Monday, July 27, 2015

SRAP ends with a bang with the 2015 Symposium!

Kimberley Mackiel, Franklin, Wisconsin 

Austin Davilla, Buda, Texas 
Last week, the 2015 Summer Research Apprentice Program (SRAP) Symposium was held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Laramie, Wyoming.  Twenty-two high school students participated in the annual program, coming from Wyoming and other states across the country.   Students worked on research projects for six weeks in University of Wyoming faculty research labs, and concluded the program by presenting their research at the Symposium on Friday, July 24th.

Giavanna Lorez from California studied with faculty mentor, Dr. Karlee R. Provenza, in the Psychology Department.  Lorez studied racial bias decisions made by law enforcement officers when using lethal force.  Although her research project is still in progress, based on other research completed, she was able to determine that law enforcement officers have a bias in shooting subjects in relation to their race, specifically African Americans.  With news and videos surfacing about police use of lethal force on suspects, this is a topic relevant to current events. 

Tucker Bower from Casper, Wyoming presented on how the enzyme Cathepsin K might contribute to inflammatory pain in mice. Similar to this, Austin Davilla from Texas studied the effects of minimizing Cathepsin K to see if it protects people against cardiac dysfunction caused by alcohol.  Like these studies related to human health, Franklin, Wisconsin student, Kimberly Mackiel, studied how a high-fat diet might affect a person’s food cravings with Drs. Paige Dingess, Rebecca A. Darling, and Travis E. Brown from Neuroscience.  

 Drs. Katie Li and Jiashi Yin from Chemical and Petroleum Engineering mentored Shawn Murray who studied how to improve produced water from energy extraction with the modification of polyvinylidene fluoride ultrafiltration membranes by coating dopamine and titanium dioxide.   This research can be important for Wyoming and other states in the country that have energy production and want to reduce the environmental impacts.

Each of the twenty-two students created a poster board with their research results and gave a presentation.  All of the students did a great job presenting their projects and were very knowledgeable about the results concluded from their research by answering questions and talking to visitors.  Every student was appreciative of EPSCoR, especially Lisa Abeyta, and all of their mentors for the help they received.  Thank you to all the students who participated and made SRAP 2015 such a success!

If you would like to learn more about SRAP and all EPSCoR programs, go to

By: Chelsea Parsons 

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