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Press Releases

Friday, August 6, 1999

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience June 3-August 15

SALISBURY, MD--The Richard A. Henson School of Science and Technology at Salisbury State University is directing a new undergraduate research program called SURE (Summer Undergraduate Research Experience) from June 3-August 15. Eight students from four different academic departments-biology, chemistry, geography and mathematics-in the Henson School are participating, each with a faculty mentor to direct their research and receives a stipend for work performed.

There are two goals for the pilot program. The first is to provide students with an intense research experience. The second is to create a learning community in which students and faculty share their research goals and methodology.

Majors, Shawn Kieselmann (Hackettstown, NJ), Laura Young (Baltimore, 21227) and Jenna Murfree (Salisbury) are conducting research in the biological sciences.

Kieselmann, working with Dr. Samuel Geleta, is determining optimum soil fertilizer phosphorus levels required for high quality yield of watermelon and corn.

Under the direction of Dr. Kimberly Hunter, Young is using molecular techniques to distinguish between different species of Larrea (creosote bush). Her findings will be presented at the combined meeting of the Society for Systematic Biology, American Society of Naturalists and the Society for the Study of Evolution.

Murfee, also under Hunter's direction, is examining four populations of Phragmites australis (common reed).

Chemistry major Dennis Harris (Perryville), under the direction of Dr. Linda Bush, is working on an ozone measurement project funded by the NASA-Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. The results of the study will be used to set protocols for students measuring ozone for NASA's GLOBE project, a K-12 educational outreach effort.

Under the direction of Dr. E.J. Crane, Chau Cao (Germantown) is conducting a biochemistry project in how organisms that live in undersea volcanic vents and geothermal hotsprings are able to survive the extreme heat of their environments. To understand this phenomenon it is necessary to characterize a class of enzymes made by these microorganisms. Cao is working on a system which has a common laboratory bacteria, E. coli, to produce the enzymes from these organisms.

Under the direction of Dr. Michael Scott and Dr. Mara Chen, geography majors Linda LeVay (Sewell, NJ) and Ryan Clary (Wappingers Falls, NY) are conducting two research projects in the new NSF funded geography computer lab. The first project will assess the accuracy of the new land cover map of Worcester County using geographic information systems (GIS) and global positioning systems (GPS). The second involves creating a Wicomico County health atlas of major rural health indicators using GIS and then disseminating the information using the World Wide Web.

Bianca Townsend (Salisbury), a math major, is also working in the computer labs under the direction of Drs. Michael Bardzell and Kathleen Shannon of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. Townsend is working on understanding complex algebraic structures via computer graphics.

At the conclusion of the program the SURE group plans to host a small symposium where the students works will be showcased to the campus community.

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