2022 Summer Research Scholarship Recipients


Rachel Goodwin smiling

Rachel Goodwin


As a Statistics major, the focus of my senior project is primarily on analyzing air pollution levels in Silao, Guanajuato, Mexico by examining a time series plot of particulate matter using change-point analysis.  This summer, I am planning to evaluate the reliability of this novel bootstrap-based change point test statistic by applying it to analysis of a NARSTO air quality data set on the NASA database.  Through my senior project research with Dr. Noguchi, I am finding statistics very interesting, and I intend to pursue a career as a data scientist, dedicated to developing statistical models for environmental pollution and public health.

Faculty Mentor: Kimihiro Noguchi

Spencer Green sitting in a stone sculpture

Spencer Green

The purpose of my project is to advance understanding of inclusive STEM education by examining the experiences and perceptions of science faculty regarding working with students with disabilities (SWD). The goals of my project are to understand how STEM faculty perceive their experiences with and preparedness to work with SWD and to examine the differences that exist, if any, between the experiences of faculty who teach introductory versus upper level STEM courses.  I am pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education and am motivated to learn more about the experiences of faculty so we can help improve the experiences of SWDs.

Faculty Mentor: Debi Hanuscin

Andrew Kivlighn smiling

Andrew Kivlighn

My research project is aimed at developing assessment tasks in one scientific practice, mathematical thinking.  Many mathematical concepts are integral for developing a sound understanding of chemistry, but research indicates that many general chemistry students encounter significant difficulties with chemistry ideas that rely on various mathematical understandings.  The main goals of this research are to: (i) develop a bank of assessment tasks, aligned with the NGSS, that have the potential to elicit evidence about general chemistry students’ understandings in mathematical thinking, and (ii) use the tasks developed to assess students’ proficiency in mathematical thinking.

Faculty Mentor: Norda Stephenson

Emma Leeds smiling

Emma Leeds

The goal of my project is to describe what socio-metacognitive patterns emerge, if any, when students work together on explicitly confusing tasks.  I will work with classroom video and examine in-class interactions of students as they engage in collaborative group work.  This project works towards the understanding of how confusion is navigated and resolved, which can lead to developing general baseline strategies and processes to create successful collaborations.  This project will help inform my teaching practice as a future science educator and will aid me in becoming a more proactive and collaboration-friendly teacher.  

Faculty Mentor: Thanh Le

Conor Naughton smiling

Conor Naughton

The overarching goal of the proposed research is to build polymer solar cells using GW-PPM supporting back contacts, in order to demonstrate for the first time the ability of plasmonic electrodes to enhance the performance of next-generation solar cells. My role will be to computationally model the plasmonic modes supported by these devices in order to predict the ideal device structure and calculate the properties of the supported plasmonic modes.  This research opportunity will introduce me to the experience of full-time research, which will benefit my goals of becoming a professional physicist.

Faculty Mentor: Janelle Leger

Christopher O'Dell smiling

Christopher O'Dell

Through the use of Physics-informed neural networks (PINNs), I will investigate numerical simulation of compressible fluid flows.  This process will involve learning the programming details (using MATLAB or PYTHON) and implementing deep learning algorithms to solve benchmark differential equations modeling compressible fluid flows, such as flow over a wing or aircraft nacelle as well as flow through high-performance valves.  This project will assist me in synthesizing my knowledge of math and computer science and thereby participate in more advanced and productive research moving forward.

Faculty Mentor: Jianying Zhang

Willa Rowan smiling

Willa Rowan

My project aims to inform equity and inclusion goals in the geosciences by surveying undergraduate geoscience students’ ability to identify as geoscientists.  This project consists of three stages: survey creation and piloting, survey administration, and statistical analysis.  Beyond this research, my professional goals include continuing in education and education research in the Earth Sciences through higher education, government, or non-profit institutions.

Faculty Mentor: Robyn Dahl