Summer Research Underway for Augustana Students

Summer researcher at Augustana

More than 60 Augustana students are conducting scientific research on- and off-campus this summer, and 19 others are completing internships in health and science.

Students who come to Augustana have many varied reasons for why they chose this school, but the consensus of many of the students working in the Gilbert Science Center this summer is the opportunity to participate in scientific research as an undergraduate.

This summer, more than 60 Augustana students are conducting research on- and off-campus in the natural sciences. In addition, from June through August, 19 students are completing internships in health and science areas.

Along with the opportunity to participate in research, some students sought out Augustana for the chance to double major in a second area of interest, such as music or a foreign language.

Clayton Busch ’15 from Milford, Iowa, is a biology and Spanish double major working on a research project with three other Augustana students this summer. Their project, “Number and size of terminal filament cells in Drosophila melanogaster with different numbers of ovarioles,” was presented to fellow researchers and professors on Wednesday, July 9, to demonstrate their progress thus far.

He says the research he is doing this summer will be very beneficial to him in the future.

“We’re not only learning about the scientific method, but we get to use it. It’s a hands-on approach."
– Clayton Busch '15

Busch has found both of his majors rewarding and he plans to combine them in any way he can in the future.

“The sciences just really interest me,” Busch said. “But I couldn’t give up on Spanish after four years in high school.”

Jacob Mahowald ’16 is a biochemistry and music double major from Sioux Falls. He's working on a research project this summer titled “Angle-resolved studies of strong-field ionization and hydrogen elimination from ethylene and ethane.”

He worked on this project last summer as well and was drawn to Augustana for the research possibilities along with a chance to play music. Although a direct link for biochemistry and music might not be in Mahowald’s future, he is happy he can do both for the rest of his life.

“[Augustana professors] help out as much as they can to make it easy for you to do both,” Mahowald said. “It’s all about the opportunities.”

He hopes to get an MD-Ph.D. so he can do research while practicing as a physician.

“I want to stay involved in the very edge of the field,” Mahowald said. “Research has also been really good because it allows me to go so deep into what I’m interested in that I can present it and be the expert.”

In his spare time during his career, he hopes he can start a secondary project with music.

Busch hopes to go to medical school as well and wants to eventually practice medicine in countries where he could use his language skills. He became passionate about the language while he was in Costa Rica over J-Term last year.

“You know when you have that first significant conversation?” Busch said. “Not just ‘what’s your name?’ or ‘where is the bathroom?’ but a real conversation. That’s what I got when I was in Costa Rica and it was really rewarding after seven years of studying.”

In the same way, Busch finds the research he is working on now rewarding.

Busch’s advisor, Dr. Cecelia Miles, tries to use a hands-off approach with summer research. She says it’s sort of like teaching, but much more spontaneous.

“From one perspective, it’s a lot of pressure, but the results you get are truly yours,” Busch said.

Miles praises all of the student researchers from this summer and their hard work.

“I think the world of Augie students,” Miles said. “I’m always pleased and surprised with the performance of undergraduates.”

2014 Summer Researchers:

Phillip Andrews, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Data Acquisition system for an Augustana electronics test stand.”

Monica R. Bailey, class of 2015, Mobridge, South Dakota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Kamesh Surendran. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “Molecular networks that promote primary cell differentiation.”

Matthew G. Bell, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology, Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Paul Egland. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The Effect of Bacterial Symbionts on the Antimicrobial Activity of Secretions from the Nicrophorus Burying Beetle.”

Hugo Bethancourt, class of 2017, Guatemala. Major: Physics, Math. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Preparations for the installation of the MPC-EX detector in PHENIX.”

Shingo Bessho, class of 2016, Japan. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Carrie Hall. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The efficacy of using zebrafish as a teaching model in high school classrooms.”

Michael G. Blankespoor, class of 2016, Rock Valley, Iowa. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Lance Lee. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “Understanding the fole of Spef2 in primary ciliary dyskinesia.”

Elliott D. Blue, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: John Lee. Funding Source: Live Learn. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “The role of PD-1 checkpoint blockade in head and neck cancer.”

Justin Brown, class of 2016, Littleton, Colorado. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays. Funding Source: Augustana College Chemistry Department. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Preparation of non-natural glucosinolates and molecular modeling using SYBYL-X.”

Jackson Buchanan, class of 2015, Mendota Heights, Minnesota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Steven Matzner. Funding Source: Augustana College Biology Department. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The Effects of Stem Flexing on Drought Tolerance in Pinto Beans.”

Tim Burwitz, class of 2014, Larchwood, Iowa. Major: Computer Science, Physics. Mentor/advisor: Eric Wells. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Computer control for image-based adaptive femtosecond control.”

Clayton D. Busch, class of 2015, Milford, Iowa. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Number and size of terminal filament cells in Drosophila melanogaster with different numbers of ovarioles.”

