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Past Participants

Nathan Bandow

Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Read Nathan's Bio »

Andrea Basche

Agronomy

Read Andrea's Bio »

Christian Biscoff

Materials Science Engineering

Read Christian's Bio »

Justin Blietz

Harding Middle School

Read Justin's Bio »

Alexis Campbell

Alexis Campbell

Biochemistry, Biophysics
and Molecular Biology

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Alexis Campbell

John Carr

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Read John's Bio »

Jennifer Chmielowski

Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Read Jennifer's Bio »

John Doudna

Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology

Read John's Bio »

Heather Edwards

Heather Edwards

Chemistry

Read Heather's Bio »

Daniel Garrick

Aerospace Engineering

Read Daniel's Bio »

Tom Garrison

Chemistry

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Jenna Greeno

Harding Middle School

Read Jenna's Bio »

Eric Hall

Hoover High School

Read Eric's Bio »

Randy Hansen

Randy Hansen

Brody Middle School

Read Randy's Bio »

Peter Hondred

Materials Science Engineering

Read Peter's Bio »

Jon Hurst

Jon Hurst

Genetics, Development
and Cell Biology

Read Jon's Bio »

Joy Jackson

Chemistry

Read Joy's Bio »

Brandon Jeffrey

Agronomy

Read Brandon's Bio »

Amy Kissell

Brody Middle School

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Cory Kleinheksel

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Read Cory's Bio »

Kristi Korkowski

Mechanical Engineering

Read Kristi's Bio »

Kate Larson

Hoover High School

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Ben Lewis

Ben Lewis

Genetics, Development
and Cell Biology

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Robert Literman

Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology

Read Robert's Bio »

Deb Marriott

Deb Marriott

Brody Middle School

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Deb Marriott

Whitney McKinstry

Hoover High School

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Deb Marriott

Peter Meis

Perry High School

Read Peter's Bio »

Deb Marriott

Tim Mitchell

Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

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Mark Newell

Mark Newell

Agronomy

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Mark Newell

Roger Niemeyer

Perry Middle School

Read Roger's Bio »

Michael Nolan

Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Jordon Pace

Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology

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Adam Puderbaugh

Adam Puderbaugh

Harding Middle School

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Tonia Schwartz

Tonia Schwartz

Ecology, Evolution and
Organismal Biology

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Lucas Showman

Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Read Lucas's Bio »

OJ Sinclair

Meredith Middle School

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Paul Skrade

Natural Resource Ecology and Management

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Luke Spencer

Luke Spencer

Harding Middle School

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Jacqui Stewart

Hoyt Middle School

Read Jacqui's Bio »

Ryan Swanson

Chemical and Biological Engineering

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Rory Telemeco

Ecology, Evolution, & Organismal Biology

Read Rory's Bio »

Jordan Tiarks

Materials Science and Engineering

Read Jordan's Bio »

Lee Trask

Chemical and Biological Engineering

Read Lee's Bio »

Bryon Upton

Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology

Read Bryon's Bio »

Emma White

Materials Science Engineering

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Cindy Windsor

Hiatt Middle School

Read Cindy's Bio »

Michael Zenner

Organic Chemistry

Read Michael's Bio »

 

 

Fellow Profiles

Nathan Bandow

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Alan DiSpirito

Department: Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Molecular Biology

Research Title: Membrane Associated Methane Monooxygenase and the Copper Binding Compound, Methanobactin

Research Summary:Methanotrophs are an interesting group of bacteria that utilize methane as there sole source of carbon and energy. Methane plays an important part in the global carbon cycle. A special enzyme, methane monooxygenase, is needed to catalyze the first step in methane metabolism. Associated with this enzyme is a modified peptide, methanobactin. Methanobactin posses a novel sulfur and nitrogen binding complex. This novel binding complex gives methanobactin some remarkable metal binding properties. We are working to better understand how this enzyme functions and what role methanobactin plays in methane metabolism.

Research Connection: Methane gas plays a vital role in the global carbon cycle. Steady increases in the amount of terrestrial methane can greatly impact global climate change, due to the fact that methane is a far more effective greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Methane is around 26 times more effective at absorbing and remitting terrestrial radiation, meaning it takes less methane than carbon dioxide to have a similar impact on the environment. A better understanding of methane metabolism could lead to the creation of artificial systems that can safely and efficiently decrease the rate of global methane production, lessening the effect methane has on global climate change.

Career Aspiration: Nathan hopes to work in either industry or academia on drug discovery and clinical research, possibly in areas relating to neurodegenerative disease.

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Andrea Basche

Email: abasche@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Fernando Miguez

Department: Agronomy

Research Title: Climate-smart management in Iowa cropping systems: evaluating the benefits and tradeoffs of cover crop incorporation

Research Summary: We are working to solve some of the most important scientific challenges of the current day surrounding the production of food, fuel and feed. My research strives to design agricultural systems that protect the environment while continuing to grow highly productive food crops, with the added complexity of climate change.

Research Connection: The overall goal of these approaches is to understand the benefits and tradeoffs of using cover crops, with a more variable climate. Given the potential climate impacts to food production, soil and water, this is a critical research topic for the future and not just for agronomists in Iowa. Providing healthy, abundant food without degrading natural resources is a challenge that many civilizations did not meet in the past. We must all rise to this challenge.

Career Aspiration: Armed with the knowledge and communication skills to make a worthwhile contribution toward I hope to pursue ambitious goals such as encouraging increased funding for programs like NSF, leading multidisciplinary teams on food security projects, and creating climate science that is practical for farmers and the public.

