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Gatton Academy students begin internships, summer programs

The summer months bring a change of pace for students and recent graduates of The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky. Students are beginning summer projects that span from their Kentucky backyards to internships across the nation and travels around the world.

The school’s annual summer internship program kicked off in November as students began looking for and applying to programs ranging from job shadowing placements to prestigious summer internships.

Notable research internships include two National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), an NSF-funded international research experience, two NASA internships, and three students who are headed to Kentucky-based Carlson Software. The Gatton Academy also continues with its sixth summer of the Gatton Research Internship Grant. Through this program, 20 rising Gatton Academy seniors will conduct summer research.

Additionally, this summer features travel and study abroad opportunities for 66 Gatton Academy students. Summer travel destinations include China, England, Moldova, Morocco and South Korea.

“Each summer, I am astounded by the range of what our students do,” said Derick Strode, Assistant Director of Academic Services at The Gatton Academy. “This summer—and just to scratch the surface—our students are writing computer programs for NASA, working in cybersecurity on NSF-funded programs, studying possible cancer treatments from coast-to-coast, and working at AMC Television.”

A list of grouped student summer plans (where more than one student is involved) appears below followed by individual student experiences.

National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) and NSF International Research Experiences:

The following three students have been selected for prestigious REUs and International Research Experiences funded through the NSF:

  • Lydia Buzzard (’15) of Hopkinsville will be a part of University of North Texas REU in Secure Software Testing for Web and Mobile Applications.
  • Vir Patel (’15) of Hopkinsville will be a part of the University of Wisconsin Madison REU in Integrated Biological Sciences with Dr. Sushmita Roy.
  • Rena Ryumae (’15) of Union will intern at Busan National University in South Korea with WKU’s Dr. Moon-Soo Kim.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Two graduating Gatton Academy students have been selected for internships with NASA:

  • Peter Kaminski (’15) of Owensboro will intern at NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility in Fairmont, West Virginia, working in cybersecurity.
  • Lindsay Walton (’15) of Goshen will intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, working in computer programming.

Carlson Software

Kentucky-based Carlson Software, headquartered in Maysville, will be the destination for three graduating Gatton Academy students:

  • Michael Blankenship (’15) of Stopover
  • Brian Carlson (’15) of Stanford
  • Christian Simms (’15) of Bardstown

Gatton Research Internship Grant recipients

In its sixth year, the Gatton Research Internship Grant program provides support funding for rising seniors to conduct summer research. Twenty students were chosen for summer 2015:

  • Hayden Brooks (’16) of Sturgis will work at WKU’s Department of Mathematics with Dr. Claus Ernst. He will study in the field of knot theory.
  • Nolan Calhoun (’16) of Corinth will conduct research at the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory in Newport with Dr. Julia Carter. His study will focus on gastrointestinal cancers.
  • Rohan Deshpande (’16) of LaGrange will research in WKU’s Department of Mathematics with mentorship from Dr. Richard Schugart. He will study how to better minimize the time for treatment for bacterial infection using oxygen therapy.
  • Jenna Ellis (’16) of Sparta will work in WKU’s Department of Computer Science with Dr. Uta Ziegler studying the simplification of the complexity of knot diagrams using global Reidemeister moves.

    Linyue “Joy” Fan of Bowling Green will perform research at WKU’s Department of Biology with mentorship from Dr. Ajay Srivastava. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

    Linyue “Joy” Fan of Bowling Green will perform research at WKU’s Department of Biology with mentorship from Dr. Ajay Srivastava. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

  • Linyue “Joy” Fan (’16) of Bowling Green will perform research at WKU’s Department of Biology with mentorship from Dr. Ajay Srivastava. She will perform experiments to better understand cytotoxic effects of silver nanoparticles in Drosophila, an in-vivo model organism.
  • Esther Huggins (’16) of Elizabethtown will conduct research at WKU’s Department of Chemistry with Dr. Matthew Nee. She will study computational chemistry calculations on the effect of solvation of nitrate ion in water.
  • Hayden Justice (’16) of Danville will design, implement and test heuristic algorithms for computational problems involved with CP-nets under the mentorship of Dr. Judy Goldsmith at the University of Kentucky Department of Computer Science.
  • Emily Keeter (’16) of Frankfort will intern at the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics to conduct research on the effects of gender and race on educational attainment and employment statistics. Dr. Kate Akers will mentor her.
  • Noah Latham (’16) of Franklin will work at WKU’s Department of Engineering with Dr. Farhad Ashrafzadeh to study the next generation of energy efficient clothes dryers.
  • Seth Marksberry (’16) of Owensboro will intern at WKU Owensboro Plant Biology lab under Dr. Chandrakanth Emani where he will develop a hydroponic system for cultivation of plants to be used for tissue culturing, synthesis of medicinal chemicals, and commercial crops.

    Harsh Moolani of Owensboro will research at WKU’s Department of Chemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Rajalingam Dakshinamurthy. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

    Harsh Moolani of Owensboro will research at WKU’s Department of Chemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Rajalingam Dakshinamurthy. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

  • Harsh Moolani (’16) of Owensboro will research at WKU’s Department of Chemistry under the mentorship of Dr. Rajalingam Dakshinamurthy. He will study the synthesis of antibiotics onto gold nanoparticles using a bio-friendly process.
  • Kristen Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville will intern at WKU’s Department of Biology with Dr. Steve Huskey to investigate the mechanism by which stingrays bury their venomous barbs into threats.
  • Lauren Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville will conduct research at WKU’s Department of Psychological Sciences with Dr. Farley Norman. She will study vision, in particular the comparison of older adults’ ability to visually estimate distance outdoors to younger adults.
  • Donald “DJ” Price (’16) of Perryville will work at WKU’s Department of Mathematics with Dr. Claus Ernst. He will study in the field of knot theory.
  • Elizabeth Pulsifer (’16) of Union will work in WKU’s Department of Biology with Dr. Claire Rinehart to find and annotate the genes for the mycobacteriophage Leviathan that she collected as part of the Genome Discovery and Exploration Program.
  • Graham Reynolds (’16) of Owensboro will intern at the Owensboro Cancer Research Program under Dr. Nobuyuki Matoba to investigate the anti-HIV and anti-cancer effects of a plant-made drug candidate.
  • Eura Shin (’16) of Morehead will work in WKU’s Department of Computer Science with Dr. Uta Ziegler studying the simplification of the complexity of knot diagrams using global Reidemeister moves.
  • Jeremiah Wayne (’16) of Henderson will intern at the Owensboro Cancer Research Program under Dr. Nobuyuki Matoba to investigate the anti-HIV and anti-cancer effects of a plant-made drug candidate.
  • Anne Barrett Wetzel (’16) of Princeton will study selenium nutrition of beef cattle grazing fescue pastures at the University of Kentucky’s Animal Science Department and at the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton.
  • Alexandra Wright (’16) of Union will conduct research at the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory in Newport with Dr. Alexandra Fajardo. She will study the role of p-21 activated kinase 1-3 in breast cancer cell proliferation, cell survival, and cell motility.

NCSSSMST Student Research Conference

Five Gatton Academy students are presenting research this summer at the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) Student Research Conference at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. From July 12-15, these students will join approximately 100 other students from across the country to share their research work through oral and poster presentations. Gatton Academy representatives and their presentation titles are:

  • Michael Belcher (’16) of Glasgow will present “Modeling in Fractional Calculus.”
  • Whitney Heard (’16) of Bowling Green will present on the mycobacteriophage Thelonious Monk.
  • Nolan Hughes (’16) of Shelbyville will team present “Vector Space Secret Sharing Scheme.”
  • Logan Nofsinger (’16) of Louisville will present “Carbon-Based Solar Cells with Small Molecules as Additives”
  • Eura Shin (’16) of Morehead will team present “Vector Space Secret Sharing Scheme.”

Experiences Abroad

This summer, 66 Gatton Academy students will be traveling abroad for study.

National Security Language Initiative-for Youth (NSLI-Y)

NSLI-Y scholarships are from the U.S. Department of State and fund students for six-to-eight weeks of intensive study and immersion in a critical language. The scholarship covers all program costs, travel to-and-from the host country, tuition, housing with a host family, activities and more. The following four students have received NSLI-Y Scholarships for summer language study.

