SU Students Excel in Summer Research

Student Summer Research

Salisbury University’s campus does not close and students don’t stop learning once the summer months hit. SU students get some of their most immersive experiences during this time between semesters. Over the summer, undergraduate and graduate students take part in research projects and have the opportunity to get up close and personal with their passions.

Follow this page and Salisbury University on Facebook and YouTube for information and videos on some of these research opportunities.
How the college generation is “Sliding into DMs”

How the college generation is “Sliding into DMs”

“Sliding into DMs” is a communication strategy that has developed organically, primarily in the college-aged generation, to use social media private messaging to connect for a romantic relationship or a casual meeting. SU student Kacie Cassar’s sponsored research project, with guidance from Dr. Lance Garmon (Psychology), looks at the intent and perception of the phenomenon.

Elephant walking in road

GPS Information Allows Study of Elephant Travel Patterns

Elephant walking in road

Studying habitual routes of elephants in Zimbabwe, SU student Trey Wehlan and Dr. Andrea Presotto (Geography and Geosciences) are investigating plans to allow the elephants and humans to live together. The sponsored research project utilizes GPS tracking information from equipped collars worn by the elephants that help Wehlan and Presotto understand their tendencies.

Watch the Video!


Blue Bird on tree link goes to Salisbury University YouTube Channel Video - The Song of the Eastern Bluebird

The Song of the Eastern Bluebird

In most songbird species, it is the male that does the majority of the singing. But in the Eastern Bluebird, the female sings an equivalent song. As part of sponsored research, SU student Colin Cassidy, with the mentorship of Dr. Jeremy Corfield (Biological Studies), is studying the differences in the song control region of the brain between male and female bluebirds.

Watch the Video!

Blue Bird on tree link goes to Salisbury University YouTube Channel Video - The Song of the Eastern Bluebird

Elephant on the Road
Elephant on the Road

Quantum Dot Solar Technology

In an effort to search for more “green” energy sources, solar power has been key, but current technology can only harness a third of the energy the sun offers. In a sponsored research project, SU junior Brandon Chang with the guidance of Dr. Lena Woodis (Chemistry) is creating quantum dots – tiny semiconductor particles – to test their efficiency in solar cell applications..

Watch the Video!


People on the beach

SU Student Investigates “Shorebreak”

Beachgoers are faced with more dangerous waves than in the past as beach replenishment seems to have created a phenomena known as “shorebreak” where waves break directly on the beach instead of out in the water. Through his sponsored research project, SU student Bradley Cullen with the mentorship of Dr. Mark Muller (Physics) is building a wave tank to study the conditions under which this happens and develop a scientific definition.

Watch the Video!

People on the beach

student in lab
student in lab

Arsenic and the Immune System

How do low doses of arsenic impact the immune system? As part of summer sponsored research, Salisbury University student Jeremie Barbosa is exploring that question with guidance from her faculty mentor, Dr. Jennifer Nyland (Chemistry). Her research could help determine if maximum exposure levels set by the World Health Organization are too high, or help make the public aware of how low levels of arsenic could affect them.

Watch the Video!


Duck Brain MRI

Brain Region Specialization

A brain is composed of many regions that all have their own unique job. These brain regions not only compete for space, but can also cooperate with other regions. In her sponsored research, SU senior Elizabeth Wilson, with the mentorship of Dr. Jeremy Corfield (Biology), is researching duck brains to understand how the regions that process smell, sound, touch and sight compete for space within a brain and how these regions work with other brain regions to improve function.

Duck Brain MRI

Ven diagram of circles
Ven diagram of circles

Identifying Ourselves Graphically

As part of a sponsored research project, SU student Grace Burton, with the mentorship of Dr. Joseph Anderson (Math and Computer Science) will be working to design and implement software that allows people to represent and explain their social identities graphically.


Line Graph example

Improving Optimization

Even on the fastest supercomputers, optimization of mathematical models is so complex that it can significantly slow some research projects. SU senior Jarrin Peters, with the guidance of Dr. Sarah Wesolowski (Math and Computer Science), is studying Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling to make optimization both more efficient and more accessible for scientists using mathematical models in their work.

