2017 Summer Institute: June 12 - July 21

Participants spend six weeks working closely with faculty mentors and other undergraduate research students.

In addition, seminars provide valuable information on topics such as applying for graduate school and choosing a career. 

Apply online here


Dr. Hebert - Political Philosophy and the Transformation of the Polis
This project will consider the role of the Greek polis - the concept and the thing - in shaping the conditions of human life, as well as the transformation of the polis in response to both experience and philosophical critique. Through a study of Pierre Manent's Metamorphoses of the City, we will consider the ancient polis in light of its relation to poetry and philosophy; the development of the city in Roman empire, law, and philosophy; the effects of Christianity and modern philosophy on the advent of the modern state; and key developments in the resulting modern nation-state system. Students will work with Dr. Hebert on a critical analysis of Manent's claims and analysis of relevant individual research questions utilizing relevant primary and secondary sources.

Dr. Stonedahl - This project will investigate the relationship between permeability connectivity and residence times under varying flow conditions. The students will build an apparatus that allows for varying flow through a Tóthian system. This could simulate variations due to rainfall, tides, or other natural phenomenon that create variations in flow. We will work with arduino's and relatively cheap sensors to better monitor our system. We will also model the system in MATLAB coupled with MODFLOW. We may try to get the model working independently of MODFLOW to improve the computational speed. We will be dying water with food coloring and taking time-lapse images of the system as the water flows through the system. These will be compared with NetLogo simulations of the dye fronts.

Dr. Prosise - Several highly complex upper limb prosthetics have been developed that function much like our own arm and hand and can even be controlled utilizing electrical signals from intact nerves and muscles. However, these prosthetics are highly complex, using intricate electronics and computing sources, which are cost-prohibitive both in initial investment and maintenance. There is a need for a simplified functional upper limb prosthetic that is affordable and, therefore, accessible to the underprivileged. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a simple, affordable, upper limb prosthetic that functions similar to our own hand and arm. In this first phase - in order to better understand how humans control their hand movements - students will study neural recordings from electro-encephalograms (EEG) of humans reaching to and grasping a set of objects designed to create a large range of joint angles and comparing it to data previously collected in monkeys. The goal is to then create a simplified control algorithm for an electro-mechanical prosthetic that will function much like a normal hand.

Dr. Trujillo - This is a continuation of last year's project. The main purpose is to determine whether therapy dogs can reduce stress levels of family members of surgical or cardiac patients (of whom share a waiting room at Genesis East) while they are waiting for completion of surgery or procedure. If it does, then the therapy dogs could be scheduled to visit waiting rooms in addition to patient rooms. Secondary purposes include determining if physiological measures of stress are useful in this context. Physiological measures - in this case pulse rate - can indicate a person's anxiety level. The advantages of using pulse rate over self-reporting measures is that it is quick and easy. However, pulse rate can be influenced by factors other than anxiety including the individual's current level of activity and caffeine consumption. Therefore, it's possible that well-established self-report measures may be more reliable than pulse rate. The final purpose is to determine if attitudes toward pets play a role in determining how effective therapy dogs are in reducing stress. If attitudes towards pets do play a role, then some people may have increased benefits from therapy dog visits than others. The hypothesis is that immediate family members waiting for their loved ones to be done with surgery or a cardiac procedure will experience lowered stress levels as a result of interacting with a therapy dog.

For more information, contact Dr. Kathleen Trujillo or 563-333-6197.

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