Undergraduate Research Participation Jumps 54 Percent

Augustana officials today reported a 54 percent increase in the number of students participating in the College’s Summer Research Program, an initiative that places undergraduates in the field at laboratories and study tanks throughout the U.S.

In summer 2010, 59 students participated in summer research opportunities. This summer, 92 students are working alongside faculty members, exploring everything from platelet-biogenesis to the impact of ultrafast laser pulses on molecular fragmentation.

Officials say the increase in undergraduate researchers is the result of two parallel tracks, each of which has experienced significant growth.

Students who are pursuing majors within the Natural Sciences have been steadily on the rise. In 2005, the College reported 169 biology majors, 60 chemistry majors and 26 physics majors.

For the 2010-2011 academic year, the College reported 265 biology majors (a 56 percent increase); 84 chemistry majors (a 40 percent increase); and 41 physics majors (a 57 percent increase).

Learn More

Read more about discoveries in science in the summer 2011 issue of The Augustana,

In addition, the number of research-related grants received by the institution and its professors has also grown. A result Dr. Mark Larson, assistant professor of biology and Augustana’s Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) coordinator, attributes to sheer momentum.

“It’s easier for me to make the case for a grant when I can show that I can do the research, that I have the equipment necessary, and that I have skilled and competent students to assist me. When grants are approved, they lead to more discoveries, more equipment and, ultimately, more opportunities to make cases for additional grants.”

Dr. Paul Egland, associate professor of biology and Augustana’s chief health professions adviser, says the ability for students to work alongside him in his lab is priceless.

“One of the things that makes Augustana unique is that students get to apply what they learn in class in a hands-on lab – they get to do experiments and test ideas. That hands-on work is what helps students learn – it cements the ideas they learn about in the classroom.”

Bethany Jochim, class of 2011 and a native of Pierre, S.D., is one example.

At just 22 years old, Jochim recently had her fifth research article published in a national scientific journal.

Titled “Velocity map imaging as a tool for gaining mechanistic insight from closed-loop control studies of molecular fragmentation,” the article detailed the findings of research Jochim conducted alongside Dr. Eric Wells, associate professor of physics at Augustana, and a team of researchers at Kansas State University. The article was published in Physical Review A, a journal published by the American Physical Society.

This fall, Jochim will begin her graduate studies at Kansas State University, where she’ll work toward her Ph.D. in physics. She’s been granted a research assistantship and was awarded the Timothy R. Donoghue fellowship – an honor that speaks to both her skill and the experience she brings to the table, her mentors say.

“At Kansas State, because of her experiences at Augustana, she’ll come in doing second- or third-year graduate level research during her first year,” Wells said.

But before classes begin, Jochim is having a busy summer. She’s been invited to give a talk at the annual meeting of the Division of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics of the American Physical Society in Atlanta, and she’ll also be representing her research collaborators at a meeting in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

After graduate school, Jochim hopes to teach at the university level and conduct research.

“The research I’ve been part of and the articles we’ve published are a testament to how the faculty here [at Augustana] can get students involved. That’s a really unique and special opportunity,” Jochim said. “In the future, when I do research as a professional, I’d like to involve students in the same way that my professors here have involved me.”

Liberally Educated Scientists

In addition to teaching, researching and advising, Larson, Egland and Wells also serve as strong advocates for giving tomorrow’s scientists a foundation in the liberal arts.

“Here [at Augustana], we want students to experience more than just science. We want students to learn about language, culture, art and politics so they’ll be poised to understand the implications of their work. We often say to students that ‘we’ll give you the tools to specialize, but we won’t specialize you.’ For medical students in particular, that’s so important. They need to have the capacity to appreciate beyond how to fix the patient. They need to connect with their patients emotionally; they need to be able to understand their patients’ background, their culture,” Larson said.

Dr. Thomas R. Cech, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder and an investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, recently conducted a study to measure the long-term success of science education at liberal arts colleges, compared to research institutions.

While only eight percent of students who attend four-year colleges or universities are enrolled at baccalaureate colleges, such as Augustana, Cech found that among students who obtain Ph.D.s in science, 17 percent received their undergraduate degree from a baccalaureate college.

Among the top liberal arts colleges, five to 18 percent of graduates go on to obtain a Ph.D. in science or engineering.