Gabriel B. Carlisle, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology, Computer Science. Mentor/advisor: Steven Matzner & Seasson Vitiello. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Regulation of water related genes in tomatoes.”

Bryce Christopherson, class of 2015, Brandon, South Dakota. Major: Economics. Mentor/advisor: Lindsay Erickson. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Playing Nim on trees: Discovering a complete solution for edge Nim on acyclic graphs.”

Anna C. Cooper, class of 2015, Shakopee, Minnesota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Number and size of terminal filament cells in Drosophila melanogaster with different numbers of ovarioles.”

Jacob Dancler, class of 2017, Tea, South Dakota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Duane Weisshaar. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Elemental Analysis of Quantum Dots by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and X-Ray Fluorescence.”

Kevin Dolge, class of 2017, Brandon, South Dakota. Major: Chemistry, Physics. Mentor/advisor: Barrett Eichler. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Anthracene-based, non-porphyrin dyes for solar cells.”

Kaylynn Erlandson, class of 2016, Brandon, South Dakota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Duane Weisshaar. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Analysis of Polythiophenes by Size Exclusion Chromatography.”

Charissa M. Etrheim, class of 2016, Brandon, South Dakota. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels. Funding Source: Cynthia Ballentine-Roesler Donation. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Investigation of the effect of ovarian cancer protein SUSD2 on platelet activation.”

Sarah E. Fisher, class of 2015, Chamberlain, South Dakota. Major: ACS Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Preparation of non-natural glucosinolates using the nitronate and nitrovinyl methods.”

Andrew Gardner, class of 2015, White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Major: Math, German. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Automation of an Augustana College PMT test stand.”

Emily M. Kaufman, class of 2017, Sioux Falls. Major: ACS Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Investigation of the regioselectivity of the intramolecular silylnitronate cycloaddition.”

John Klecker, class of 2016, Minnetonka, Minnesota. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays. Funding Source: Augustana College Chemistry Department. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Preparation of non-natural glucosinolates and molecular modeling using SYBYL-X.”

Kellan Klubben, class of 2017, St. Peter, Minnesota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Synthesis and characterization of novel difuranodioxopyrrolopyrrole-diethynylthiophene (DFDPP-DET) polymers for solar cell use.”

Katarina Klumper, class of 2016, Elkhorn, Minnesota. Major: Biochemistry, Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Barrett Eichler. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Anthracene-based, non-porphyrin dyes for solar cells.”

Jordan Kuiper, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics, Biology. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: University of South Dakota. Project Description: “Studying drug release in improved heart stents.”

Tyson W. Lager, class of 2015, Freeman, South Dakota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Comparing the effects of perillyl alcohol and perillaldehyde on cancer cell death.”

Kenzie K. Lee, class of 2016, Brookings, South Dakota. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Carrie Hall. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Co-evolution of a sex-altering bacterium and an endangered insect species.”

Michael LeVan, class of 2015, Tea, South Dakota. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Measurement of forward rapidity pi0 in Au + Au collisions.”

Eli J. Louwagie, class of 2016, Marshall, Minnesota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Michelle Baack. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “The link between a high fat diet and gestational diabetes.”

Jacob Mahowald, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biochemistry, Music. Mentor/advisor: Eric Wells. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Angle-resolved studies of strong-field ionization and hydrogen elimination from ethylene and ethane.”

Abby Malmanger, class of 2016, Fairbault, Minnesota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Barrett Eichler. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Quantum dot bioconjugation for prostate cancer detection.”

Ethan P. Metz, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Keith Miskimins. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “Metformin as an anticancer treatment.”

Dannah R. Miller, class of 2016, Mankato, Minnesota. Major: ASC Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Kristi Egland. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “A monoclonal antibody against SUSD2 as a breast cancer treatment.”

Deeksha M. Mohan, class of 2017, India. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Cecelia Miles. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The efficacy of using zebrafish as a teaching model in high school classrooms.”

Lexie Mohror, class of 2016, Fargo, North Dakota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Barrett Eichler. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Quantum dot bioconjugation for prostate cancer detection.”

Joe Napierala, class of 2017, Alta, Iowa. Major: Physics, Biology. Mentor/advisor: Eric Wells. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Image-based strong-field adaptive femtosecond control.”

Rachel Nevin, class of 2017, Sioux Falls. Major: Math, Physics. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Meaurement of transverse energy at forward rapidity in Au + Au collisions.”

Chandler B. Nielsen, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Seasson Vitiello & Daniel Howard. Funding Source: Environmental Research Grant & Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The role of cystine transport in redox regulation.”

Collin Noldner, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Biochemistry, Physics, Math. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Data analysis of the DarkSide dark matter experiment.”

Thomas Norland, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Iowa State University. Project Description: “Ionic Electroactive polymer actuators.”

Alyssa R. Ogden, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jill Weimer. Funding Source: Live Learn. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “Examining the Potential Role of IgM Antibody Treatment in a Hypoxic Model of Hypomyelination.”

