Scranton Students Spend Summer on Research Projects with Faculty

September 4, 2015

The University of Scranton granted nine undergraduate students President’s Fellowships for Summer Research in 2015. The fellowships, administered by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, offer each student recipient the chance to partner with a faculty mentor for 10 weeks and complete a research project, which they proposed and designed together. Students received fellowships to complete projects in biology, chemistry, English, exercise science and psychology.

Among the research projects is one by Sara Brezinski of Scranton and Barry Kuhle, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, who used the popular dating app Tinder to study the evolutionary psychology of human mating strategies. Their project was titled “To Swipe Left or Right: Sex Differences in Tinder Profiles.”

“We’re looking at the psychology underlying mating and dating, especially the differences in how women and men sell themselves and what they seek from potential Tinder matches,” said Dr. Kuhle.

Brezinski is a senior psychology major with a minor in philosophy and a concentration in women’s studies.

Ryan Brown of Scranton partnered with Robert Smith, Ph.D., professor of biology, to undertake a project entitled “Determining the Effect of Time Since Capture on the Plasma Metabolite Concentrations in Migratory Land Birds.” Their research involved catching catbirds in Lackawanna State Park and sampling their blood to test their plasma triglyceride levels and determine their migratory condition.

“Ultimately, Ryan’s going to be critiquing the method,” said Dr. Smith.

A member of the Honors Program, Brown is a senior biology major with an English minor. 

Norman Frederick of Pittston worked with Terrence Sweeney, Ph.D., chair of the department of biology and professor of biology, to refine and specialize a mathematical model of the cardiovascular system. They titled the project “Mathematical Modeling of Cardiovascular Dysfunction.”

“We’re taking a system of 19 differential equations and accounting for everything that’s happening,” said Frederick.

A member of the Honors Program and the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program, Frederick is a senior with a triple major in biomathematics; biochemistry, cell and molecular biology; and philosophy.

Olivia Gillespie of Woodbine, New Jersey, partnered with Jones DeRitter, Ph.D., professor of English and theater, to write a series of connected short stories for her project titled “Rewriting Time in the Works of Toni Morrison and William Faulkner.” To guide her own creative writing, Gillespie studied masters of Gothic literature.

“I’m dissecting them as artists and people, and I’m dissecting their works,” said Gillespie.

Gillespie is a senior English major with a double minor in Spanish and theology.

Max Cornell of Jermyn and Timothy Foley, Ph.D., professor of chemistry, undertook a project titled “Methylglyoxal: An Alternative Metabolic Approach for Cancer Treatment.”

A member of the Honors Program, Cornell is a junior biochemistry, cell and molecular biology major with a Spanish minor.

Phillip Gilmartin of Moscow partnered with Michael Fennie, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, to complete a project entitled “Exploring a Light-Induced, Radical-Mediated Synthesis of Nitrile-Tagged Amino Acid Derivatives.”

Gilmartin, a senior member of the Honors Program, is a biochemistry major with a mathematics minor and a concentration in research.

Megan Hudock of Milnesville and Jason Graham, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics, created “A Mathematical Model of Mechanical Destruction of the Articular Cartilage in the Knee Joint.”

Hudock, a senior mathematics major with an economics/French minor, is a member of the Honors Program.

Gabriella Opalkowski of Phoenixville and Scott Breloff, Ph.D., assistant professor of exercise science and sports, researched “The Effect of Fatigue on Gait While Walking on Different Sloped Surfaces in Flip-Flops, Sneakers, and Bare Foot.”

Abigail Roselli of Romansville studied the “Development of Borylene Transfer Reactions for Alkenes” with Arthur Catino, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry.

Roselli is a senior chemistry major with a minor in mathematics.

(Above Photo) Nine University of Scranton undergraduate students were awarded President’s Fellowships for Summer Research in 2015. Among the recipients was Norman Frederick of Pittston, who worked with Terrence Sweeney, Ph.D., chair of the department of biology and professor of biology, to research “Mathematical Modeling of Cardiovascular Dysfunction.”Frederick is a member of the Honors Program and the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program, and is a triple major in biomathematics; biochemistry, cell and molecular biology; and philosophy.

(Above Photo)  Ryan Brown of Scranton was among the nine University of Scranton students who received a President’s Fellowships for Summer Research. He worked with Robert Smith, Ph.D., professor of biology, to research “Determining the Effect of Time Since Capture on the Plasma Metabolite Concentrations in Migratory Land Birds.” Brown is a biology major and member of the University’s Honors Program. 
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