“Considering that their graduates majored in English, history, art and other humanities, as well as in science, this represents an astounding percentage,” Cech said.

“This is a great day for Augustana,” said Rob Oliver, president. “We’ve long said that in order to learn about the world, you need to see the world. Our Summer Research Program is instrumental in helping tomorrow’s health professionals and scientists see the world and the impact exploration and study can have on the future. On behalf of the College, I give a heartfelt thank you to our talented faculty and staff members who work tirelessly to mentor our students with the goal of making tomorrow’s world even better than today’s.”

Following is a list of the participating students and, where available, their mentor/adviser, project funding, and location of the research:

  • Seth Adrian, class of 2012, Marion, S.D. Majors: Biology, Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: Augustana Viste Fellowship and Abbott Labs Grant. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Tom Alexander, class of 2011, Belview, Minn. Majors: Physics, Business Communications. Mentor/adviser: Drew Alton. Funding Source: State of South Dakota and Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana & Laboratori Nazionalidel Gran Sasso, Italy.
  • Matt Amundson, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar, collaborating with Berry/May at USD. Funding Source:Augustana Chemistry Department and Abbott Labs. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Phillip Andrews, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Physics. Mentor/adviser: Eric Wells. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Erica Arens, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Trevor Arnold, class of 2014, New Richland, Minn. Majors: Business Administration, Computer Science. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA -- Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Luke Benjamin, class of 2013, Minnetonka, Minn. Major: Physics. Mentor/adviser: Drew Alton. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jennifer Benoy, class of 2013, Saint Croix Falls, Wis. Major:Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: SUNY Binghamton University.
  • Claire Bestul, class of 2014, Faribault, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: Augustana Biology Department. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Rebecka Bogue, class of 2012, Beresford, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser:Keith Miskimins. Funding Source:NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research
  • Amanda Buhl, class of 2012, Tyler, Minn. Majors: Biology, Modern Foreign Languages. Mentor/adviser: Dan Soluk. Funding Source: The Nature Conservancy. Research Location: Surgeon Bay, Wisconsin.
  • Audrey Burkart, class of 2014, Monument, Colo. Majors: Engineering Physics, Math. Mentor/adviser: Brandon Harris and Truell Hyde. Funding Source: NSF REU. Research Location: Baylor Univ., Physics Dept., Waco, Texas.
  • Tim Burwitz, class of 2014, LeMars, Iowa. Majors: Physics, Math. Mentor/adviser: Eric Wells. Funding Source:NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana and Kansas State University.
  • Mark Buyck, class of 2012, Danvers, Minn. Major: Elementary Education. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA -- Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jay Cole, class of 2013, Canton, S.D. Majors: Engineering Physics. Mentor/adviser: Tom Jones. Funding Source: NSF REU – Supercomputing. Research Location: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
  • Erika Dahl, class of 2012, Maple Grove, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Tim O’Connell. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Steve Dockendorf, class of 2012, Oakdale, Minn. Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jared Drenkow, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR PANS. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Marcus Edgington, class of 2012, Sioux City, Iowa. Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/adviser: BijoyDey. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location:Augustana.
  • Michael Edgington, class of 2012, Sioux City, Iowa. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Paul Egland. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jacob Elmer, class of 2012, Wells, Minn. Major: Physics. Mentor/adviser: Matthew McCarthy. Funding Source:NSF REU. Research Location: Drexel University Mechanical Engineering, Philadelphia PA.
  • Nicole Ensz, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser: Mark Larson. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Augustana.
  • Michelle Erhardt, class of 2012,Benson, Minn. Majors: Biology, Psychology. Mentor/adviser: Steven Matzner and Joe von Fisher. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana and Colorado State University.
  • Jeremy Erickson, class of 2011, Lincoln, Neb. Majors: Chemistry, Physics. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR PANS. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Sam Evenson, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Jennifer Gubbels. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Augustana.
  • Wadie Mahauad-Fernandez, class of 2012, Loja, Ecuador. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Paul Egland. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Augustana.
