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Summer filled with research, internships, study abroad for Gatton Academy students

Eighty-six students from The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky are involved in some form of summer learning. From research internships to study abroad to robust community service projects, students are gearing up for busy weeks ahead.

Notable research internships include two National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs), an NSF-funded international research experience, and a student participating in Germany’s DAAD RISE program. The Gatton Academy also continues with its seventh summer of the Gatton Research Internship Grant. Through this program, 16 rising Gatton Academy seniors will conduct summer research.

This summer features travel and study abroad opportunities for 54 Gatton Academy students. Summer travel destinations include China, England, Iceland, Moldova, Morocco and South Korea.

Amber Carroll Amber Carroll (’17) of Russellville will work in the WKU Department of Biology with Dr. Rodney King generating mutations in coli RNA polymerase to determine their phenotypes.

During the summer of 2016, Gatton Academy student Amber Carroll of Russellville will work in the WKU Department of Biology with Dr. Rodney King and will participate in a study abroad course with English Professor Walker Rutledge at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

“Gatton Academy students continuously seek opportunities to learn and to contribute,” said Director of The Gatton Academy Dr. Lynette Breedlove. “Whether it is participating in research, volunteering in their communities, or studying abroad, Academy students are actively engaged year-round in efforts that will contribute to their communities, our state, and our world. It is always exciting to see what they pursue in the summer.”

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:

  • Robert Bosh (’17) of Paducah will participate in the NSF REU at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Honor Hare (‘17) of Morehead will participate in the NSF REU at the National Solar Observatory in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Whitney Heard (’16) of Bowling Green will be researching in South Korea with WKU’s Dr. Moon-Soo Kim through a National Science Foundation International Research Experience.

Gatton Research Internship Grant recipients

In its seventh year, the Gatton Research Internship Grant program provides support funding for rising seniors to conduct summer research.  Sixteen students were chosen for summer 2016:

  • James “Matthew” Biddle (’17) of Vine Grove will be working at the WKU Department of Agriculture with Dr. Martin Stone studying the effects of heavy gravity on plant growth.
  • Vishnu “Karthik” Boyareddygari (’17) of Bowling Green will be doing research at the WKU Department of Chemistry with Dr. Stuart Burris. His study will focus on investigating methods of determining humic substances via electrochemical means.
  • Katherine Brown (’17) of Louisville will be researching with the WKU Department of Geography and Geology with mentorship from Dr. Nahid Gani. She will study tectonic activity on the Martian surface.
  • Amber Carroll (’17) of Russellville will work in the WKU Department of Biology with Dr. Rodney King generating mutations in coli RNA polymerase to determine their phenotypes.
  • Reese Danzer (’17) of Crittenden will perform research in the Division of Neurology at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center with mentorship from Dr. Christina Gross. He will review and score electroencephalography data and test the performance of the lab’s software.
  • Zechariah “Dylan” Daugherty (’17) of Madisonville will conduct research at the WKU Department of Finance with Dr. Ron Rhoades. He will study fiduciary law.
  • Evan Kessler (’17) of Bowling Green will be contributing to three studies in the Research of Ethical and Social Topics Lab with Dr. Pitt Derryberry in the WKU Department of Psychology.
  • Sherafghan Khan (’17) of Hopkinsville will be researching at the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with mentorship from Dr. Borden Lacy. He will be studying the structure of a pore made by Clostridium difficile Toix B (TcdB), a significant public health concern.
  • Jonathan Kinnard (’17) of Hopkinsville will be working at WKU’s Department of Psychological Sciences with Dr. Farley Norman to create and 3-D print objects to evaluate human participants’ ability to visually perceive 3-D object shape.
  • Aaron Kirtland (’17) of Crestwood will intern at the University of Louisville Department of Computer Engineering and Computer Science under Dr. Adrian Lauf where he will write algorithms and integrate physical systems to test results of his work with networked autonomous aircraft.
  • Logan Parker (’17) of LaGrange will research at WKU’s Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology under the mentorship of Dr. Yan Cao.
  • Ayush Prasad (’17) of Flatwoods will intern at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with WKU Mathematics faculty member Dr. Richard Schugart providing mentorship. He will be extending work on a mathematical model for wound healing.
  • Emma Reed (’17) of Fort Thomas will conduct research at the Northern Kentucky University College of Informatics with Dr. Maureen Doyle. She will develop a storytelling app to help young girls learn more about computer programming and engineering.
  • Sara Saeed (’17) of Louisville will be working at the WKU Department of Computer Science with Dr. James Gary. Her research will be on variations of the Josephus permutation problem.
  • Patricia “Tricia” Thompson (’17) of Owensboro will work in the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy with Dr. Ting-Hui Lee to research chemical abundances of compact planetary nebulae in the Galactic Disk.
  • Olivia Urso (’17) of Sparta will be interning at the WKU Department of Biology under Dr. Rodney King to generate mutations in bacteriophage HK639.