  • Meredith Bickett (’15) of Owensboro will study the Arabic language in Morocco.
  • India Blasser (’15) of Henderson will study the Russian language in Moldova.
  • Samuel Booth (’15) of Owensboro will study the Korean language in South Korea.
  • Rena Ryumae (’15) of Union has declined her NSLI-Y Scholarship offer to go to South Korea in lieu of the NSF-funded research she will do in South Korea this summer (listed above).

Gatton Academy/WKU Confucius Institute Research Intensive

For 10 days in May, 15 Gatton Academy students studied in China through a partnership between the Confucius Institute and The Gatton Academy. Students were hosted by Beijing Language and Culture University and Tsinghua High School in Beijing. Students focused on China’s high-speed rail system, engineering and architecture, and trade and business.

  • Juan Atehortua (’16) of Bowling Green
  • Dana Biechele-Speziale (’15) of Grayson
  • Erin Burba (’15) of Paducah
  • Ian Canedo-Muzevic (’15) of Greenville
  • Rachel Cooper (’16) of Louisville
  • Linyue “Joy” Fan (’16) of Bowling Green
  • Luci Keller (’16) of Hopkinsville
  • Kain Kotoucek (’15) of Franklin
  • Kelly McKenna (’15) of Crestwood
  • Logan Nofsinger (’16) of Louisville
  • Alexandrea Pike-Goff (’16) of Brandenburg
  • Valerie Richmond (’15) of Bowling Green
  • James “Alex” Senig (’16) of Munfordville
  • Riley Walch (’16) of Alexandria
  • Jack Wassom (’15) of Bowling Green

Confucius Institute’s High School China Summer Bridge Program 2015

For two weeks in July, four students will travel to China visiting cultural sites and participating in language courses and learning traditional activities thanks to funding from the Confucius Institute’s Confucius Classroom program.

  • Logan Houchens (’15) of Crestwood
  • Dimitri Leggas (’15) of Lexington
  • Kathryn “Rachel” Price (’15) of Annville
  • Jeremiah Wayne (’16) of Henderson

England

Now in its fifth year, The Gatton Academy is once again partnering with Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, to offer a study abroad course. The following students will study Honors: Introduction to Literature with Professor Walker Rutledge of WKU’s Department of English:

  • Niven Achenjang (’16) of Barbourville
  • Saadia Akhtar (’16) of Bowling Green
  • Juan Atehortua (’16) of Bowling Green
  • Dustin Avery (’16) of Hardyville
  • Joshua Baunach (’16) of Taylorsville
  • Michael Belcher (’16) of Glasgow
  • Taylor Bowman (’16) of Mount Sterling
  • Meg Brown (’16) of Campbellsville
  • Jared “Chase” Carney (’16) of Campbellsville
  • Rachel Cooper (’16) of Louisville
  • Rohan Deshpande (’16) of LaGrange
  • Jenna Ellis (’16) of Sparta
  • Alexander Gelderman (’16) of Bowling Green
  • Whitney Heard (’16) of Bowling Green
  • William Hornsby (‘16) of Bowling Green
  • Sean Hudson (’16) of Louisville
  • Esther Huggins (’16) of Elizabethtown
  • Nolan Hughes (’16) of Shelbyville
  • Hayden Justice (’16) of Danville
  • Emily Keeter (’16) of Frankfort
  • Luci Keller (’16) of Hopkinsville
  • Sarah King (’16) of Irvine
  • Noah Latham (’16) of Franklin
  • Malia Latimer (’16) of Louisville
  • Terrance Life (’16) of Elizabethtown
  • Maria Long (’16) of Mt. Washington
  • Wendy Loomis (’16) of Ft. Mitchell
  • Seth Marksberry (’16) of Owensboro
  • Harsh Moolani (’16) of Owensboro
  • Logan Nofsinger (’16) of Louisville
  • Kristen Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville
  • Lauren Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville
  • Alexandrea Pike-Goff (’16) of Brandenburg
  • Donald Price (‘16) of Perryville
  • Graham Reynolds (’16) of Owensboro
  • Emma Saarinen (‘16) of Shelbyville
  • James “Alex” Senig (‘16) of Munfordville
  • Eura Shin (16’) of Morehead
  • Riley Walch (16’) of Alexandria
  • Zachary Wesley (16’) of Somerset
  • Anne Barrett Wetzel (16’) of Princeton
  • Amanda White (16’) of Louisville
  • Rebecca Wood (16’) of Maysville

