LEWISBURG, Pa. — Nearly 100 Bucknell University students are pursuing a multitude of research projects this summer covering a variety of academic disciplines in the sciences, the humanities and engineering.
The projects, which are part of the University's undergraduate research program, include an investigation into how worker co-ops can serve as a socio-economic model to promote sustainable community development; the design and fabrication of manufacturing aids for inexpensive eyeglasses for Guatemala; and insurance coverage among Hispanic adults in the United States.
Topics of local interest include an investigation of the progressive deformation of the Allegheny Front along the Pine Creek Rail Trail in Lycoming County; continued building of the Marcellus Shale Initiative publications database; and two Bucknell-specific projects focusing on greenhouse gas emissions and the university's waste stream and recycling efforts.
In addition, students are researching and designing several biomedical engineering projects including a novel silicone cup for ambulatory EEG electrode placement, a wearable backpack for auditory recordings from infants, a sub-bandage pressure measurement device, and a pediatric DNA collection device.
Other research topics include alternative liquid fuels, verb comprehension in infants, interactive gaming exercise for senior citizens, diesel smoke particles, geothermal well seals, the meaning of masculinity in 19th-century Spain, brown dwarf stars, safe joints for humanoid robots, the future of liberal arts colleges, and a documentary on film representations of Alice in Wonderland.
"Integrating research and student learning is a hallmark of Bucknell's success in undergraduate education, and summer internships complement the year-round campus activities," Bucknell Provost Mick Smyer said. "Each summer, many students spend time sharpening their research skills alongside the faculty, becoming better prepared for the challenges they will face during their careers."
Sampling of research projects Lucy Dean, a junior majoring in political science and sociology from Colorado Springs, Colo., is researching insurance coverage among Hispanic adults in the United States. As immigrants make up larger proportions of the United States — the Hispanic population is the largest ethnic minority group within the U.S. — health outcomes as well as access to health care are key indicators in assessing the quality of life of immigrants.
Stefan Ivanovski, a senior majoring in international relations and Spanish from Macedonia, is exploring how worker co-operatives can serve as a socio-economic model for promoting community development in the United States. Ivanovski, who studied in Argentina as part of the university's study abroad program, learned about workers in Buenos Aires who organized themselves to retake control of the companies and factories that had gone bankrupt.
Hallie Kennan, a senior majoring in environmental studies from Palo Alto, Calif., is analyzing Bucknell's waste stream and recycling efforts. The three-part project will analyze existing data about Bucknell and examples of waste audits from other schools, design and plan a comprehensive waste audit for Bucknell, and apply results from the audit to make campus improvements.
Jaclyn Kirna, a senior majoring in elementary education from Westfield, N.J., is investigating the ways in which gender stereotypes are perpetuated through questioning and assessment strategies in inquiry-based science classrooms, aiming to close the gender gap in elementary science education.
Andrew Klein, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering from Pittsburgh, is working to provide inexpensive eyeglasses to people in Guatemala. Klein will focus on determining the best method for grinding donated lenses within extreme cost and resource constraints, and hopes to have a working prototype that secures the lenses and grinds them to a universal size this summer.
Alexander Lunde, a senior majoring in geology from Old Lyme, Conn., is examining the deformation of the Allegheny Front in Lycoming County. Located along the Pine Creek Rail Trail near Jersey Shore, the study area is structurally complex, with faults, folds, veins and fracture sets. The area is also central to the Marcellus Shale gas field.
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