NCSSSMST Student Research Conference

Six Gatton Academy students are presenting research this summer at the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) Student Research Conference at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. From July 9-12, 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:

  • Makenzie Daniels (’17) of Smiths Grove will present “The Isolation of Mycobacteriophage Hemsworth.”
  • Caity Forgey (’17) of Shepherdsville will present “Associations between Parent Employment, Parenting, and Infant Temperament.”
  • Sherafghan Khan (’17) of Hopkinsville will present “The Isolation, Characterization, and Comparison of the Annotated Genomic Layout of Two A2 Bacteriophages, Flare16 and Baehexic.”
  • Aaron Kirtland (’17) of Crestwood will present “Geometric Methods for Reducing the Number of Hypothesis Boxes in Pedestrian Detection.”
  • Ayush Prasad (’17) of Flatwoods will present “A Mathematical Model for the Interactions of Matrix Metalloproteinases and Their Inhibitors in a Wound.”
  • Mia Weaver (’17) of Ashland will present “Coordinating Observations of the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.”

Experiences Abroad

This summer, 54 Gatton Academy students will study abroad.

DAAD RISE Program (Germany)

  • Eura Shin (’16) of Morehead has been selected for the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (German Academic Exchange Service) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (DAAD RISE) program in Karlsruhe, Germany. She is working with a German PhD student on a project that uses computational modeling to assess genetic mutations associated with familial Atrial Fibrillation, the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in humans. As part of her award, she receives a stipend to cover living expenses such as housing and food, a rail pass, health insurance, and travel to a three-day meeting in Heidelberg.

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 summer 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:

  • Megan Brown (’16) of Campbellsville will study the Arabic language in Morocco.
  • Corey Goodwin (’16) of Cadiz will study the Russian language in Moldova.
  • Logan Nofsinger (’16) of Louisville will study the Chinese language in China.
  • Emma Saarinen (’16) of Shelbyville will study the Russian language in Moldova.

England

Sherafghan Khan (’17) of Hopkinsville will be researching at the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine with mentorship from Dr. Borden Lacy. He will be studying the structure of a pore made by Clostridium difficile Toix B (TcdB), a significant public health concern.

In addition to participating in a study abroad course at Harlaxton College, Gatton Academy student Sherafghan Khan of Hopkinsville will be conducting research at the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and will present research at the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) Student Research Conference. (WKU photo by Clinton Lewis)

Now in its sixth 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 the WKU Department of English:

