2018 Cohorts

jenniferJennifer Avellaneda Bravo

Comparative anatomy within the genus Lithospermum

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My experience with the REU at Kettering really opened my eyes to what research is really about. You can try to prepare yourself as much as you want, but you never really know what research is like until you do it yourself, but every experience is different. Kettering had all the tools I needed to insure that my experience was the best it could be.

After graduation I plan on going to graduate school to get my Ph.D. I would like to go into
research and development with a focus in sustainability.

angelaAngela Ghannam

Understanding the Chemical Basis for Cytochrome c Reduction by Polyphenolic Compounds

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I had an amazing experience with the REU at Kettering. I learned so many skills during the program such as learning how to plan a timeline for a project, keeping up to date records of research, and many science technical skills in the laboratory. I also learned how to work independently and to think outside of the box. This program helped me grow very much as a person, for I was given a high amount of responsibility. I always recommend this program to any of my friends and people who are interested in research. I really enjoyed learning how to think critically about issues that occurred during the term. It was also important that all of the projects were so interdisciplinary because in long term research, that is the reality. I also thought it was very interesting that there was a green focus.
It was very helpful to visit a graduate school during the program because I was very reluctant to consider graduate school until we attended the meeting at the University of Michigan.

Currently, I am working at Corning Life Sciences in Bedford, Massachusetts. Here, I am beginning to work on a project slightly similar to what I worked on over the summer. The applications and information I learned over the summer have greatly impacted my understanding of my current project at Corning. I plan to graduate with chemical engineering and biochemistry degrees from Kettering University. With these degrees I am hoping to work in the medicine industry to help produce new prescriptions. Specifically, I would like to work on a team to cure triple negative cancer. I would like to be part of the team to increase the survival rate of triple negative cancer and be able to present my findings publicly.

annaAnna Kjellson

Utilizing Environmentally Friendly Superheated and Supercritical Fluids to Extract Medicinal Compounds from Plants

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Neither my small school nor my busy schedule accommodated trying to do research during the school year. This REU at Kettering not only allowed me to spend a summer working side-by-side with amazing, helpful professors; it also helped me develop lasting friendships with students from all over the country who have similar scientific interests to me. Kettering’s unique schedule also created space for REU participants to meet and befriend Kettering students, and we were welcomed at departmental social gatherings. At Kettering, I was trained on instrumentation that I could only dream of working with at my home institution, and I gained so many new skills that ended up helping me in classes when I returned to school in the fall! Professors were inspiring mentors, fellow participants were a valued support system, and I would encourage the Kettering REU program to anyone with an interest in research. Seeing all of our work come together at the end of the semester was one of the most rewarding experiences of my academic career.

I am continuing to study chemistry and secondary education with a semester abroad at Cardiff University in Wales! I have already communicated with a few professors in Cardiff who have offered me a place in their labs for the semester (thanks to my research experience and skills gained at Kettering)! I’m even planning to meet up with a friend from the REU program, who will also be abroad this semester. When I return to the States in the fall, I’ll be finishing up with classes and then student teaching. Post-graduation, I hope to teach high school chemistry for a few years before pursuing a PhD in science education–University of Michigan Ann Arbor has a great program, and it is definitely on the list!

kiahKiah Suzanne Lowe

Investigating the Origins and Roles of Epicatechin, A Health-Promoting Plant Compound

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From start to finish, I am incredibly happy with the time I spent at Kettering University in the REU program. Every step of the way, from applying on the clear and easily accessible UPIR-REU website to the final day during our poster presentations, was streamlined and well-organized.

Watching myself and others grow through the short 8-week period was a great experience, and developing relationships with the faculty was a nice change of pace from a typical
classroom environment. I learned new techniques in biochemistry as well as genomics, two areas I was excited to gain knowledge in. Not only did I gain technical skills for bench work, but I also was able to develop professional skills necessary for a scientist in the modern era through weekly workshops. I am deeply grateful for having been provided the opportunity to participate in this program and consider it one of the highlights of my undergraduate career.