Other Notable Individual Summer Experiences

  • Melissa Anderson (’15) of Frankfort will work at YMCA Falling Springs Camp as a counselor.
  • Julia Gensheimer (’15) of Bowling Green will intern at the Ben Town Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute in Seattle, Washington. She will also be competing at the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament in Dallas, Texas.
  • Courtney George (’15) of Maysville will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Benjamin Guthrie (’15) of Bowling Green will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies. He will also compete in the Quiz Bowl High School National Championship Tournament.
  • Logan Houchens (’15) of Crestwood will work as a production assistant in Atlanta, Georgia, for the AMC Television series Halt and Catch Fire.
  • Paul Hudson (’15) of Benton will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies. He will also conduct research with WKU;s Department of Engineering under the mentorship of Dr. Farhad Ashrafzadeh.
  • Dimitri Leggas (’15) of Lexington will continue researching with Dr. Oleg Tsodikov of the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy and with Dr. Jeremy Maddox of WKU’s Department of Chemistry.
  • Kelly McKenna (’15) of Crestwood will work as a counselor at a Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana Summer Resident Camp.
  • NaKeya Owens (’15) of London will attend the University of Chicago Academic Achievement Program.
  • Mollie Pope (’15) of Barbourville will travel to Italy.
  • Kathryn “Rachel” Price (’15) of Annville will intern with Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway.
  • Valerie Richmond (’15) of Bowling Green will intern as a Wright Scholar Research Intern at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Ananya Sharma (’15) of Bowling Green will travel to India.
  • William Walters (’15) of Lexington will be a counselor for the VAMPY camp at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Saadia Akhtar (’16) of Bowling Green will conduct independent research at WKU’s Department of Biology under the mentorship of Dr. Sigrid Jacobshagen.
  • Michael Belcher (’16) of Glasgow will volunteer at Barren County High School.
  • Taylor Bowman (’16) of Mt. Sterling will volunteer at Habitat for Humanity in Lexington.
  • Laney Brager (’16) of Hawesville will be working at Genzyme, a biotechnology corporation, under the direction of Dr. Matthew Davison.
  • Rachel Cooper (’16) of Louisville will attend the University of Kentucky’s Health Researchers Youth Academy, the Naval Academy’s Summer Seminar in Annapolis, Maryland, and Murray State University’s Honors Academy.
  • Rodrigo Daboin Sanchez (’16) of Murray will travel to Venezuela. He will also be serving as a mathematics tutor at the Adventures in Math and Science summer program at Murray State University.
  • Whitney Heard (’16) of Bowling Green will enroll in summer classes at WKU.
  • Nolan Hughes (’16) of Shelbyville will enroll in summer classes at WKU.
  • Lucas Knight (’16) of Owensboro will intern at the Green River Area Development District in community development.
  • Malia Latimer (’16) of Louisville will attend the Pre-Professional Education Program (PEPP) at the University of Pikeville.
  • Logan Nofsinger (’16) of Louisville will conduct research at the Conn Center for Renewable Energy Research at the University of Louisville. He will also attend the University of Michigan’s Michigan Math and Science Scholars program.
  • Leslie Pike (’16) of Hodgenville will volunteer with St. James Catholic Church in Elizabethtown.
  • Emma Saarinen (’16) of Shelbyville will volunteer and conduct community service on the Girl Scout Gold Award.
  • Brigid Walters (’16) of Munfordville will volunteer with the Student Conservation Association at the Arlington Outdoor Education Association, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia.
  • Zachary Wesley (’16) of Somerset will volunteer at the Mill Springs Battlefield Museum in Nancy and conduct living history demonstrations.

Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971

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