Line Graph example

Dot Graph example
Dot Graph example

Finding Data Anomalies

When large amounts of data are collected in research, it is the anomalies that often tell the story. With the large amount of data being gathered currently, it has become more difficult to detect the anomalies. In a sponsored research project SU junior Ian Thomas, with the mentorship of Dr. Enyue Lu (Math and Computer Science), will be developing a new framework, including machine learning, to better detect anomalies.

random text overlayed on white background

Detecting Hate Speech

Utilizing the power and sophistication of high-performance computing, computational linguistics, and artificial intelligence SU senior Caroline Mansueti, with the mentorship of Dr. Randy Cone (Math and Computer Science), is working to develop software that will help detect public hate speech in social media platforms.

random text overlayed on white background

Glowing textures underwater
Glowing textures underwater

Fighting Diabetic Damages

SU student Sheridan Sargent will be characterizing the regenerative ability of the peripheral nervous system in diabetic zebrafish larvae. This sponsored research, under the mentorship of Dr. Jessica Clark (Biological Sciences), will be used in future studies to explore potential therapeutics in reversing damage due to diabetic peripheral neuropathy.


Henson High Speed Computing Lab

High-Performance Computing

The stable matching problem was first introduced in 1962, but has many applications including speeding up the switching networks in the Internet and matching medical students to the hospitals for their residences. In his sponsored research SU junior Michael Mandulak, with the guidance of Dr. Enyue Lu (Math and Computer Science) is utilizing the power of parallel processing at the University’s high-performance computing lab to improve the efficiency of stable matching algorithms.

Henson High Speed Computing Lab

Earth from Space
Earth from Space

Modeling Origins of Life

Stress granules form when a cell is under stress. SU senior Ashley Holloway, with the mentorship of Dr. Joshua Sokoloski (Chemistry), is studying stress granules as part of a sponsored research project looking for the minimal structural requirements needed to form the granules – as a potential model for the early protocells for the origin of life on Earth.


Biology Research students

Biology Students Collaborate

Many research projects at SU are collaborative works. SU students Ryan Joyce, Madison Jermain, Khadija Bhatti and Yadanar Naing, under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Carter (Biological Science), are working on a number of projects through their sponsored research this summer Together, the group members are identifying functions of novel genes and proteins to improve massive databases that are widely used by researchers from many fields

Biology Research students

Ocean Coral
Ocean Coral

Climate Change in Coral

This summer, SU senior Allison Nalesnik with the guidance of Dr. Christina Bradley (Biological Studies) is raising corals in a temperature-controlled lab on campus as part of a sponsored research project studying how they react to increased temperatures and diminished light levels, similar to projected environmental conditions as a result of climate change.


Baby bumb on women sitting

Studyin Preeclampsia

Preeclampsia is a condition that effects three-to-eight percent of pregnant women across the globe that presents as high blood pressure and signs of possible organ damage. As part of her sponsored research project SU senior Gillian Dea, with the guidance of Dr. Joshua Sokoloski (Chemistry), will be examining specific proteins and enzyme’s associated with the condition.

Baby bumb on women sitting

Aerial View of Wicomico County
Aerial View of Wicomico County

Examining Land Values Mathematically

Using mathematics and statistics, SU senior Nicholas Orsini is working with Dr. Jiacheng Cai (Henson School) to construct a model for land values in Wicomico County. The sponsored research project seeks to better understand the impacts of various factors in the area.


Outline of Young person using e-ciggarette

Effect of e-Cigarettes on Adolescents

What are the effects of e-cigarettes on the developing adolescent brain and body? SU student Casey Parisi is studying this through sponsored research with her mentor, Dr. Mark Walter (Psychology). She also is examining the similarities in marketing for combustible cigarettes in the 1950s-60s and e-cigarettes today.

Outline of Young person using e-ciggarette

Mallard Duck head
Mallard Duck head

Development in Duck Brains

Ducks are known for their sensitive beaks, good sense of smell, but vision that is less than average – traits that are represented in their brain. SU senior Katlynne Tatterson, with guidance from Dr. Jeremy Corfield (Biology), is exploring how differences in brain anatomy arise during development. She is examining duck embryos to determine when and how ducks develop larger smell and beak brain centers and smaller visual ones.


Dr. Randall Groth Teaching for PATHWAYS program

Enhancing Mathematics Teaching Skills

Eight SU undergraduate students, mentored by four faculty members: Dr. Jennifer Bergner, Dr. Claudia Burgess, Dr. Jathan Austin, and Dr. Randall Groth, are developing their skills as mathematics teachers and mathematics education researchers as part of the NSF-funded PATHWAYS project. Working in pairs, they are teaching tasks to groups of elementary and middle school children. The lessons will be video recorded and studied along with plans for effectiveness.

