Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Matt Trujillo

The Summer Research Apprentice Program has officially come to a close, and this is our final SRAP student spotlight. Thanks for reading about these excellent students!

Matt Trujillo, a junior from Denver, Colorado enjoys math and science, and explains,
“I like math because it always has a problem and always has a solution,” he says. “And I like science because it is an actual application of mathematics, and it is amazing to understand how the universe works.”

Before coming to the University of Wyoming to participate in the SRAP program, Matt wanted to study engineering after high school.

“I’m not sure now though,” Matt says.  “Geophysics is actually super interesting, so I might want to pursue that.”

Matt learned many new things about geophysics as he spent his summer studying with Dr. Steve Holbrook in the Geology and Geophysics department.

“I’m studying Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR),”he says. “It’s a non-invasive way of finding water in the subsurface.”

Matt’s favorite part of his project has been conducting the research himself.

“I really like actually using the NMR in the field and interpreting my own data.” He says.

Conducting this kind of research is something that most high school students, and even many undergraduate students do not have the opportunity to experience.

“He’s getting to use this instrument in the field, and he’s getting to analyze the data himself, he’s seeing it,” says Dr. Holbrook. “He’s actually doing what a graduate student would do.”

Matt enjoys geophysics for many reasons, and hopes to learn more about the field.

“I like that it’s super hands-on. I also like all of the different technologies you can use. They’re just cool,” Matt says. “I want to learn more about geophysics and how it can be used and applied in the real world.”


SRAP is a six-week, intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and is sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR. To learn more about the program, click here, or search “SRAP” in the archives.

By Robin Rasmussen

Friday, August 15, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Nohely and Lacius

The Summer Research Program has officially come to a close, but we will still be featuring a few SRAP participants on our blog. Stay tuned! 

Lacius (left) and Nohely (right) with graduate students
Elizabeth Ferguson and Chelsea Ordiway.
Nohely Najera Mora, a senior from Denver, and Lacius Caddle, a senior from Jackson, Mississippi, spent their time at the University of Wyoming in the Psychology department.

Nohely worked in Dr. Sean McCrea’s lab, studying mindsets and goal phrases.

“I’ve read a lot of articles that pertain to my research,” she says. “I think it’s really cool, because I didn’t know a lot of this stuff and I just think it’s really interesting.”

Lacius worked in Dr. Ben Wilkowski’s Psychology lab, learning the different ways that psychology and law interact.

“My project is about jury decision making,” Lacius says. “The research I’m doing is exciting because I’ve never really done research like this before.”

Nohely and Lacius enjoyed their time at SRAP, and both enjoyed learning new things while conducting research.

“It’s a good learning experience,” says Lacius. “I learned something new every day.”

Nohely agrees, saying “I hope to learn whether research psychology is something I want to do or if I still want to do clinical psychology.”

Both Nohely and Lacius have a passion for psychology and would like to study psychology after they graduate from high school.


SRAP is a six-week, intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and is sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR. To learn more about the program, click here, or search “SRAP” in the archives.

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo by Robert Waggoner

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SRAP 2014 Comes to a Close

On July 18th, the Summer Research Apprentice Program came to a close during the SRAP 2014 Symposium.

After spending six-weeks in various research labs at the University of Wyoming, 22 high school students presented their research and findings to peers, mentors, families and friends. Students created poster-boards for the morning poster session, and then presented their research during 15-minute oral presentations.  

SRAP 2014 participants 
“After six-weeks of seeing these wonderful students grow, it’s amazing to see them present their research so enthusiastically.” says Lisa Abeyta, Wyoming EPSCoR’s Student Research Programs Coordinator. “I’m proud of them and everything they have accomplished.”

Students shared that they appreciated their time at the University of Wyoming, and enjoyed conducting research.

“My favorite part is the fact that I’m doing a real project, and it’s not just filler work. I’m doing actual research.”
-Matthew Trujillo

“I really enjoy the research and new science concepts that I’m learning.”
            -Holden Bindl

Students also valued meeting other students from all around the country.

“I definitely liked meeting all of the people. It’s really exciting to be with new people.”
-Natalie Blaise
           
“My favorite part of SRAP was meeting all of the new people. I wasn’t expecting everyone to be so nice, but I came here and I have made lots of friends.”
                        -Paul Mesa

“It’s a life-altering experience. Not only for the students, but also for myself,” says Lisa. “There is nothing else like it.”

Wyoming EPSCoR would like to thank the students, mentors and everyone else who helped make SRAP 2014 a success. Thanks for a great summer of exciting research!  

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo Courtesy of Lisa Abeyta

Monday, August 4, 2014

Wyoming EPSCoR Hosts Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium

Dr. Anne Sylvester welcomes students
Undergraduate research can open many doors for students as they prepare to continue in higher education, pursue a career or learn more about the field that interests them. To help students build additional research skills, Wyoming EPSCoR hosted their annual Undergraduate Research Symposium. The 2014 Symposium was held on July 21st at the University of Wyoming.