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Christian Bischoff

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Steve W. Martin

Department: Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Research Title: Investigation of the Mixed Glass Former Effect in Sulfide Glass Systems

Research Summary: When two or more glass-forming compounds are mixed, a non-linear composition dependent change in ionic conductivity is known as the Mixed Glass Former Effect (MGFE). Ion conducting glasses are of particular interest for use in ion conductive batteries. Sulfide amorphous materials show promise as solid-state electrolytes due to their significantly large ionic conductivities as compared to their oxide counterparts. A better understanding of the cause of the MGFE may allow battery engineers to exploit this effect in the design of next-generation solid-state batteries.

Research Connection: Commercially available ion batteries typically rely on flammable liquid electrolytes, or polymer electrolytes combined with solvents. The presence of liquids raises further safety concerns because they can leak. From a practical standpoint, solid electrolytes are stable over large temperature ranges and show potential for miniaturization.

Career Aspiration: Christian aspires to conduct materials research in an academic setting where he can also mentor future scientists and engineers.

"I am excited to share my love of science and exploration with middle school students, while improving my communication skills. I hope that I can help inspire some of the students to consider future science or engineering related careers."

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Alexis CampbellAlexis Campbell

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: PhD Candidate, ABD

Research Mentor: Dr. Basil J. Nikolau

Department: Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Research Title: A flexible system for the investigation of plant fatty acid elongases and their downstream derivatives, substrates for next generation fuels.

Research Summary: Fatty acid elongase system is essential to life and found in plants, animals and yeast. My research exploits yeast, as it is a much simpler biological system, and works to build a plant-based elongase in a yeast cell that is lacking its own natural elongase system.

Research Connection: Fatty acid elongase is found in life forms from humans to plants and even simpler systems such as baker's yeast. Its products, very long chain fatty acids, are found in very small quantities throughout all life and are responsible for some human genetic disorders involving skin and vision. In addition to its health impact, these molecules have great implication in biofuels as potential candidates for next generation fuels.

Career Aspiration: Alexis is looking to secure a tenure track position at a Research I Institution that offers a challenging environment advantageous to not only her educational and personal growth, but also the opportunity to impact educational experiences of others.

"GK-12 has impacted my professional life in many ways. It is amazing to see the personal growth in confidence level with regard to public speaking, the ease at which I can now identifying concepts and ideas that help relate science topics to everyday things, and has confirmed my drive to teach and guide students of all levels in their pursuit of science. In addition, this program has provided an interesting and surprising route to development of a very intimate relationship with science and my dissertation research."

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Alexis CampbellJohn Carr

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: PhD Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Sumit Chaudhary

Department: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Title:The identification and characterization of electronic traps in plastic solar cells

Research Summary:My research centers on solar cells -- devices which convert light from the sun into electricity for our everyday lives. Imagine your life without electricity, the world as we know it would be much different. Travel back in time just a couple hundred years and you would have no light bulbs, let alone computers, smart phones and the other electronic devices we are now dependent on. Unfortunately, the methods we are currently using to generate electricity are dirty; they pollute the air, which is bad for both human and environmental health. Luckily, scientists and engineers have and are continuing to develop clean electricity sources, to ensure that the world stays healthy. An example of a clean energy source is solar cells. 

The solar cells I work on are very new and exciting. They are called 'plastic solar cells' and are low in cost (cheap!), light in weight (good for cars, spaceships and rooftops!), flexible (can be bent or even rolled up!) and more environmentally friendly (take less energy to produce and ship!). Unfortunately, these devices are not yet very efficient -- they do not yet produce a lot of electricity. Think of a juicer that is not so good at making juice. You put in lots of fruit, but only a tiny bit of juice comes out. Where is all that missing juice? It must be lost somewhere inside the juicer. The same thing happens in plastic solar cells, but with electricity instead of juice. It is my job to find where this missing electricity is getting trapped, to help others make a path so it can come out!   

Research Connection:This research will help to make plastic solar cells better electricity producers. If we can make them better, they can be distributed to the world and the advantages list above (cheap, light-weight, flexible, environmentally friendly) will be realized. This will help push electricity generation to a cleaner, more sustainable state -- an important goal as the world's population grows and electricity consumption increases.  

Career Aspiration: After achieving a Ph.D., John plans to join the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at the Marshall Space Flight Center to work on advanced power systems for spacecrafts. Later on, his goal is to obtain a university faculty position in which he can teach, advise and mentor. He believes it is through these positions that he will have the largest impact on the greater community, advancing science and helping to train the next generation of engineers/scientists. 

“Symbi offers an opportunity not only for me to better myself for a future in education, but also for me to give something back in this early point of my career.” 

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Jennifer Chmielowski

Email: jnc104@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Basil J. Nikolau

Department: Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Research Title: Understanding the Hydrocarbon Biosynthetic Pathway

Research Summary: The cost of fuels is on the rise; therefore the hunt for cheaper alternatives is underway.  Plants have the ability to make compounds called hydrocarbons, which are the same as those found in our petroleum fuels.  My research is to understand how plants make these compounds, so we can produce biofuels.

Research Connection: The cost of fuels is on the rise; therefore the hunt for cheaper alternatives is underway.  Plants have the ability to make compounds called hydrocarbons, which are the same as those found in our petroleum fuels.  My research is to understand how plants make these compounds, so we can produce biofuels.

Career Aspiration: Jennifer hopes to continue research in the biorenewable energy field in an industrial setting.

"I hope to bring science alive by engaging and captivating the students with hands on activities and inspire the next generation of scientists."

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John Doudna

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Brent Danielson

Department: Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Title: Prairie deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus bairdii) in corn-soybean agriculture: natural history of a significant seed predator

Research Summary: We put around 400 million pounds of chemicals on our agricultural fields each year to control weeds. My research is designed to replace some of those chemicals with natural control methods, and save farmers money. A community of animals eats the seeds of agricultural weeds, and they all contribute to natural control of weeds in corn and soybean fields. Only one of these species is a resident, year-round consumer in these fields: the prairie deer mouse. If we can learn how this mouse makes its decisions of what to eat, where to eat it, and how much of it to eat, we can begin to replace large amounts of chemicals with this natural service.

Research Connection: Weed control by native species strategies can help reduce weeds in a field with very little chemical input. If farmers use these strategies, and government agencies promote and support them, we can reduce chemical inputs to our fields as well as outputs to the food we eat and the water we drink. We will all benefit from a healthier environment and healthier public.

Career Aspiration: John hopes to contribute to agroecology extension, research, and teaching, especially related to weed and insect pest control by native species.
 

“All students should feel that they can contribute to the scientific community, using their own unique set of talents. In fact, we need a diversity of thought and practice to advance science.”

 

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Heather Edwards

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Nicola Pohl

Department: Department of Chemistry

Research Title: Automated Solution Phase Synthesis of Bacterial Oligosaccharides

Research Summary: Synthetic methods are being developed to automate, and thereby accelerate and standardize, the process of stringing together individual sugars into longer chains associated with these pathogens. The goal is to create better methods to make sugars that are found on the surface of pathogenic bacteria for incorporation into well-characterized potential vaccines.

Research Connection: This research would help people understand how sugars play a specific role in the infection of bacteria. By increasing our knowledge and understanding, better vaccines to fight against bacterial infections will be created.

Career Aspiration: Heather is seeking opportunities to continue to teach and inspire people to go into STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields.

"Symbi has helped me to further develop skills to communicate my research to the general public."

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Daniel Garrick

Email: dgarrick@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Ganesh Rajagopalan

Department: Aeropspace Engineering

Research Title:Moving body and rotor simulations with rotorcraft applications

Research Summary:My research involves developing methods for simulating maneuvering rotorcraft with applications to helicopter brownout and wind turbine analysis and optimization. Helicopters landing in desert conditions can generate large dust clouds that can restrict pilot visibility and cause additional wear on mechanical systems. This phenomenon, known as brownout, can vary based on the specific helicopter characteristics, flight path, and environmental conditions. Additionally, over time wind turbine blades lose aerodynamic efficiency as they become soiled due to dust and dirt buildup.

Research Connection: The ability to predict the brownout characteristics of various helicopters allows for investigation of methods that can reduce its severity. This can lead to a reduction in brownout related accidents and maintenance. Simulation of yawing wind turbines in a wind farm can identify areas of optimization for improving power output. Understanding the effect of soiled blades on turbine loads and power output can lead to more efficient and reliable designs.

Career Aspiration: After graduation, I would like to work at a research lab or commercial company performing design, optimization and analysis of rotorcraft systems. 

"It is always important to consider the “big picture” in engineering and design. To this end, ensuring young students have an interest in STEM fields through early exposure programs like Symbi is important for the continued development of science and technology."

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Jon HurstTom Garrison

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Michael Kessler

Department: Department of Chemistry

Research Title: Waterborne Vegetable Oil-Based Polyurethane Coatings

Research Summary: Polyurethane dispersions are widely used as coating materials for applications ranging from paints, inks, coatings, adhesives, paper, and textiles.  Thomas’s research is developing waterborne polyurethane dispersions from biorenewable vegetable oils.  His current research projects focus on improving the mechanical and antimicrobial properties of polyurethane coatings. 

Research Connection: The purpose of this research is to develop environmentally-friendly polyurethane coatings by replacing organic solvents with water and petroleum-based polyols with biorenewable polyols.  

Career Aspiration: After graduation, Thomas plans to continue his research in biorenewable-based polymers. 

“I want to help students make connections between science class and the world around them.  I believe that as scientists, we should communicate the importance of problem-solving to the next generation of students.”

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Jon HurstPeter Hondred

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Michael Kessler

Department: Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Research Title: Cationic Polymerization of Unsaturated Bio-Based Oils for Multifunctional Self-Healing of Polymers

Research Summary: Biomimetics is an exciting field where one examines nature for inspiration. Peter's research in polymers is inspired by body's ability to heal a cut in the skin. He is working to make plastics that repair themselves on their own using bio-renewable vegetable oils as the healing liquid where the healing liquid flows into the new cracks and polymerizes to repair the broken area.

Research Connection: This research helps transfer the focus of fossil based plastics to a biorenewable alternative while simultaneously providing a "natural" approach to solving problems with damaging plastic materials.

Career Aspiration: Peter plans to find a job in industry working on cutting edge research in materials science, specifically in the field of polymers.

"I hope to learn to communicate my research in a way that can inspire the next generation of scientists to become engaged in exploring the world through scientific inquiry. "

 

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Jon HurstJon Hurst

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Master of Science in Biology

Research Mentor: Dr. Eve Syrkin Wurtele

Department: Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology

Research Title: Modeling Metabolic Pathways and Regulatory Networks of Fatty Acid Biosynthesis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Research Summary: Living organisms act much like complicated factory machinery: they produce complicated chemicals in many different steps with many controls over production. Jon seeks to better understand how this cellular machinery is controlled and how different controls lead to different products.