Dr. Randall Groth Teaching for PATHWAYS program

zebrafish
zebrafish

Hyperglycemia and the Central Nervous System

Visual impairment is one of the most common complications associated with uncontrolled diabetes. This summer through her sponsored research, SU sophomore Jessica Pierce, with the guidance of Dr. Jessica Clark (Biological Sciences), is studying how hyperglycemia affects the central nervous system in adult zebrafish. She will focus on the optic nerve, which normally communicates visual information to higher brain centers.


gamer on computer

Creating Your Avatar

The gaming world offers users the chance to be anything or anyone they want. SU senior Jessica Harbaugh, with the guidance of Dr. Lance Garmon (Psychology), is basing her sponsored research project this summer on the psychology of why gamers choose to customize certain characteristics in their avatars, including using an avatar with a gender that differs from their own.

gamer on computer

owl
owl

Owls Dietary Habits

SU senior Margaret Kinsella, with the mentorship of Dr. Christina Bradley (Biological Sciences), is collecting and analyzing feathers and pellets from the burrowing owls at the Salisbury Zoo this summer as part of a sponsored research project to study their dietary habits in comparison to similar birds in the wild.


dental tools

Have No Fear

This summer, SU junior Ines Tchienga is working alongside Dr. Echo Leaver (Psychology) to make your future visits to the dentist a little more pleasant. Tchienga is continuing a sponsored research project on dental anxiety, studying the physical reactions when music and movies are introduced to lessen the anxiety.

dental tools

cluster
cluster

Physics Computer Simulations

Studying diffusion-limited aggregation this summer, SU senior Cal Wilkens, with the guidance of Dr. Gail Welsh (Physics), will run computer simulations to learn how randomly clustered particles can fill space under various conditions.


SU art history - Italy gondola

Summer Experiences Abroad

SU students are spending parts of their summer studying, interning and researching all around the world. Some are studying with faculty on Global Seminars in Venice and Bologna, Italy, as well as in Iceland and the Ukraine. Others are with global partners in South Korea, Spain and Scotland. Still more are completing internships and field research in Costa Rica, Ireland and Spain. Altogether, 89 SU students are earning credits toward their degrees in 14 countries on five continents.

SU art history - Italy gondola

monkey
monkey

Impacts of Climate Change

This summer, Kathryn Breon, with the guidance of Dr. Aaron Hogue (Biological Sciences), is using data from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and scientific literature to determine which environmental problems pose the greatest threat to species and ecosystems globally as part of a sponsored research project.


students dressed up

Dress to Impress

It’s often said you should “dress to impress,” but for college students that's not often the norm. This summer through sponsored research, SU senior Ngu Sint Sint Thu with the guidance of Dr. EJ Han (Communication Arts) is studying if college students who regularly dress up for their classes see a difference in their academic performance compared to those who dress more casually.

students dressed up

Jeffrey Todd sings
Jeffrey Todd sings

Jeffrey Todd Competes

In June, Jeffrey Todd competed at the National Association of Teachers of Singing Student Auditions. Todd has worked for years with Dr. John Wesley Wright (Music, Theatre and Dance) and was in training for this competition since the end of the semester. He performed in the semifinals for his division, hoping to advance to the finals.


Ants

Ants on the Eastern Shore

With more than 70 species of ants on the Eastern Shore, little is known about their feeding preferences and how they fit within the food web. This summer, SU student Abigail Wilson is working with applied biology master’s student Denise Manole and mentor Dr. Dana Price (Biological Sciences) to study species diversity of ants and their eating habits on Assateague Island.

Ants

Chemistry-MRI
Chemistry-MRI

Studying MRI Contrast Agent

Exposure to the standard MRI contrast agent can lead to further health issues for patients who need regular scans. This summer, SU junior Tas Elbashir is working with Dr. Anthony Rojas (Chemistry) to create an MRI contrast agent more in tune with the chemicals already found in the human body, making it healthier for the patient and a more effective medical tool.


safe space logo

Safe Space Workshop Training

The Safe Space workshop training was developed to create an inclusive environment for faculty, staff, students and visitors, in particular those in the LGBT+ community. This summer, with the mentorship of Drs. Michèle Schlehofer (Psychology) and Diane Illig (Sociology), SU student Alexandra Creasy is analyzing qualitative feedback from past participants to help enhance the SU program in the future.

safe space logo

For more student success stories and University news, visit the Salisbury University News Website.