A summer of science
Hauber Fellows delve into the wild world of science for ten weeks of their summer break
August 12, 2014
Each summer, a select group of a dozen undergraduate students is selected to work side-by-side with faculty from each of Loyola’s six departments for the natural and applied sciences (biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematical sciences, and physics) through the University’s Hauber Summer Research Fellowships.
The Hauber Fellowship program—which started in the summer of 1988, when the first group of students were invited to participate in faculty-sponsored research—was established in honor of Father Edward S. Hauber, S.J., who taught chemistry at Loyola from 1942-1966.
The program runs for 10 weeks, during which participants have the opportunity to conduct research in the students’ area of interest; attend seminars; present on their findings, and participate in social activities.
Hauber Fellows have the opportunity to apply for federal grants. This year Brian Yang, ’16, and Christopher McLeod, ’15, received funding from the National Institutes of Health for their research.
“Hauber Summer Research Fellowship is now part of the identity and fabric of a thriving community known as Natural and Applied Sciences. This program empowers students to interact and learn through interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary topics,” said Bahram Roughani, associate dean for the natural and applied sciences. “Our students benefit from one-on-one mentorship when working with our highly-qualified and dedicated faculty on a research project, while the research experience provides a high-impact learning opportunity for undergraduates,” Roughani said.
At the end of the summer, each student is required to submit a written report. In the fall, each student is given the opportunity to present his or her research in a symposium to their peers and to faculty members in the Loyola community.
Depending on the outcome of their research, students are encouraged to submit their work for publication. And for many students, a Hauber Fellowship has led to recognition in their field on campus and on a national level, an invitation to co-author presentations and/or manuscripts, and entry into professional or graduate school.
Eli Worth, ’16, and Megan Kern, ’15, are both physics majors working with Gregory N. Derry, Ph.D., in the physics department on research examining the work function of various metals.
This is Kern’s second year working with surface physics as a Hauber Fellow. She and Worth, a first-year fellow, are working together as a team to focus on different aspects of work function.
Kern’s research, called “Combined Techniques to Accurately Measure the Work Function of Clean Metals,” focused on collective quantitative data as it relates to the work function of crystalline solids, while Worth’s interest was in collecting data on “Kelvin Probe CPD Measurements Involved in Surface Physics and Work Functions.”
The team’s experiments consisted of finding precise values for the work function of many different metals. To do this, they employed two different techniques: contact potential difference measurements using a Kelvin Probe, and photoelectric threshold measurements.
“By combining the two using a method devised by Dr. Derry known as ‘Global Minimization,’ we can find more precise and reliable work function values for different metals than what are currently available,” Worth explained.
“Working with Dr. Derry has allowed me to learn a lot about Surface Science,” Worth said. “Dr. Derry has been involved with research like this for many years, and so he has quite a bit of experience with the subject which makes learning from him all the more fruitful.”
Worth, who says he plans to do similar research in the future with his physics degree, has found his experience working with fellow students and experts in the field this summer to be extremely valuable. “Being able to learn what it is like to work in an group environment, where each member contributes what they can, is a great experience.”
As the end of summer and the program nears, Roughani would like to recognize the support of those who make the Hauber program possible: “We greatly appreciate the support of our industrial partners, individual supporters, and private foundations, which have provided the financial support necessary to sustain and enhance a program that empowers our dedicated faculty to work with our talented students in such an outstanding summer research program.”
This year’s Hauber Fellows
Terrence Donnelly, ’16
Topic: “Mechanical Behavior of Materials”
Faculty mentor: Robert Pond, Ph.D., affiliate associate professor of engineering
Margaret Dawson, ’15
Topic: “Results of a Multivariate Analysis of a Movie Theme Survey”
Faculty mentor: Dr. Richard Auer, associate professor of mathematics and statistics
Megan Kern, ’15
Topic: “Combined Techniques to Accurately Measure the Work Function of Clean Metals”
Faculty mentor: Dr. Gregory Derry, professor of physics
Eli Worth, ’16
Topic: “Kelvin Probe CPD Measurements Involved in Surface Physics and Work Functions”
Faculty mentor: Dr. Gregory Derry, professor of physics
Jennifer Navatto, ’15
Topic: “Life and Times of a Bodenvag: Plant Stress Physiology of a Model Plant”
Faculty mentor: Bernadette Roche, Ph.D., associate professor of biology
Mary Kamos, ’15
Topic: “Comparing the Effects of Mutant JARID 1C Levels on Stem Cell Properties”
Faculty mentor: Theresa Geiman, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology
Armando Benavidez, ’15
Topic: “The Localization of a Robot Using a Probabilistic Model”
Faculty mentor: Roger Eastman, Ph.D., professor of computer science
Alexander Kontos, ’15
Topic: “Spherical Casimir Effect”
Faculty mentor: Andrea Erdas, Ph.D., associate professor of physics
Gunnar Wilson, ’15
Topic: “Modeling the Energy Levels of a Laser with a Temperature Dependence”
Faculty mentor: Joseph Ganem, Ph.D., professor of physics
Brian Yang, ’16, and Christopher McLeod, ’15
Topic: “Correlation of Retrotransposon Pairs and Fragile Sites within the Yeast Genome”
Faculty mentor: Lisa Scheifele, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology
Sarah Miller, ’17
Topic: “The Impact of Using an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer on Student Perception and Learning in Chemistry”
Faculty mentors: Richard Auer, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics and statistics, and Elizabeth Dahl, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry