A summer of science

Hauber Fellows delve into the wild world of science for ten weeks of their summer break

By Brigid Hamilton  |  Photos by Brigid Hamilton

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.

Loyola's 2014 Hauber Fellows pose with Ted Imes, sector director of talent acquisition from Northrop Grumman, in July (not pictured: Brian Yang and Megan Kern).

The Hauber Fellowship programwhich started in the summer of 1988, when the first group of students were invited to participate in faculty-sponsored researchwas 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.

Bahram Roughani, Ph.D., associate dean for the natural and applied sciences, introduces Worth, '16, and Kern, '15, before they give a presentation on their research.

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.

Kern explains the conditions for her and Worth's experiments in surface physics.

“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
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

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