  • Thomas Filer, class of 2013, Bellevue, Neb. Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/adviser: Drew Alton. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Evan Gardner, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Majors:Chemistry, Spanish. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR PANS. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jared Goplen, class of 2012, Canby, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Ismail Dwekat. Funding Source: NSF REU. Research Location: University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
  • Neal Gregerson, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Majors: Physics, Chemistry. Mentor/adviser:ClintBoerhave. Funding Source: Raven Industries. Research Location: Sioux Falls.
  • Coral Hanson, class of 2012, Andover, Minn. Major:Communication Disorders. Mentor/adviser: BijoyDey. Funding Source: Augustana Chemistry Department and Abbott Labs. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Alyce Haugan, class of 2012, Brandon, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Seasson Vitiello. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Carl Hjelmen, class of 2013, Garretson, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Mark Larson. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Bailey Jackson, class of 2013, Sioux City, Iowa. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR PANS. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Kai Jacobson, class of 2012, Champlin, Minn. Majors: Biochemistry, Physics. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Sarah Jamison, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Bethany Jochim, class of 2011, Pierre, S.D. Major: Physics. Mentor/adviser: Eric Wells and Itzik Ben-Itzhak. Funding Source: NSF. Research Locations: Augustana and Kansas State University.
  • Rebecca Joerger, class of 2011, Henning, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Paul Egland. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Christina Johnson, class of 2013, Maple Grove, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Augustana.
  • Elisabeth Jorde, class of 2012, Tracy, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: The Nature Conservancy, American Burying Beetle Conservatory. Research Location: Augustana and Tallgrass Prairie Ecol. Res. Station, Okla.
  • Kelsey Kalkman, class of 2012, Carver, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Pat Ronan. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: USDSSM/Avera Research Inst/VA.
  • Taylor Kapsch, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Rong Liang. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Joseph Keppen, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser: Jared Mays. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Ana Knyazeva, class of 2013, Golden Valley, Minn. Majors: Computer Science, Art. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jacob Lehnen, 2013, Burnsville, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Steven Matzner and Joe von Fisher. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana and Colorado State University.
  • Joe Leland, class of 2014, Albert Lea, Minn. Major: Computer Science. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swet. Funding Source: NASA -- Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Cody Lensing, class of 2012, Mounds View, Minn. Majors: Biochemistry, Philosophy. Mentor/adviser: Peter Vitiello. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Austin Letcher, class of 2012, Brandon, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar, collaborating with Berry/May at USD. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Nicole Lindsey, class of 2011, Spirit Lake, Iowa. Majors: Biology, Art. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: The Nature Conservancy, American Burying Beetle Conservatory. Research Location: Augustana and Tallgrass Prairie Ecol. Res. Station, Okla.
  • Kristen Luepke, class of 2014, Courtland, Minn. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser: Barry Eichler. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Taylor Maier, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Lance Lee. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Cathy Martin, class of 2011, Monument, Colo. Major: Elementary Education. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Leah McComas, class of 2012, Maplewood, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Mark Larson. Funding Source: Glaxo Smith Klein. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Amanda Metzger, class of 2011, Mount Vernon, S.D. Major: Elementary Education. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Jackie Miles, class of 2012, Tea, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser:Jennifer Gubbels. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Courtney Moore, class of 2014, Isanti, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Joe Murphy, class of 2013, Ankeny, Iowa. Major: Computer Science. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA Space Grant. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Heidi Nelson, class of 2012, Custer, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Seasson Vitiello. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Augustana.
  • Delaine Nelson, class of 2014, Sioux Falls, S.D. Majors: Theater, Fitness Management. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Leif Nomeland, class of 2012, Chamberlain, S.D. Majors: Math, Computer Science. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: NASA Space Grant. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Ben Parsley, class of 2012, Flandreau, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Melissa Reis. Funding Source: POET. Research Location: POET, Sioux Falls.