  • Ethan Abate (’17) of Florence
  • Tithe Ahmed (’17) of Cave City
  • Katie Alexander (’17) of Louisville
  • Katherine Ashley (’17) of Corbin
  • Alexander Banaszak (’17) of Crestwood
  • James “Matthew” Biddle (’17) of Vine Grove
  • Caroline Boone (’17) of Bardstown
  • Matthew Broadbent (’17) of Cerulean
  • Katherine Brown (’17) of Louisville
  • Mark Carrender (’17) of Somerset
  • Amber Carroll (’17) of Russellville
  • Maria Clark (’17) of Crestwood
  • Lea “Rhiannon” Connor (’17) of McKee
  • Matthew Courtwright (’17) of Campbellsville
  • Makenzie Daniels (’17) of Smiths Grove
  • Reese Danzer (’17) of Crittenden
  • Zechariah “Dylan” Daugherty (’17) of Madisonville
  • Alexa Davidson (’17) of Hazard
  • Haley Dicken (’17) of Albany
  • Parker Graff (’17) of Alexandria
  • Ruth Hughes (’17) of Harrodsburg
  • Julia Johnson (’17) of Elkton
  • Veronica Johnson (’17) of Bowling Green
  • Cordelia Jones (’17) of Frankfort
  • Evan Kessler (’17) of Bowling Green
  • Sherafghan Khan (’17) of Hopkinsville
  • Jonathan Kinnard (’17) of Hopkinsville
  • Aaron Kirtland (’17) of Crestwood
  • Elaine Losekamp (’17) of Bowling Green
  • Jacob McDavid (’17) of Grayson
  • William “Mason” Miller (’17) of Harlan
  • Samuel Newton (’17) of Elizabethtown
  • Logan Parker (’17) of LaGrange
  • Clara Pozgay (’17) of Bloomfield
  • Ayush Prasad (’17) of Flatwoods
  • Eileen Price (’17) of Louisville
  • Jenna Rowlett (’17) of Bedford
  • Sara Saeed (’17) of Louisville
  • Taylor Senay (’17) of Elizabethtown
  • Tyler Smith (’17) of Lexington
  • John “Caleb” Stickney (’17) of Irvine
  • Patricia “Tricia” Thompson (’17) of Owensboro
  • Mia Weaver (’17) of Ashland
  • Jessica Williams (’17) of Florence
  • Gabrielle Witt (’17) of Alexandria
  • Elizabeth Yates (’17) of Lexington
  • Taylor Young (’17) of Benton
  • Amanda Zahn (’17) of Walton

WKU Faculty-Led Study Abroad in Iceland

  • Rachel Cooper (’16) of Louisville is a participant in the Iceland: Perspectives and Realities of Climate Change study abroad program led by Dr. Leslie North, Dr. Jason Polk and Dr. Bernard Strenecky.

