Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Faces of SRAP: John Lopez

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! 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dr. Brant Schumaker, left, and John Lopez, right
John Lopez, a senior from Colorado hopes to gain a more clear idea of what he wants to do after high school from participating in SRAP.

“I want to learn whether or not the science field is something that I would like to pursue,” he says. “So far, I’m enjoying it.”

During his time at the University of Wyoming, John studied brucellosis in Dr. Brant Schumaker’s lab, at the Wyoming State VeterinaryLaboratory.

“We’re working on finding a good diagnostic kit for a disease that is in the greater Yellowstone area," John says.

Dr. Schumaker adds, “John will be evaluating different extraction kits for DNA, trying to detect the organism in tissues of infected animals.”


John’s favorite part of his project, he says, is working in the lab.

“I like that it involves a lot of hands-on work in the lab. I like learning all of this new information.”

Dr. Schumaker is glad that John got experience conducting research at the University of Wyoming.

“I hope he gets a real sense for what we do in research, in the biological sciences,” Dr. Schumaker says. “He can use that as a way to jumpstart his career, whatever that might be.”

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 15, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Jason Edman

Jason Edman
When Jason Edman begins his classes this fall at the University of Wyoming, he will have an edge up on many of his peers.

 Over the last six weeks, Jason has taken part in intensive research in Dr. Grant Bowman’s lab in the Molecular Biology department, learning about the cell cycle and the specific function of a novel bacterial protein.

Dr. Bowman explains, “Jason’s goal is to discover the function of a novel protein. So far, it doesn’t look like anything that is in the published literature.” In order to accomplish this, “His job is to take the knockout strain, which means that it doesn’t produce any of this protein, and ask if it is defective in cell division or different in any way compared to normal cells.”

Jason is learning how cells grow and behave under different conditions, and how these characteristics are related to underlying cell structure. Jason and Dr. Bowman’s research is new and significant, and will provide new insights for the molecular biology field.

“We’re trying to break new ground here,” Dr. Bowman says. “Discovering new information about how bacteria grow and adapt to new environments has important implications for a wide number of scientific and medical fields.”

Jason has enjoyed his summer of research, and has learned a lot in Dr. Bowman’s lab.

“I like doing lab work a lot,” he says. “It’s been fun learning new things and meeting new people.”


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

Monday, July 14, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Holden Bindl

Holden Bindl, a senior from Fort Bridger, Wyoming is spending his summer studying his favorite subjects – math and science.

“I love knowledge,” he says. “And I also love the ability to understand how things work and behave and why.”

Holden (left) and Dr. Franco Basile
Holden gets to apply his love of knowledge this summer as he works with Dr. Franco Basile in the Chemistry department.

“For my project, I’m studying what is released after bacteria are infected with a virus,” he says. “I hope to learn how to determine different substances based off of what they decay into.”

Researchers typically use mass spectrometers to detect molecules that exist within a sample. The size of the mass spectrometer makes it impossible to use in the field or in other locations outside of the lab, but Holden and Dr. Basile are working to make a smaller unit powerful enough to detect bacteria.

“The one that we want to use is much smaller,” says Dr. Basile. “We need to come up with a way to make the analyses possible with this smaller device.”

Holden’s project has many real world applications and can be used in many areas of study.

“The project itself has the potential to have a lot of impact,” says Dr. Basile. “It’s a real need.”

Holden was a student in the SRAP program last summer, working in the Computer Engineering department.

After he graduates from high school, Holden hopes to attend Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California to study both math and physics.

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 Robin Rasmussen

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Emily Stone and Savanna Umberger

Emily Stone and Savanna Umberger have always had a passion for psychology, and both plan to make a career of it.

Emily, a recent high school graduate from Orem, Utah plans to study psychology and political science this fall when she starts college at Connecticut College.

“I love psychology and I’m pretty sure that’s what I want to do,” she says. “I would like to be a psychologist that specializes in eating disorders.”

Emily is working in Dr. Walt Scott’s Psychology lab, with Shannon Blakey, a graduate student in the psychology department.

From left to right:
Savanna Umberger, Shannon Blakey, and Emily Stone
“My project has to do with rape myth belief,” Emily says. “I hope to gain a better understanding of rape culture and what we can do to change it.”

Savanna, a senior in high school from Hanna, Wyoming, also enjoys psychology and plans to study psychology after she graduates high school.  

When asked about psychology, Savanna says, “It’s always interested me. I took a psychology class in high school and it just really caught my interest from the beginning.”

