Students stay busy with summer research

More than 30 student research projects are underway this summer throughout the region and even overseas. Pennsylvania’s bootleg coal rebellion, the effects of beetle infestation and in-home Internet hacking are just a few of the topics being explored through Bloomsburg University’s annual Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity program.

URSCA provides a stipend of up to $6,000 for a full-time project to students during the 12 weeks of summer session. Thirty-two students of varying majors spanning business to liberal arts to science and technology were awarded research grants this summer.

Several of the projects are being done far from campus, including abroad like David Falacko’s study of new musical styles with master musicians at the Royal College of Music in London and Rachel Yenney’s work as a research intern in the Laboratoire de Physique des Lasers in Paris. Facia Sirleaf’s study of Sub-Saharan immigration in Morocco was actually a year in the making and inspired by her own personal journey as a child.

The environmental, geographical and geological sciences are well represented this summer. Student researchers are tackling a variety of environmental issues to include acid mine drainage in Schuylkill County, the deforestation and water quality in Assateague, Va., along with the petrographic examination of copper deposits from across the country.

Other summer projects have students exploring research in the anthropology, digital forensics, information technology management, nursing, political science, sociology, and social work fields.

Some projects, such as Blake Durante’s chemistry research on different properties of lanthanum chlorides in aqueous solutions, have already hit the conference circuit. The senior presented his initial findings this spring at the 253rd American Chemical Society National Meeting in San Francisco. He plans to advance his work this summer, particularly in increasing accuracy.

Each of the URSCA projects will have an opportunity in August to be showcased on campus during the 7th Annual Susquehanna Valley Undergraduate Research Symposium. Abstracts will be judged in four categories: social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and engineering, biological sciences and in clinical and translational.