Dr. Cameron Wright speaks to students about
technical writing
The goal of the Symposium was to give undergraduate students at the University of Wyoming and Wyoming community colleges the information and tools they need to succeed and excel in undergraduate research, including planning, designing, implementing and presenting their projects.

“It was an informative and inspiring gathering and sharing of faculty and students,” says Beth Cable, Coordinator of Education, Outreach and Diversity for Wyoming EPSCoR. “I appreciate the time that both took out of their busy summer schedules to participate in the event. Hopefully, the students gained further understanding of the impacts that doing research can have on their academic and professional careers and the professors saw some of the impressive research that University of Wyoming undergraduates are doing.”


Dr. Will Welch speaks to students about
designing and presenting effective posters
Topics included technical writing, designing and presenting posters, scientists as entrepreneurs and more. Speakers from various departments at the the University of Wyoming spoke to participants and gave students insight into what it means to be a researcher.










By Robin Rasmussen
Photos by Robin Rasmussen

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Caleb Adeyemi

The Summer Research Apprentice Program has officially come to a close, but we will still be featuring a few SRAP participants on our blog. Stay tuned! 

A senior from Houston, Texas, Caleb looked forward to being on his own this summer and have the chance to learn about himself.

“I’m enjoying the opportunity to experience college life before I actually attend,” he says. “I like seeing how I adapt to new situations and learn more about myself.”
Dr. Pikal (left) and Caleb Adeyemi (right)

Caleb studied in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department with Dr. Jon Pikal during his SRAP experience.

“I’m currently studying the characteristics of optoelectronic materials and devices,” Caleb explains. “We are investigating the use of quantum dots in a light absorbing function for optical to electrical energy conversion in advanced solar cell structure. The basic idea is to take advantage of the unique properties of these different nanomaterials to optimize the conversion of solar energy to electrical power.”

While working in the lab this summer, Caleb looked forward to learning about his research and about himself.

“I really enjoy learning new concepts from Dr. Pikal that most students aren't exposed to in high school.” he says.

Dr. Pikal hoped to give Caleb a look into university research during SRAP.

“I’d like him to see what it’s like in a university research lab, because that’s a world that most undergraduates don’t even see,” Dr. Pikal says. “I think the experience of seeing how a lab works, what we do and how we do it is probably one of the more beneficial parts.”


SRAP is a six-week, intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and is sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR. To learn more about the program, click here, or search “SRAP” in the archives.

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo by Robert Waggener

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Blandon Su, Emily Oaxaca, and Kim Barrios

The Summer Research Apprentice Program has officially come to a close, but we will still be featuring a few SRAP participants on our blog! Stay tuned!

Blandon Su, Emily Oaxaca and Kim Barrios have spent their time at SRAP studying in the Ecosystem Science and Management department with professors Ginger Paige and Scott Miller.

“They got an introduction into a whole bunch of field hydrology and geophysics the first week,” said Dr. Paige. “They were in the field a lot.”

Emily (left), Blandon (middle), and Kimberly Barrios (right)
conduct field research
After their time in the field, Blandon, Emily and Kim each came up with a different research project to complete.

Blandon, a junior from Chicago, Illinois chose to study a stream, saying “My project is investigating a stream at Blair-Wallis. It’s funny, because one day, there’s a lot of water in the stream, and the day after, it’s starting to lose water, so my project is really open-ended.”

Understanding how water gets to the stream, and where it goes when it leaves the stream is a question that has long puzzled scientists.

“The great part about Blandon’s project is that it’s one of those hydrologic conundrums where we have to look at multiple avenues of investigation to figure out what’s going on,” Dr. Paige explained. “One approach doesn’t necessarily give you the right answer, you have to do this multiple times and figure out the complexities of what’s going on within the system.”

Emily, a junior from Denver, Colorado is working on a project that includes her fellow SRAP participants.

“I’m going to interview my fellow SRAP students about their thoughts and opinions on climate change,” she says. “I want to learn if it depends on gender, or age, or other factors.”

Emily hopes to become a better researcher in her time at SRAP, and wants to understand how different factors can influence people’s perceptions.

“I want to learn how to ask the right questions,” she says. “I hope to learn how to get better at talking to people.”

Kim, a recent high school graduate from Rawlins, Wyoming chose to examine rainfall and soil moisture.

“I’m measuring soil moisture and rainfall,” she says. “I’m also comparing different types of rain gauges and moisture sensors, to see which ones are more appropriate for different uses.”

Kim’s research will help WyCEHG scientists better understand the capabilities and limitations of the equipment they use.

Kim has decided to attend the University of Wyoming in the fall to pursue a degree in Architectural Engineering. Both Blandon and Emily plan to attend college after they graduate from high school, although neither has decided what they would like to study.


SRAP is a six-week, intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and is sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR. For more information about the program, click here, or search “SRAP” in the archives.

By Robin Rasmussen
Photo courtesy of Dr. Ginger Paige