Like Emily, Savanna is working in Dr. Scott’s lab, but on a different project.

“My project is the correlation between substance abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD),” she says. Savanna is interested in understanding “why people with PTSD turn to substances and alcohol and how PTSD develops.”

Emily and Savanna like their projects, and have enjoyed the opportunity to study psychology and ask questions.

“Both Emily and Savanna are really learning to appreciate that these are all phenomenon most people experience to some degree,” says Shannon. “Having a better understanding of these associations could help us design better ways to help these people and help them reclaim their lives.”

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 8, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Sarah Fanning and Virgil Morrison

Although they’re still getting all of the details of their project worked out, Sarah Fanning and Virgil Morrison both enjoy what they’re doing in the Botany department, and they love collecting ecological data.

“We went out to the field last week to measure trees,” says Sarah Fanning, a senior from Colorado. “That was really fun.”

From left to right:
Virgil Morrison, Dr. Brent Ewers, Sarah Fanning
“I’ve learned a lot in the lab, but I definitely like to be outside,” says Virgil, a recent high school graduate from Riverton, WY.

Sarah and Virgil are working in Dr. Brent Ewers Botany lab this summer, studying the effects of pine beetles for their Summer Research Apprentice Program research project.

Sarah and Virgil have different passions, but both of them greatly enjoy science.

Sarah enjoys Paleontology, and plans to make a career out of it.

“I’ve never done Botany before, I’ve never worked with anything that hasn’t been dead for 50 million years,” she says. “I’m excited to see how living things are right now, in their purest form instead of their fossilized form.”

Like Sarah, Virgil enjoys science, specifically Biology.

“I like seeing and learning about what’s going on where I go,” he says. “I just really enjoy it, I have a really good teacher, so that made it fun for me.”


Both Sarah and Virgil look forward to a summer filled with research and exciting new opportunities.

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

Monday, July 7, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Brian Nussbaum and Paul Mesa

Brian Nussbaum, a senior from Green River, WY and Paul Mesa, a senior from Riverside, CA, have both found an interest in Chemical and Petroleum Engineering this summer. Brian and Paul are working in Dr. John Oakey’s lab, with graduate student Ben Noren, in the Chemical and Petroleum Engineering department, studying microfluidics.

“Right now we’re basically doing introductory experiments, like permeation, diffusion and viscosity,” says Paul. “Once we go through those we’re going to have kind of a background knowledge of chemical engineering on a microfluidic scale and then we’re going to use that knowledge to develop our own project and perform our own experiment.”

Brian enjoys learning new things, and building his project from the ground up. He hopes to gain knowledge that can be used for real-world application while in Dr. Oakey’s lab.
From left to right:
John Oakey, Ben Noren, Paul Mesa and Brian Nussbaum

“My favorite part of my project is making the devices, like cutting them out and poking holes in them,” Brian says. “I hope to learn how fluid reacts in different channels so we can make sewer systems better or pipes better for towns and cities.”

Like Brian, Paul also likes doing lab work. He enjoys working with new equipment and gaining experience with research in a hands-on way.

“It’s really neat working with all of the devices that you don’t see in high school,” says Paul. “We didn’t do any labs in the high school chemistry class I took, so it’s nice being in the lab and being exposed to research.”

Because of their research project, Brian and Paul are learning a lot about microfluidics, something that most students their age don’t get the chance to study.

“General concepts of microfluidics are something that these guys are going to become very good at, and have become quite good at already,” says Ben. “There’s not a lot of people who work on microfluidics, so it’s kind of a neat thing to learn about and get good at.”


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

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Faces of SRAP: Natalie

From: Wyoming

Ravichander and Natalie
Natalie Blaise, a junior from Guernsey, Wyoming loves science.

“I just like it a lot,” she says. “I really like my teachers, Mrs. Watson, and Mr. Beck.”

Her love of science and her experience with good teachers has inspired her to think about a career as a science teacher.

For her Summer Research Apprentice Program project, Natalie’s research has serious, real-world application possibilities.

“I’m in the Chemistry department, and right now we’re working with a process called ELISA,” Natalie says. “It detects certain proteins that you might have in a mixture.”

Natalie is working in Dr. Debashis Dutta’s lab, with Ravichander Peesara.


“ELISA is a quantitative technique that can detect various biologically important proteins, such as cancer markers” says Ravichander. “We are trying to develop ELISA so that it can better detect proteins in as low concentrations as possible, making it more helpful to patients.”

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