scaling and Location Dependent Effects in Notched Woven Composites.”

-- Ashley Bucsek, Spring Lake Heights, N.J.; mechanical engineering, “The Effects of Cross-Link Density on Indentation Size Effects in Polymers.”

-- David Collins, Cheyenne, mechanical engineering, “Compression of B2 Intermetallics at the Micron-Scale.”

-- Phillip Cross, Golden, Colo.; chemical engineering, chemistry; “Electrochemical Device Fabrication for Advanced Energy Conversion.”

-- Lisa Denke, Pavillion, mechanical engineering, “Baseline Data Consolidation and Analysis: Pavillion WY Area Groundwater.”

-- Samuel Gates, Saratoga, mechanical engineering, “Mechanical Characterization of Self-Reinforced Polyphenylene for Use as an Orthopedic Biomaterial.”

-- Wendi Kuang, Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China; petroleum engineering, “Impedance Spectroscopy of Green River Oil Shales at Low Frequency.”

-- Sean McCrackin, Laramie, microbiology, “Plant Responses to Light Independent of Photosynthesis Part 2: Assessment of the Effects of Luminous Flux and the Continuation of Quantification of Photoreceptors and Morphological Traits in a Non-Photosynthetic Plant.”

-- Timothy McMaster, Heath Springs, S.C.; mechanical engineering, “Manufacturing Cost and Effort Comparison Between Infusion-Molded Vs. Pre-Impregnated Fiber Molded Wind Turbine Blades.”

-- Brandon Shadakofsky, Cheyenne, mechanical engineering, “Determination of Heat Transfer Coefficients Downstream of a Synthetic Jet.”

-- Leslie Logan, Denver, Colo.; geology, Spanish; “Organic Carbon Storage in Seminoe Reservoir.”

-- Aaron Enriquez, Cody, general biology, “Scoring of Genetically Modified C. reinhardtii Transformants for Catalase Activity, Growth Rates and H2O2 Resistance.”

-- Abigail Huyler, Fort Collins, Colo.; mechanical engineering, “Effect of Cross Sectional Variation on Carbon-Epoxy Composite Strength.”

-- David Leonhardt, Thermopolis, mechanical engineering, “Contribution of Matrix Properties to Properties Scatter in Composites.”

-- Kyle Meyers, Cheyenne, chemical engineering, “Integration of Accelerated Precipitation Softening -- Microfiltration (APS-MF) Assembly to Maximize Water Recovery from the Treatment of Brackish Water.”

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