  • Annie Pfeifle, class of 2012, Rapid City, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: SUNY Binghamton University.
  • Kara Prussing, class of 2012, Bismarck, N.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: John Lee. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Chris Rallis, class of 2011, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Engineering Physics. Mentor/adviser: Eric Wells. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana and Kansas State University.
  • Hannah Rogers, class of 2012, Plymouth, Minn. Majors: Physics, Math, Chemistry, German. Mentor/adviser: Mark Claussen. Funding Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Research Location: Socorro, NM.
  • Natalie Ronning, class of 2011, Rapid City, S.D. Majors: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/adviser: Steve Matzner. Funding Source: USDA. Research Location: Augustana and Cornell University.
  • Ashley Schmidt, class of 2014, Mitchell, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Funding Source: Augustana College Biology Department. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Mallory Schulte, class of 2014, Yankton, S.D. Mentor/adviser: Dr G. Berkolaiko
  • Jared Soundy, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major:Computer Science. Mentor/adviser: Roy Perlis. Funding Source: BIG Summer Institute. Research Location: Harvard/MIT, Division of Health, Science and Technology.
  • Nicholas Sveiven, class of 2014, Saint Paul, Minn. Majors: Chemistry, Biology. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location: Augustana.
  • David Swanson, class of 2012, Saint James, Minn. Majors: Chemistry, Physics, Math. Mentor/adviser: Mauricio Terrones. Funding Source: NSF REU. Research Location: Penn State Center for Nanoscale Science, State College, PA.
  • Kate Timmons, class of 2012, Overland Park, Kan. Majors: Chemistry, Spanish. Mentor/adviser: Matt Jorgensen and Brad Johnson. Funding Source: Sioux Falls PD Crime Lab. Research Location: Sioux Falls.
  • Elle Tornberg, class of 2014, Harrisburg, S.D. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser:Jared Mays. Funding Source: Abbott Labs and Augustana Chemistry Department. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Nathan Truex, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: BijoyDey. Funding Source: NSF NPURC. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Kayla Vastenhout, class of 2012, Dell Rapids, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: Jared Mays. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Aleksey Voznyuk, class of 2015, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Physics. Mentor/adviser: Eric Wells. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana and Kansas State University.
  • Krystine Walth, class of 2011, Brandon, S.D. Mentor/adviser: Dan Swets. Funding Source: Pathways to STEM. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Lucinda Weaver, class of 2013, Rapid City, S.D. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/adviser: David Pearce. Funding Source: SPUR (Sanford Research). Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Ashley Weber, class of 2012, Cold Spring, Minn. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/adviser: Kristi Egland. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: Sanford Research.
  • Emily Weber, class of 2014, Sioux City, Iowa. Major: Nursing. Mentor/adviser: Gary Earl and Duane Weishaar. Funding Source: NSF EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Kelly Wong, class of 2013, Custer, S.D. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Steve Matzner. Funding Source: USDA. Research Location: Cornell University.
  • Matt Wussow, class of 2012, Eden Prairie, Minn. Majors: Physics, Math. Mentor/adviser: Nathan Grau. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Tony Yang, class of 2014, Hugo, Minn. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Craig Spencer. Funding Source: Augustana Biology Department. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Erika Zetterlund, class of 2013, Saint Cloud, Minn. Majors: Physics, Religion. Mentor/adviser: Drew Alton. Funding Source: Research Corporation. Research Location: Augustana.
  • Sarah Zokaites, class of 2012, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Karen Munger. Funding Source: NIH BRIN. Research Location: USDSSM/Avera Research Inst/VA.
  • Adrienne Conley, class of 2012, Oconto Falls, Wis. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Dan Howard. Location: Great Plains Zoo (Internship), Sioux Falls.
  • Hilary Newby, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/adviser: Subhash Chauhan. Location: Sanford (Live, Learn Internship), Sanford Research.
  • Brennan Olson, class of 2013, Luck, Wis. Major: Biology. Mentor/adviser: Kristi Egland. Location: Sanford Live, Learn Internship.
  • Allyson Poston, class of 2012, Rapid City, S.D. Major: Psychology. Mentor/adviser: Stephen Gilbert, Eliot Winer, Seda Yilmaz. Location: NSF REU -- SPIRE-EIT Program, Iowa State.
  • Caity Reiland-Smith, class of 2012, Sioux Falls, S.D. Majors: Biology, Psychology. Mentor/adviser: Colleen Satyshur. Location: University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve (Internship).
  • Kristina Roth, class of 2013, Sioux Falls, S.D. Majors: Biology, Professional Accountancy. Mentor/adviser: Amber Ries and Joseph Zenel. Location: Sanford Health (Healthcare Services Admin Internship).
  • Mallory Schulte, class of 2014, Yankton, S.D. Major: Math. Location: Pre-REU Program, Texas A&M University.