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May 01, 2013

Diving into their questions

Students at Delaware Valley College spent the semester exploring topics such as solar energy, people’s perceptions of diversity, strategies for teaching, how horses learn, estrogen content in natural waters, and more at DelVal.

On Tuesday, April 30, they presented their work on campus for their peers as well as faculty members and other guests.

The topics explored were as different as the students, which is the appeal of the course for a lot of undergraduates. Students choose a topic of interest and explore it for a semester under the guidance of a faculty member. They design a research project with a question, present their results and take questions.

The course is open to students from all majors. Students who participate gain experience that is valuable for graduate school, professional school or a career in academic or industry research.

Joseph Capece ’14, an environmental science major, presented “New Dyes for Nanocrystalline Solar Cells.” He worked to see if he could increase efficiency of solar cells with new dyes. His goal was to synthesize an improved dye.

Victoria Oravec ’13, a chemistry major, presented, “Estrogen Content in Natural Waters.” She spent her semester studying water samples from both Pennsylvania and Florida to see how levels of environmental estrogens compared. She found that the samples from all the locations in both Pennsylvania and Florida were above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) limit for DDE. Studies with mice and hamsters have reported an increased incidence of liver tumors from oral exposure to DDE and it is classified as a Group B2 probable human carcinogen.

Barb Krier ’14, a counseling psychology student, presented “Making Diversity Work on Campus: A Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis of Campus Culture.” She spent her semester examining attitudes toward diversity on campus with a team.

Bristol-Myers Squibb provides funding for the Student Research Course to help make the projects possible.

Other presentations included:

“Effects of Feline Urinary Diets,” presented by Courtney Winzenried

“Luminescent Properties of Lanthanide Complexes,” presented by Bathilda Lake

“Development of Lipophilic Luminescent Lanthanide Complexes,” presented byAlyssa Cortina.

“Isolation of a Bacteriophage Infecting an Antibiotic Resistant Pseudomonas aerginosa,” presented by Emily Lipsi.

“The Effects of Exotic Insect Consumption by Purple Pitcher Plants,” presented by Patrick Allison.

“Bacterial Identification of Scours in Piglets,” presented by Devin Cunningham.

“The Cross-Population Regulatory Evolution of Human MicroRNA,” presented by Charles Jester.

“Learning and Memory Gene Masking in C. elegans,” presented by Taylor Culver and Emily Kraft.

“Effects of Water Stress in Chile Pepper Capsaicin Concentration,” presented by Nancy Scanlan.

“Analyzing Students’ Perceptions of Effective Teaching Strategies and Techniques,” Maggie Levicoff.

“Equine Cognitive Learning Behavior,” presented by Sarah Rynbrandt.

“Horse Slaughter: Views and Perspectives of DVC Students and Faculty,” presented by Kate Warren and Ally Brink.