Research Connection: By better understanding how cells operate, Jon hopes to help other scientists and engineers use living cells like yeast to produce chemical products that are useful in industry and better understand our own cells.

Career Aspiration: Jon hopes to continue to teach and research at a collegiate level.

"Through Symbi, I am learning how to better communicate scientific ideas to the public and which scientific ideas need to be communicated."

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Joy Jackson

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Nicola Pohl and Dr. Richard Zuerner

Department: Department of Chemistry

Research Title: The Production and Evaluation of Carbohydrate Enzymes from Leptospira Borgpetersenii

Research Summary: Sugar nucleotidyltransferases are essential to the viability of Gram-negative bacteria. Through cloning, expression, and characterization, my research investigates enzymes that are putative virulence factors and involved in the pathogenesis of Leptospira.

Research Connection: Bacteria are everywhere. Some of the places bacteria exist and thrive are hands, shoes, desks, water fountain handles, restroom doors, and playground equipment. Leptospira belongs to a diverse group of helical, cork-screw shaped motile bacteria. Once Leptospira enters its host (i.e. human body), a bacterial infection called Leptospirosis occurs. Leptospirosis can be transmitted from animals to humans and has become a serious health concern in many countries. Once detailed characterization of the enzymes has been established, new and innovative approaches to the prevention and treatment of Leptospirosis are very promising.

Career Aspiration: Joy would love to teach biology or microbiology to students ranging from middle school to the collegiate level.

"Serving as a Symbi GK-12 Fellow will afford me the opportunity to connect with middle school students and share my love for research. This experience will allow me to gain an even deeper appreciation for teaching science and the skillful craft involved. "

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Brandon Jeffrey

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Thomas Lübberstedt

Department: Department of Agronomy

Research Title: Controlling Biomass Properties for Optimizing Fast Pyrolysis Products

Research Summary: My current research aims to investigate how different varieties of corn impact biorenewable energy. The specific process being investigated is called pyrolysis. It is the process of heating biomass (e.g. plant tissue, wood, yard clippings, etc.) at high temperatures (>400°C) in the absence of oxygen. The product resulting from the pyrolysis process contains solids, liquids, and gases. The solid phase is called biochar and is rich in carbon. It is being used to return carbon to the soil needed for plant growth. The gas phase is referred to as syngas and can be burned for energy or heat. The liquid phase is referred to as bio-oil and may be the most interesting product. Bio-oil can be separated into many compounds that can be sold as specialty chemicals, upgraded into transportation fuels, used as a preservative, burned for energy, and more.

Research Connection: There may exist natural variation within different genotypes of maize that allow us to improve bio-oil quality.

Career Aspiration: Brandon hopes to continue research in the biorenewable energy arena in an industrial setting.

"I hope to teach students that science is not a narrow discipline. Science, engineering, and mathematics are becoming more and more interdisciplinary. It is crucial for students of any technical or scientific discipline to be able to communicate their ideas effectively to a wide variety of audiences."

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Cory Kleinheksel

Email: cklein@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Arun Somani

Department: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Title: Sharing Big Data Computations across Many Computers

Research Summary: My research is on a particular set of Big Data algorithms where many (or all) data elements have to interact with many (or all) other data elements. This type of question arises in many fields, an example of one such case is in biology when looking for instances when the building blocks of life interact with other building blocks in interesting ways. The simple algorithm solution requires all data to be stored and computed on a single computer so each data element can interact with every other element in the data set, however with Big Data this is no longer realistic due to the size and time constraints. Thus, many computers are needed and they must work together to compute the results.  Our enhanced algorithms do not require all of the data to be at each computer and enable larger problems to be solved.

Research Connection: Given that there are so many different living organisms on the planet and a seemingly endless amount of unknown information surrounding the building blocks of each, this results in a great need for data analysis. This is complicated further as each year it becomes easier, cheaper, and faster to acquire such bioinformatics data.

Career Aspiration: My job now and likely in the future will revolve around software development solving interesting and challenging problems facing the world.  I also desire to continue to complement that work through public service interactions outside of my job.  I want to one day develop and lead school programs for middle/high school students to learn computer science basics.

“There are simply skills and know-how that I cannot understand or learn through reading, and experiencing those things while standing next to a professional middle teacher and interacting with the middle school students will be key to not only making my future goals possible, but also increasing my future impact as well.”

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Kristi Korkowski

Email: korkowsk@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Timothy Bigelow

Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research Title: Applications of Ultrasonic Welding in Orthopedic Implants

Research Summary:Orthopedic surgery is often performed as a way to increase mobility, support and stabilize damaged bones, and increase the patient's quality of life. The problem with orthopedic implants, specifically joints such as the hip or knee, is that the expected lifetime is typically between 15-20 years with a revision rate of 10-15%. Revision surgery is typically required for the following reasons; loosening, instability, wear/debris and infection.

In order to mitigate the occurrence of failure methods we purpose using ultrasonic welding to improve methods of joining and osteointegration through increased primary stability and stronger fixation, as well as reduce interstitial space between implant and surrounding natural tissue offered by the process.  Ultrasonic welding uses sound waves to convert a vibrational energy into mechanical energy which causes friction at the interface to allow the polymer implant material to melt and fuse into the adjacent bone tissue.

