20 students awarded Oglethorpe undergraduate research funding

Twenty Oglethorpe University students have received funding from Oglethorpe’s Student Research Development Fund, administered by the Philip Weltner Library, to support their undergraduate research

Students can apply annually for funding to help with costs incurred while conducting or presenting research. Funds may be used for attending conferences, research-related equipment, and project and logistical expenses.

Applications were evaluated by a committee that included Eli Arnold ’06, Dr. Stephen Craft, Chamyre Hynson, Dr. Xiangyi Kong, Derek Otis, Dr. Karen Schmeichel and Dr. Justin Wise.

Since 2016, approximately 80 Oglethorpe student-scholars have now received these grants for research in a range of disciplines, including art history, biology, English, biopsychology, chemistry, linguistics, mathematics, psychology, sociology, theatre and philosophy.

This year, 11 students received grants for travel expenses to attend and present their research at the 2024 Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) conference in Orlando in March. These students are conducting undergraduate research under the mentorship of Dr. Brooke BaysDr. Lisa Hayes and Dr. Justin Wise.

Isabel Berlin ’24, Psychology
Sarah Clayton ’24, Psychology
Porter Deal ’25, Biopsychology
Sarah Farmer ’24, Psychology
Mekela Iorio ’25, Psychology
Piper Lashley ’24, Psychology
Asyl Nukpi ’24, Psychology
Emily Moore ’24, Psychology
Brittany Rosser ’24, Psychology
Alexandra Swanson ’24, Biopsychology
Jose Valtierra ’24, Business

Karla Tecum ’24 (Chemistry) and Chloe White ’24 (Chemistry) were awarded funding to continue their ongoing research on the kinetics of polymer formation and to attend the October 2024 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (SERMACS) in Atlanta. “At SERMACS we plan to present results that we hope can lead to a publication and/or a new lab experiment for an upper-level chemistry course at Oglethorpe,” Tecum wrote in the grant application. Both have been working with Dr. Gregory Gabriel.

Aitana Regalado ’24 (Chemistry) and Cait Bradley ’24 (Chemistry) will use their awards to attend the 2024 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Atlanta and present their research experiments “that monitor how natural molecules (i.e. amino acids and carbohydrates) change their structure under different physiological conditions (i.e. pH and temperature).” Both are under the mentorship of Dr. Gregory Gabriel.

Felipe De Araujo Ferreira ’24 (Chemistry) and Gerardo Gomez ’25 (Chemistry) will use their grants to cover the cost of attending the recent 2023 Southeastern Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society in Durham where they presented research conducted with Dr. Allison Roessler in summer 2023. Their continuing research is in the area of polymer mechanochemistry, which involves generating “chemical reactions using mechanical force, sound and even light,” Gomez wrote in his application. Specifically, the molecule Oxanorbornadiene is used as “a model to understand mechanical activity,” which could “allow for the design of tunable force-sensing material,” explained De Araujo Ferreira in his application.

Vladislav Stolbennikov ’25 (English) will apply his funding to the purchase of equipment needed to continue Optics and 3D printing research, under the mentorship of Dr. Mariel Meier. Stolbennikov is working on designing and 3D printing parts and equipment that can be used in the lab — and save costs in the lab. He is planning to write a research paper to document and test the 3D-printed parts he’s developed.

Malaika Taylor ’24 (Biopsychology) will apply her funding to purchase lab equipment and supplies for a research project that “investigates the function of the novel proximally located ciliary protein FAP93 (flagellar associated protein 93) using Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a green algaeea, as a model genetic system.” Taylor has been conducting independent research with Dr. Lea Alford since November 2022 and is applying to biophysics doctoral programs. She plans to submit her research for publication.

Citlali Gervacio Zavala ’25 (Biology) was awarded funding to purchase lab materials for her research in ciliary biology, under the mentorship of Dr. Lea Alford. Gervacio Zavala plans to apply the Oglethorpe Honors Program and present the research at a national conference in 2024.

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