OU’s annual “STEMFest” connects students with undergraduate research opportunities

Recently, more than 50 students attended STEMFest, a poster session hosted by faculty eager to recruit Oglethorpe’s young scientists for hands-on research.

An annual tradition, STEMFest allows attendees to connect face-to-face with professors while learning about valuable research opportunities that have helped students acquire course credit, publish studies, attend conferences and compete for grants and awards while working side-by-side with OU faculty.

Dr. Morgan Vaughn talks to students at STEMFest

Asst. Professor of Chemistry Dr. Morgan Vaughn speaks to curious students

“Student research experience should be a part of every student’s undergraduate experience,” says Professor of Physics Dr. Michael Rulison, who presented his physics research at STEMFest. “We are making strides towards that with both embedded research and independent research.”

Several enthusiastic faculty presented at STEMFest, including:

  • Dr. Michael Rulison – (1) Measuring Ionospheric Disturbances Using VLF Radio Signals; (2) Applying the Concept of Self-Organized Criticality to a Variety of Physical Systems; (3) Construction of a Muon Detector Array.
  • Dr. Ashley Perko – Cosmic fluid dynamics
  • Dr. Allison Roessler – Computational materials chemistry
  • Dr. Karen Schmeichel and Dr. David Katz – Epigenetic regulation of stem cell fate and development in C. elegans
  • Dr. Andrew Walden – Electrochemistry, synthesis and catalysis
  • Dr. Morgan Vaughn – Investigating the inhibition mechanism of the anti-diabetes drug pioglitazone on the mitochondrial protein, mitoNEET
  • Dr. Roarke Donnelly – MAPS bird banding

The Science Research Review Committee (SRRC) — responsible for reviewing student research applications — has put out a call to all interested students. Each professor listed above and more are actively recruiting students for opportunities. Interested students should contact the relevant faculty member with any questions.

“Genuine bench research experience is integral to the professional development for any students wishing to go on to any number of postgraduate and work experiences after Oglethorpe,” says Professor of Biology Dr. Charles Baube. “We are committed to these collaborations — both to continue our own research and professional development programs and to offer students the chance to become involved as a crucial step in their own professional development.”

The completion of the I.W. “IKE” Cousins Center for Science and Innovation in 2019 opened new doors to Oglethorpe students pursuing research opportunities. Discipline-specific laboratory classrooms for PhysicsBiology, and Chemistry, plus independent study labs, open study rooms, workshops and faculty offices offer a state-of-the-art environment for scientific research.

Additionally, research funding is available to Oglethorpe undergraduates, thanks to the Philip Weltner Library student research development fund. Students may apply annually for funding to defray costs incurred while conducting or presenting research. Applications open in late fall.

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