Research Connection: Being able to take perspectives from previous experiences relating to jobs in medical manufacturing and formerly focusing on a career in nursing I came to the conclusion that I was not dealing with the cause of a patient's problem by treating their condition as a result of a failed implant, procedure, or course of treatment but rather needed to look farther back and address the problem before the failure occurred.  The solution lies in the technological advancement of the treatment and approach.

I have observed the result of tissue decay and infection caused by plates and screws meant to mend broken bones.  The biological response can be detrimental to healing but can be addressed and reduced by considering numerous factors including methods, materials and appropriate pairing of the two. It is imperative that we improve upon current technologies and create new ones.

These technologies and applications need to have multidimensional solutions.  In our applications of incorporating ultrasonic welding to the attachment of orthopedic implants through improved methods, materials, and appropriate pairing of the two, we hope to increase the implant lifetime as well as reduce the potential for negative long term effects caused by current technologies.

Career Aspiration: I would like to gain some industry experience before pursuing a career path in academia – a bit of practicing what I teach if you will.  I enjoyed learning from professors who brought their own stories and experiences into the classroom.  It made what I was learning more real and relevant.  

I was also lucky enough to work with programs during my undergraduate career that provided outreach and exposure to middle school aged girls in order to show them opportunities available in STEM fields.  It was very rewarding to watch them work through a problem and realize that they were quite capable of solving it.  I would like to be involved in promoting awareness and exploration of nontraditional career choices at an earlier age than most students are currently experiencing these aspects of preparing for a future of lifelong learning.

“Limitations and challenges you face along the way make achieving your goals that much more rewarding.”

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Ben Lewis

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology

Research Mentor: Dr. Drena Dobbs

Department: Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology

Research Title: Computational Analysis and Prediction of Protein-RNA Interactions

Research Summary: Interactions between proteins, the molecular machines of the cell, and RNA, the molecule which transmits the genetic code, are essential to many important processes within the cell. Ben’s research is in developing computational representations of these interactions, which can give us some insight into their nature where more traditional molecular biology techniques fall short.

Research Connection: Lots of important biological processes, such as cellular aging and the replication of HIV, are controlled by interactions between proteins and RNA. By understanding how those interactions work on a broad scale, we gain knowledge that can be applied to these more specific problems.

Career Aspiration: Upon graduating, Ben would like to teach science, particularly molecular biology/biochemistry at a collegiate level.

"I've learned more about teaching after a month in the GK-12 program than I did in over a year of undergraduate teaching assistantships."

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Robert Literman

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Nicole Valenzuela

Department: Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Title: How do embryos sense temperatures? Studying the molecular mechanism underlying a phenotypically plastic trait. 

Research Summary: When most turtle eggs are laid, you can actually pick whether they will be a girl or a boy based on the temperature that you incubate the eggs! Scientists still don't know how this process works at the cellular level so our lab studies the evolution of genes that help to determine sex, and how temperature affects why those genes are turned on and off. We do lab work as well as computer-based work to try and answer our questions. 

Research Connection: Because turtles and other animals can become boys or girls depending on the temperature, they need extra attention if the world is going to become a hotter place. Most models of climate change say two things are going to happen in the future: 1) The world will get generally hotter and 2)  The temperatures will change a lot more drastically! Hot will be hotter, but cold will also be colder. Since we don't know how temperature fluctuations affect turtle eggs, we don't have a very good idea whether or not turtles will be able to survive such a crazy weather pattern. Our work, and the work of other biologists, can help to prepare us for what might come in the future.

Career Aspiration: I hope to continue my career in education, teaching biology at both the collegiate level, but also doing outreach events to make sure everyone gets a chance to learn!

 

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Tim Mitchell

Blog: http://timsfertileturtles.blogspot.com

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Fred Janzen

Department: Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Title: Maternal effects and developmental biology of the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Research Summary: Whether you are a mammal, tree, reptile, or pretty much anything else alive, your mother is important! Yet we still don't understand the diverse ways in which mothers and parents can impact their offspring. Tim's research focuses on how maternal reproductive decisions influence the survival and fitness-relevant phenotypes of offspring, using painted turtles along the Mississippi River as a study population.

Research Connection: Turtle populations across the globe are declining, and aspects of their reproductive biology make them particularly vulnerable to climate warming; the temperature at which an egg incubates determines whether the embryo developing inside becomes a boy or a girl. Maternal reproductive behaviors (like where and when they nest) are important for turtles coping with changing environments, and a better understanding of these behaviors can inform conservation decisions.

Career Aspiration: Tim hopes to integrate scientific research, education and outreach in his career.

"I hope to develop new and creative ways to engage students in the scientific process, and show students the diverse ways that scientific thinking is being used to answer our most interesting unsolved questions and address our biggest societal problems. "

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Mark NewellMark Newell

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: PhD, Plant Breeding

Research Mentor: Dr. William Beavis

Department: Department of Agronomy

Research Title: An association genetics approach to identify genes associated with increased Beta-glucan in oats.

Research Summary: Using advanced statistical methods to identify genes in the oat genome that show increased beta-glucan, most commonly known as dietary fiber.

Research Relevance: Oat dietary fiber in the human diet has been proven to improve health with respect to blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, cholesterol, and the immune response. Finding genes that are responsible for increased dietary fiber in oats will enable plant breeders to select for high dietary fiber more rapidly than traditional methods of selection.

Career Aspiration: Mark would like to be a plant breeder with a focus on quality traits at either a public institution or in industry.

"Symbi, thus far, has taught me how to describe processes in science to the general public. This will have large impacts on my future as a plant breeder both in teaching and communication skills related to running a breeding program."

