Summer Scholars showcase a range of research

Jenna Thompson '17 and Leigha Embertson '17 discuss their exercise science research with Alvina Brueggemann of the WHIR Center. Photo by Ryan Johnson '19

Jenna Thompson '17 and Leigha Embertson '17 discuss their exercise science research with Alvina Brueggemann of the WHIR Center. Photo by Ryan Johnson '19

2016 Summer Scholars

This week, fifteen hardworking student-faculty teams readied posters, artwork and test samples for the Summer Scholars Closing Celebration. The teams presented their research work to faculty, staff, trustees, family and community members.

A Collaborative Undergraduate Research program, Summer Scholars offers an intensive 10-week experience. Students collaborate with faculty, conducting in-depth research. The topics of the research projects this summer varied hugely, ranging from theology to physics.

The students’ creative and problem solving skills were evident throughout their presentations. For instance, is the equipment you need too expensive? Emily Anderson ’17 has a solution!

“Cell incubators are approximately $2500, $5000, and up — very, very expensive. So I decided that I’m going to make one,” explained Anderson as she showed attentive listeners the acrylic and polycarbonate microscope incubator prototypes that she crafted over the summer.

From Sharon Tacheny ‘17 researching women and their part in ancient law, to biology students Chi Na Moua and Courtney Kirkeide ‘17 creating marketable research for new assistive walking devices, St. Kate’s students delved deep into their research for the past three months.

Summer Scholars 2016 Teams


Characterization of DNA-binding Proteins in Lumbriculus Sperm
Students: Mysee Lee and Kelsey McKenna
Faculty mentor: Kay Tweeten

Genetics and Nutrient Conditions of Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris Arundinacea) Populations at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
Student: Danielle Meyer
Faculty mentor: Martha Phillips

Practicing with a Gait Trainer: A Longitudinal Study
Students: Courtney Kirkeide, Chi Na Moua, and Nicole Szyszka
Faculty mentor: Marcie Myers


Mechanochemical Synthesis of Photoluminescent Copper (I) Complexes: A Green Chemistry Approach
Student: Dominique Rabaey
Faculty mentor: Daron Janzen

Characterization of Dilated Cardiomyopathy Linked R25 Mutants of Phospholamban
Student: Mara Exline
Faculty mentor: Kim Ha

Derivatization of Secondary Alcohols for the Purpose of Molecular Characterization
Student: Odi Mentari
Faculty mentor: Ani Jordan

Alterations of HMBC Parameters to Show 4JC-H and 5JC-H Correlations
Student: Elizabeth Sperry
Faculty mentor: Ani Jordan

Characterization of the Reduction of Graphene Oxide
Students: Madisen Hyatt and Alexa Trusty
Faculty mentor: Gina Mancini-Samuelson


What’s the Value of a Degree? Evidence from Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia
Students: Zea Branson and Taylor Flak
Faculty mentor: Caroline Krafft

Exercise and Sports Science

Exercise Duration and Associated Fitness Improvement
Students: Leigha Embertson, Sophie Olson, and Jenna Thompson
Faculty mentor: Mark Blegen


Homology of Permutation Complexes
Student: Kat Wallick
Faculty mentor: Chris Ross

Investigating Topological Properties of Neural Codes
Student: Ruby Bayliss
Faculty mentor: Kristy Pelatt


Low Cost Microscope Incubator for Long-Term Cell Observations
Student: Emily Anderson
Faculty mentor: Jolene Johnson

Public Health

Child Spacing Decision-Making and Couple Communication among Somali Men and Women in the Twin Cities
Student: Fathi Ahmed
Faculty mentor: Carie Cox


Ladies and the Law: Considering Women in Ancient Legal Codes
Student: Shannon Tacheny
Faculty mentor: Elaine James

By Ryan Johnson '19