Other Notable Individual Summer Experiences

  • Niven Achenjang (’16) of Barbourville will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Saadia Akhtar (’16) of Bowling Green will volunteer at The Medical Center at Bowling Green.
  • Michael Belcher (’16) of Glasgow will work at the 21st Century STEM Summer Camps at Temple Hill and North Jackson Elementary schools.
  • Nolan Calhoun (’16) of Corinth will work as an undergraduate lab assistant at the Wood Hudson Cancer Research Laboratory in Newport.
  • Jenna Ellis (’16) of Sparta will intern at Interapt in Louisville.
  • Linyue “Joy” Fan (’16) of Bowling Green will continue research with the WKU Department of Biology with mentorship from Dr. Ajay Srivastava.
  • Alexander Gelderman (’16) of Bowling Green will complete an iron casting internship at an outdoor sculpture park.
  • Esther Huggins (’16) of Elizabethtown will work as a Child and Youth Program Assistant at the Army Installation Management Command in Fort Knox.
  • Nolan Hughes (’16) of Shelbyville will work at the Shelbyville Pharmacy.
  • Maria Long (’16) of Mount Washington will work at the WKU Floral Shop and Flora Design Training Center.
  • Wendy Loomis (’16) of Fort Mitchell will travel to Kenya and Tanzania.
  • Seth Marksberry (’16) of Owensboro will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Luke Miles (’16) of Georgetown will work at an organic farm in Lexington.
  • Harsh Moolani (’16) of Owensboro will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Kristen Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies.
  • Lauren Pedersen (’16) of Barbourville will be a counselor for the SCATS and VAMPY camps at the WKU Center for Gifted Studies. She will also continue research work in the WKU Department of Psychological Sciences with Dr. Farley Norman.
  • Leslie Pike (’16) of Hodgenville will continue chemistry studies at WKU through summer enrollment.
  • D.J. Price (’16) of Perryville will work at the Lions Camp Crescendo as a counselor for a deaf/hard of hearing camp. He will also volunteer at the Kentucky School for the Deaf’s summer programs.
  • Riley Walch (’16) of Alexandria will conduct research in the University of Kentucky’s College of Engineering with Dr. Nelson Akafuah. He will also volunteer at Riding Forward, a nonprofit organization focused on wheeled sports in Covington.
  • Jeremiah Wayne (’16) of Henderson will intern at the Owensboro Health at Henderson Therapy Clinic.
  • Zachary Wesley (’16) of Somerset will volunteer at the Mill Springs Battlefield Museum and participate in Civil War reenactments.
  • Amanda White (’16) of Louisville will participate in Leadership Training with the Brown Fellows Program.
  • Ethan Abate (’17) of Florence will intern at the Research and Development Department with Brett Bonner at the Kroger Company in Cincinnati.
  • Tithe Ahmed (’17) of Cave City will participate in the AgDiscovery Program at Kentucky State University.
  • Katie Alexander (’17) of Louisville will volunteer at the Kentucky Science Center in Louisville.
  • Katherine Ashley (’17) of Corbin will work at Redhound Enrichment, a summer program for elementary-aged children in Corbin.
  • Alexander Banaszak (’17) of Crestwood will conduct research in the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy with Dr. Sanju Gupta.
  • Robert Bosh (’17) of Paducah will attend the United States Air Force Academy Summer Seminar in Colorado.
  • Xavier Brickeen (’17) of Hickory will participate in the Health Researchers Youth Academy at the University of Kentucky. He will also continue coursework at WKU through summer enrollment.
  • Matthew Broadbent (’17) of Cerulean will volunteer with Cerulean Baptist Church.
  • Lea “Rhiannon” Connor (’17) of McKee will volunteer for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation’s Kentucky seminar in Richmond and with the Berea office of Save the Children.
  • Makenzie Daniels (’17) of Smiths Grove will work as a pharmacy technician.
  • Alexa Davidson (’17) of Hazard will participate in the Governor’s School for the Arts at Centre College concentrating in architecture.
  • Haley Dicken (’17) of Albany will conduct research with Dr. Natasha Kyprianou in the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.
  • Parker Graff (’17) of Alexandria will volunteer with Asbury United Methodist Church.
  • Cherish Gray (’17) of Barbourville will volunteer with Baptist Health Hospital of Corbin.
  • Presley Henshaw (’17) of Morganfield will participate in the Governor’s Scholar Program at Morehead State University. She will also volunteer for the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Foundation’s Kentucky seminar in Richmond.
  • Cordelia Jones (’17) of Frankfort will volunteer with the Kentucky Historical Society.
  • Aaron Kirtland (’17) of Crestwood will participate in the United States Military Academy’s Summer Leaders Experience at West Point, New York.
  • Elaine Losekamp (’17) of Bowling Green will continue coursework at WKU through summer enrollment.
  • Samuel Newton (’17) of Elizabethtown will be volunteering with Winshape Camps.
  • Clara Pozgay (’17) of Bloomfield will work at the International Society for Technology in Education conference in Denver.
  • Emma Reed (’17) of Fort Thomas will volunteer at St. Elizabeth Healthcare in Edgewood.
  • Taylor Senay (’17) of Elizabethtown will present research work from the WKU Genome Discovery and Exploration Program at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science Education Alliance PHAGES Symposium at the HHMI Janelia Farm campus in Ashburn, Virginia.
  • Tyler Smith (’17) of Lexington will conduct research in the WKU Department of Physics and Astronomy with Dr. Sanju Gupta.

About The Gatton Academy:  Established in 2007, The Gatton Academy is Kentucky’s first residential high school for gifted and talented junior and seniors. The Gatton Academy’s students enroll as juniors and are full-time WKU students pursuing their interests in advanced science, technology, engineering and mathematical careers. The Gatton Academy has been named to the Washington Post’s list of top-performing schools with elite students for eight consecutive years and was named the number one public high school in the United States by The Daily Beast for three consecutive years – 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Contact: Zack Ryle, (270) 745-2971

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