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Mark NewellMichael Nolan

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Brent H. Shanks

Department: Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Research Title: Selective Dehydration of Polyols over Acid Catalysts

Research Summary:Polyols are molecules one can get from sugars, which consist of a carbon backbone and multiple hydroxyl (alcohol) groups.These molecules have a huge potential for use as a biorenewable source of nylons and polyesters, but at this time little is known about how to transform polyol molecules into raw materials for plastics. My research aims to shed light on what transformations are possible for polyols, and to compile this information into a "catalyst toolbox"that can be used on molecules similar to the ones I am studying.

Research Relevance: As part of the NSF Center for Biorenewable Chemicals, the goal for my research is to find biorenewable alternatives to oil-derived chemicals. My research aims to develop biorenewable drop-in replacements to conventional nylon and polyester plastics.

Career Aspiration: My dream career is to be the next "Bill Nye the Science Guy," and to carry out research on how best to engage students in science education.

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Jordon Pace

Email: jmpace1@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Thomas Lubberstedt

Department: Agronomy

Research Title:Genetic Characterization of Roots in Maize (Zea mays L.) inbred lines

Research Summary:The basis of my research is the goal of increasing sustainable agriculture by decreasing the amount of fertilizer inputs and moisture needed for crops to produce high yields. Another major focus of my research is to relieve some of the resource intensive practices of taking measurements of plant roots at a mature adult stage by using image measurement systems at a young plant (seedling) stage of development.  

Research Connection: Roots are one of the most important physical attributes when it comes to plant growth and productivity. Poor root systems essentially doom a crop species when thinking from a purely production stand point. Due to their importance, studying root architecture is imperative, but due to the difficulty in digging up roots from the ground, the amount of time and resources needed for measurement make large scale experiments almost impossible. We are looking into alternatives such as hydroponics, root boxes, and high-throughput phenotyping image analysis systems to try to figure out a less labor intensive and less time consuming process of collecting root measurements at a young seedling stage.  

Career Aspiration: Upon graduation I would like to pursue a career in plant breeding or genetics within the seed company industry. There are many opportunities for individuals with goals of working with major crop systems by improving both the performance of crops as well as developing new methods to improve testing performance. Technological advances in genome sequencing and predictive physical performance of plants has become very prevalent in the agricultural research industry and is promising in allowing breeders and agronomists to continue to improve crop performance in an efficient manner.

“I really want to instill confidence in young individuals that they can do science as well. I also want kids to know that there are many opportunities to help the world or just find a job in the field of agriculture. That if you like to be outside and sitting at a desk all day doesn’t interest you, looking into a career in agriculture might be the right fit for you.”

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Tonia SchwartzTonia Schwartz

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Masters of Science, Zoology. PhD candidate.

Research Mentor: Dr. Anne Bronikowski and Dr. Jo Anne Powell-Coffman

Department: Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Title: Unraveling the genetic interaction between stress and life-history traits using natural populations of garter snakes.

Research Summary: How an individual responds to environmental stress (temperature changes, toxins, disease, social interactions) affects how that individual acts, its ability to reproduce, and its lifespan. Therefore, it is important to understand how the genetic make-up of an individual determines how it responds to stress; and how populations change over time (evolve) in response to their environmental conditions. My research addresses these questions using natural snake populations who respond to environmental stresses in different ways, but only slightly differ in genetic make-up. Stress experiments on these populations are used to characterize their physiological differences in stress response, and then identify the underlying genes that allow them to respond to stress in different ways.

Research Relevance: This research will help us to understand what genes are important for stress response in natural populations, and how they evolve in response to different environmental stress conditions. Many of the genes investigated here are involved in metabolism, diabetes, reproduction and aging. Because animals share many of the same genes with only slight differences, experiments using snake populations that naturally differ in reproduction, lifespan and stress response can help us to understand the genes responsible for these traits in many animal species, including livestock and humans.

Career Aspiration: Tonia hopes to continue to do scientific research and teaching in an academic setting.

"Through Symbi, the GK-12 program, I am gaining experience communicating scientific research to a general audience. Additionally, through interactions with my middle school teacher-collaborator I am gaining invaluable teaching skills, and a greater understanding for the challenges facing our teachers in today's classroom and those facing our country's education system."

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Lucas Showman

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Basil J. Nikolau

Department: Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Research Title: Assessing an integrated approach to accurate functional annotation of putative enzymes in the methanogen Methanosarcina acetivorans

Research Summary: Many poorly characterized genes are predicted to encode enzymes, the substrate(s) and products of which are unknown.  I work with the gene2function (g2f) project which aims to determine the functions of enzymes from the methane producing Archaea, Methanosarcina acetivorans. This organism has the largest genome of methanogenic Archaea (5.8 Mb) with 4524 predicted coding sequences, and is one of the most metabolically diverse Archaea. Approximately half of these genes fall into the putative enzyme category and include genes possibly involved in processes such as methanogenesis, nitrogen fixation, and carbon assimilation. Given the importance of methanogens in global carbon flow and as a potential source of energy (methane), a complete understanding of gene function in these organisms is essential.

Research Connection:My research aims at developing methods for studying genes whose functions are unknown. Understanding gene functions is very important; many biological questions can be answered by fully understanding gene functions. For example, understanding gene functions can answer questions such as: how do organisms produce methane, how do algae make hydrocarbons (the main components in oil), or how do plants produce the vitamins we need.

Career Aspiration: Lucas wishes to become an independent researcher in either the private or public sector and possibly pursue teaching at the collegiate level.