April E. Parsons, class of 2017, Sioux Falls.Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Daniel Howard. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Circadian pattern and niche partitioning in Nicrophorus burying beetles.”

Carley R. Pickett, class of 2016, St. Paul, Minnesota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Pat Ronan. Funding Source: NASA Space Grant. Research Location: Avera Research. Project Description: “Anatomical and Functional Investigation of Neuropeptide Pathways.”

Ryder R. Reed, class of 2016, Luverne, Minnesota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Paul Egland. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The Effect of Bacterial Symbionts on the Antimicrobial Activity of Secretions from the Nicrophorus Burying Beetle.”

Elizabeth A. Renner, class of 2017, Crooks, South Dakota. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Craig Spencer. Funding Source: South Dakota State Park System. Research Location: Newton Hills State Park. Project Description: Prairie Restoration.

Alex P. Rickel, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Keith Miskimins. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Sanford Research. Project Description: “Metformin as an anticancer treatment.”

Kirby E. Rickel, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Greg Somerville. Funding Source: Redox Biology Department. Research Location: University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Project Description: “Elucidation of mechanisms by which Staphylococcus aureuscontrols virulence factor production in response to nutrient limitation.”

Kyle Rodgers, Sioux Falls. Major: Business Administration, Philosophy. Mentor/advisor: Lindsay Erickson. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Design and implementation of graph drawing tools.”

Trevor Sandgren, class of 2015, Redwood Falls, Minnesota. Major: Biochemistry. Mentor/advisor: Duane Weisshaar. Funding Source: Augustana College Viste Scholarship. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Molecular Weight Determination of a Water Soluble Polythiophene by Size Exclusion Chromatography with a Multiangle Light Scattering Detector.”

Delaney Schara, class of 2016, Fergus Falls, Minnesota. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Synthesis and characterization of novel difuranodioxopyrrolopyrrole-diethynylthiophene (DFDPP-DET) polymers for solar cell use.”

Jessica A. Simpkins, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Biology, Spanish. Mentor/advisor: Seasson Vitiello. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The role of cystine transport in redox regulation.”

Matt Smallcomb, class of 2014, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: NASA. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Simulation verification for the DarkSide dark matter experiment.”

Katie Smith, class of 2016, Sioux Falls. Major: Chemistry, Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Synthesis and characterization of novel difuranodioxopyrrolopyrrole-diethynylthiophene (DFDPP-DET) polymers for solar cell use.”

Kim Stallings, class of 2015, Sioux Falls. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Duane Weisshaar. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Elemental Analysis of Quantum Dots by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy and X-Ray Fluorescence.”

Joe Stevens, class of 2016, Elk River, Minnesota. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jetty Duffy-Matzner. Funding Source: EPSCoR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Investigation of the regioselectivity of the intramolecular silylnitronate cycloaddition.”

Madhusha Tennakoon, class of 2016, Sri Lanka. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Nathan Grau. Funding Source: NSF. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Exploration of a measurement of forward pi0-central hadron correlations in p + A collisions.”

Megan L. Thacker, class of 2016, Omaha, Nebraska. Major: Biology. Mentor/advisor: Jennifer Gubbels. Funding Source: Cynthia Ballentine-Roesler Donation & Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Role of platelets in ovarian cancer spheroid formation.”

Laura H. Tinker, class of 2016, Spirit Lake, Iowa. Major: Math, Computer Science. Mentor/advisor: Martha Gregg. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Investigation of a fair division algorithm.”

Anna D. Tims, class of 2016, Worthington, Minnesota. Major: ACS Biochemistry, Math. Mentor/advisor: Barrett Eichler. Funding Source: Augustana College. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Quantum dot bioconjugation for prostate cancer detection.”

Mason D. VanEssen, class of 2017, Tracy, Minnesota. Major: Biology, Religion. Mentor/advisor: Craig Spencer. Funding Source: South Dakota State Park System. Research Location: Newton Hills State Park. Project Description: Prairie Restoration.

Ellen M. Voigt, class of 2017, Rapid City, South Dakota. Major: Chemistry. Mentor/advisor: Jared Mays. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Synthesis and evaluation of photoactive non-glucosinolate precursors to isothiocyanates.”

Noah Watkins, class of 2018, Sioux Falls. Major: Physics. Mentor/advisor: Drew Alton. Funding Source: South Dakota. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “Improved position reconstruction in the DarkSide dark matter detector.”

Lauren K. Yares, class of 2016, Woodbury, Minnesota. Major: Biology, Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Daniel Howard. Funding Source: SPUR. Research Location: Augustana College. Project Description: “The effect of anthropogenic vibration animal reproductive behavior.”

Hannah Zylstra, class of 2016, Canton, South Dakota. Major: Psychology. Mentor/advisor: Lee Baugh. Funding Source: NASA Space Grant. Research Location: University of South Dakota Project Description: “A Brain Computer Interface for Augmentative and Alternative Communication.”