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Summer Science Research Program

Now entering its 21st year, Ohio Wesleyan’s unique 10-week Summer Science Research Program (SSRP) offers students the opportunity to carry out cutting-edge research side by side with faculty mentors. Students and faculty are fully engaged partners in research projects that ignite students’ passion for learning and give them the confidence to explore areas that fire their imaginations.

Students in the program learn immediately that scientific research is different from what they experience in their classroom labs. It’s more surprising. More exciting. More challenging. More frustrating. More fun. And ultimately, much more rewarding.

At the conclusion of the program, the student participants display their project results at the Patricia Belt Conrades Summer Science Research Symposium. This poster-format gala event allows students to share their excitement about what they’ve learned and also gives them valuable practice in explaining research results to a wide spectrum of visitors. And that’s a very necessary part of being a working scientist.

But the Symposium may be only the beginning. Students often present their Summer Science Program research at state, regional, and national meetings of prestigious scientific associations. Their results are frequently published in major scientific journals. They gain priceless presentation and publication experience as they become known to the wider scientific community. What happens at the Summer Science Research Program is often the genesis of a lifelong, satisfying, and meaningful career.

Learning by Doing in Ohio Wesleyan’s 2010 Summer Science Research Program

Because process and methodology are critical to research, it is important—and enlightening—to understand what and how OWU students are learning in science laboratories every day. Here are a few examples of several 2010 SSRP projects:

Meet Ohio Wesleyan University zoology and botany-microbiology professor Laura Tuhela-Reuning, coordinator of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program (SSRP). Now in its 18th year, this unique 10-week program offers students the opportunity to work side-by-side with faculty mentors while engaging in cutting-edge scientific research.

Project Title: “Native Bacteria of Birds and Soil and Their World-wide Distribution”
Soil—whether found in Ohio or halfway around the world—contains bacteria which can be picked up and distributed by birds—and degrade their feathers. At Ohio Wesleyan, students and their professors are conducting research as part of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program, to test soil samples from around the world—to identify as many different species of the genus Bascillus, and also to test them to see if they have the ability to produce keratinase, an enzyme that actually degrades feathers…

Project Title: “The Ups and Downs of Plant Growth”
Plants are very sensitive to their environment, and constantly integrate cues such as light, gravity, and humidity to direct their growth. At Ohio Wesleyan, student researchers and their professor are conducting research as part of the Summer Science Research Program, to study the influence of light and gravity on plant growth…

Project Title: “Preparation of Complexes as Robust Catalytic Oxidants”
Water is important to all our lives, as is the constant need for pure water, free of toxic chemicals and pathogens. At Ohio Wesleyan, student scientists and their professor are conducting research as part of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program, to develop a safe, easy-to-use, inexpensive water disinfection technology based on a series of iron-based catalysts…

Project Title: “Repeatability and Consistency in Stickleback Fish”
Student and faculty researchers at OWU are looking at the behavior of the threespined stickleback fish to determine levels of consistence and repeatability. A secondary goal of this Summer Science Research Program project is to understand the relationship between consistency and repeatability at behavioral and statistical levels…

Project Title: “Recall Fluctuations in Older and Younger Adults”
Student and faculty researchers at Ohio Wesleyan University have studied fluctuations in recall access for more than two decades. At Ohio Wesleyan, student scientists and their professors are conducting further research, as part of OWU’s Summer Science Research Program, to examine the stability of recall as a function of time intervals between tests administered to participants (204 questions about the names of famous people), the amount of cue information provided, and to see if these effects are consistent for younger and older adults…

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