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Paul Skrade

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor:Dr. Stephen J. Dinsmore

Department: Department of Natural Resource and Ecology Management

Research Title: Mating decisions of Mountain Plovers in southern Phillips County, Montana

Research Summary: My research is part of a long term study of Mountain Plover breeding biology. I am asking several questions concerning the mating system of this species and its unusual behavior where males and females tend to separate nests. I focus on five decision-related subjects: 1) multi-state modeling of first breeding attempts, 2) nest site selection in relation to egg-crypticism and subsequent nest survival, and mate choice related to 3) circulating prolactin of incubating adults, 4) seasonal changes in egg volume, and 5) parentage and extra-pair paternity.

Research Connection: The Mountain Plover is a species of conservation concern with a poorly understood and uncommon mating system. My research will help to tease apart the costs and benefits of rapid multi-clutch breeding and how it has evolved in this relatively harsh environment. This species also has a patchy distribution across a fairly broad range and in my study area it is closely tied to the black-tailed prairie dog. This study will give us a better understanding of the ties between prairie dogs, the ecological community that depends on them, and the sylvatic plague, an epizootic disease that can wipe out an entire prairie dog colony in just a few months.

Career Aspiration: Paul hopes to someday teach biology at the college level, particularly the subjects of ecology and conservation biology, and continue to study wildlife population biology and behavioral ecology.

"I think it will be really rewarding to work with kids that are being exposed to research based science for the first time and show them that science is an integral part of our everyday lives. I am looking forward to the opportunity to improve my teaching skills and develop new science programming that can be used in middle schools throughout the area."

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Ryan Swanson

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Charles Glatz

Department: Chemical and Biological Engineering

Research Title: Predicting protein separation behavior during downstream purification

Research Summary: In the processing of products from biological sources, the desired product frequently must be recovered from a dilute aqueous stream. Of the various impurities also present in this stream, host cell or native proteins of the biological host are the most challenging to remove. This separation and product purification process accounts for a large portion of the overall cost of production. My research objective is to develop a statistical method that can be used to predict the separation behavior of a large mixture of proteins (i.e. host cell proteins) during selected purification processes thereby reducing the cost of using biological sources as production hosts.

Research Connection: Within the next few years, it has been projected that the majority of the top selling prescription drugs used to treat common ailments in humans will have been produced using biological hosts. Any increase in efficiency at any point in the production process will therefore prove important not only to the company's bottom line but more importantly to the consumer. 

Career Aspiration: Ryan wants to begin his career in industry working on cutting edge research within the biopharmceutical industry where he hopes to integrate scientific research with education and outreach.

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Rory Telemeco

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Fred J. Janzen

Department: Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

Research Title: Here be Dragons: Functional Analyses of Thermal Adaptation and Biogeography of Reptiles in a Changing World

Research Summary: For my PhD dissertation, I am attempting to discover how changes in the environment, such as changing temperature or precipitation, affect reptiles (lizards, snakes, crocodiles, and turtles).Throughout human history, reptiles have instilled mixtures of wonder and fear in people. These animals exist on every continent except Antarctic and are important parts of nearly every natural ecosystem. However, reptiles are also one of the most endangered groups of animals on the planet. Given their places in society and nature, reptiles are important to understand and protect.

Research Connection: My goal is to understand how species' biology and environment interact to determine where species can (and cannot) exist, and how species respond to changing conditions. To do this, I use controlled temperature experiments, mathematical models, and genetic analyses. This information will be useful for predicting the effects of future environmental changes on reptiles and other organisms, and therefore should aid conservation efforts. In addition, this information will increase our understanding of how organisms interact with the environment.

Career Aspiration: I hope to follow an academic career path, eventually becoming a research scientist and professor.  In addition to performing scientific research and teaching university students, I hope to be very active in public outreach, bringing scientific information to all those that can benefit from it.

 “While I understand that it is important to learn what is already understood about the world, I also think that it is important to impress upon students that science is a process for answering questions, not a collection of facts. I think that realizing how much is left to learn, and that anyone can contribute scientific knowledge, can be truly inspiring”

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Jordan Tiarks

Email: tiarksj2@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Terrence Meyer

Department: Department of Mechanical Engineering

Research Title: Investigation of Fundamental Pyrolysis Kinetics for the Production of Bio-oil from Biomass using in-situ Laser and Other Novel Diagnostic Techniques

Research Summary: My research study focuses on better understanding the fundamental kinetics (chemical reactions) of pyrolysis that occur immediately after the biomass is heated, using in-situ laser diagnostics along with other more traditional techniques. The results from my work can be used to create better pyrolysis systems and optimize operating conditions in order to obtain better pyrolysis products (higher quality bio-oil) which could be upgraded to high value fuels and chemicals.

Research Connection: As issues of global climate change, energy security, and stewardship of the Earth’s limited resources continues to cause scientists and policy makers to move away from conventional petroleum based products, biomass derived alternatives, which can be renewed each growing season, have received much attention.   My research aims to better understand how different molecules are produced as biomass is converted to a useable energy resource called bio-oil.

Career Aspiration: I hope to become a professor in order to help inspire and motivate the next generation of scientists and engineers while continuing to do research in biofuels that will Splay a role in changing the world of tomorrow.

“I want to share my passion for science with students through hands-on demonstrations and experiments that will inspire excitement and wonder to pursue better questions, all while illustrating the impact science and engineering has on the world around them.”