I graduated in December 2018 from New Mexico State University with a B.Sc. in Genetics & Biotechnology. Currently, I am employed as a temp lab tech at NMSU until I find an entry level position in my field. I would like to work with gene editing in plants.

lauraLaura Perry

Characterization of biogas production via anaerobic co-digestion using dry beans Phaseolus vulgaris

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The UPIR-REU gave me lab experience and helped improve my ability to problem-solve and present my findings. The REU provided me with valuable relationships inside and outside of the lab. From working under the leadership of professors that seek to optimize the production of green energy and getting assistance from the helpful lab manager, to doing life with an REU cohort that was driven and supportive and meeting members of the community that truly cared and made me feel at home, these relationships were a welcomed addition to the research experience I gained at Kettering University.

I am majoring in Biology at Truman State University. I hope to pursue conservation after
graduation, though I would like to do permaculture in my spare time and maybe convince my brother to set up an anaerobic digestion tank on his farm.

maiaMaia Prince

Investigating Intraindividual Variation and Mutation in an Apple Tree

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I had a great time developing software in Java to explore apple tree heterogeneity. In a
relatively hands-off environment, I was able to research techniques I hadn’t ever expected to implement in Java, such as 3D rendering and vector rotation. I also really enjoyed presenting the program I made to other students and professionals during the poster presentation, and it was great to get to know and spend time with the other students working in the REU program alongside me. Since my school doesn’t have a co-op component to our undergraduate program, I’m glad I was able to have this experience and learn what it might be like to go into academic research.

I just returned from studying abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland, and I’m looking forward to taking advanced computer science, biology, and chemistry courses as I work towards completing my degree.

Taking part in the REU program has made things a bit clearer for me in terms of my future
career – I know I love programming to solve problems and using innovative research techniques. I want to continue exploring the intersection of my three chosen disciplines, and I hope to find a specialization to study in graduate school.

isaiahIsaiah Spencer-Williams

Utilizing Environmentally Friendly Superheated and Supercritical Fluids to Extract Medicinal Compounds from Plants

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My experience during the Kettering REU was amazing! Being able to be away from home and work in a space where everyone was focused on not only their projects, but building
relationships and networks was awesome for my development as a young researcher.

Currently, I am heading into my last semester as an undergraduate at the University of
Pittsburgh, and currently applying for graduate programs in Environmental Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, University of Notre Dame, Duke University, North Carolina State University, and Clemson University.

fionaFiona Summers

Using Plant Phosphatases for Catalyzing Dephosphorylation in Organic Media

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During my time participating in the REU program, I learned much more than I could ever learn in a classroom setting. Most of the time I have spent in labs through my college courses I have been following a lab manual that articulately describes the experiment. The professors and TA’s set up the experiments and are in the lab willing to help with any questions. However, my time as a research assistant in the REU program allowed me to see everything it takes to work in a lab as a scientist. The most important thing I learned while being in the lab is how to think critically about my experiments and that was carried out when I was able to design subset experiments to further investigate my research.

Outside of the lab, through the professional development meetings I was informed on how to make my passion for research turn into a reality. The meetings were especially helpful in what to do after college such as giving insight to graduate school and working in the industry vs. academic. My 8 weeks at Kettering University, although they were short, uncovered my passion for scientific research and that is what I hope to continue for the rest of my career.

Right now, I am studying abroad in Budapest, Hungary where I am currently doing an independent study in the Ethology department studying aging in dogs. I will return to Kalamazoo College in the spring to finish my final trimester as a junior. During the summer I will be starting my senior thesis which focuses on remapping the invasive species at our arboretum to find the most heavily populated areas. From there I will design and carry out a management control plan to hopefully decrease and eventually diminish the non native plant populations.

Hopefully after undergraduate I will be able to do research to get more experience before I
apply for graduate school for either ecology and conservation or plant biology.