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Lee Trask

Email: leetrask@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Eric Cochran

DEPARTMENT: Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering

Research Title: Self-Consistent Field Theory Simulations of Block Copolymers

Research Summary: I study how block copolymers behave on very small length scales.  Instead of creating these polymer systems in the lab and then characterizing them with experimental methods such as SAXS or rheology, I create mathematical models to describe them.  With these models in place, I can study large classes of block copolymers on the computer.  In particular, I have studied how these methods work in practice along with several different polymer systems.  These systems include multiblock copolymers, gradient copolymers, rod-block copolymers, and the introduction of nano-sized particles into a polymer matrix.

Research Connection: Polymers are everywhere in our lives!  However, applications using existing polymer systems are often not optimized for the application.  There are also applications that do not currently use polymers but could with the proper polymer system.  These applications could include polymer based electronics, solar panels, or battery technologies.  When we perform the simulations to understand how polymers behave, we determine what polymers can work in these applications.

Career Aspiration: I hope to work for an industrial institution.  Quite often, especially for aging infrastructures, these institutions are pieced together or repaired in a manner that simply keeps the processes running.  This creates inefficiencies and bottlenecks in the facilities as a whole.  Computational methods can find this deficiencies and develop methods to optimize the process.

“If I can convince even one student that math and science can be used in a fun and interesting way, my Symbi experience will be a resounding success.”

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Bryon Upton

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Basil J. Nikolau

Department: Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Molecular Biology

Research Title: Identifying and understanding diversity within the acyl-CoA carboxylase enzyme family

Research Summary: My research started with the study of the natural diversity found within a model plant (Arabidopsis) in a class of enzymes known as acyl-CoA carboxylases. It has in more recent history been expanded to searching for further diversity within the entire biosphere. The goal of my research is to understand at a molecular level the differences in these enzymes which make them specific for one chemical reaction and not another. This, we hope, will lead to the discovery or engineering of novel enzymes which can create new chemical products useful to society.

Research Connection: As part of the NSF-Center for Biorenewable Chemicals (CBiRC), our vision is to create biorenewable chemicals which will replace those currently created using petroleum. To achieve this goal, the center has paired biochemists/molecular biologists with chemical engineers. My research hopes to provide a step along the chemical process which can be altered to create chemical diversity in the types of products the center hopes to create.

Career Aspiration: Bryon hopes to continue doing research while teaching at the collegiate level.

"I hope to help middle school students realize that science is more then memorizing "facts" from a book, that it can be fun, exciting, and help solve real world problems. At the same time, I hope to improve my ability to communicate my research (and science in general) to the public."

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Emma White

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Iver Anderson and Dr. Steve Martin

Department: Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Research Title: Development of Novel Carbon Coated Alloy Nano-particulate Materials for Use as Anode Materials in Lithium Ion Batteries

Research Summary: My research focuses on developing spark erosion to produce new composite materials of carbon coated silicon and tin alloy nano-particles, characterizing these materials as a function of EDM processing conditions and analyzing them as anode materials in lithium ion batteries.  The materials are expected to show higher energy density than the currently used carbon. These new batteries have the potential to be applied in the portable electronic, transportation, aeronautics, and space industries to reduce size, costs, emissions and fuel consumption.  Simply put: hopefully your cell phone and laptop batteries will last longer soon.

Research Connection: I’m developing a new material to store more energy in a lithium ion battery and make portable electronics last longer.

Career Aspiration: I want to work for NASA. If that doesn’t work out, I’d enjoy being a professor or a scientist at a national lab. Any future career will benefit greatly from this opportunity to be a resident scientist in a classroom.

“My approach to fostering interest and ability in science among young people is to show them they have the aptitude to be a scientist. I would like to show students how they already use science in their daily lives.”

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Michael Zenner

Email: zennermd@iastate.edu

Institution: Iowa State University

Degree Level: Ph.D. Candidate

Research Mentor: Dr. Michael Kessler and Dr. Jason Chen

DEPARTMENT: Department of Chemistry

Research Title: Biorenewable polyurethanes based on isosorbide as a building block

Research Summary: Polyurethanes are a type of plastic used in a wide variety of applications from clear coats on cars and aircraft to foam insulation in your house. The main focus of my research is to replace one component of petroleum based polyurethanes with a biorenewable component, thereby making it better for the environment and future sustainability.

Research Connection: Most polymers (plastics) are currently derived from the petroleum industry. With eventual loss in the oil supply, it has come to the attention of many scientists that a renewable, sustainable replacement must be found. These replacements must not only be cheap, but also possess the same properties as their petroleum counterparts; otherwise there is no use in these companies switching to the new product. It is our goal to meet that need in the area of biorenewable polyurethanes.

Career Aspiration: After graduation, Michael would like to synthesize cutting-edge molecules for use in the aerospace industry.

“It is my goal as a scientist to make an impact, not only on the scientific community, but on society. I see the potential for science to make this planet a lot cleaner and safer to live in, not only by using non-petroleum based plastics, but by using cleaner burning fuels and alternative sources of power.”

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Des Moines Teachers Involved in the Symbi Program

Justin Blietz

Institution: Harding Middle School

teaches: 7th Grade Science

Email: justin.blietz@dmschools.org

What I love about teaching science: “What is more important is that students begin to think scientifically and inquire about things.  They should develop a genuine interest in what they are learning and begin to think of how to solve real life problems related to the information they are presented”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "Having a scientist in the room has been very beneficial to the students.  With the Fellow's content knowledge students are always excited for him to come and full of questions. The Fellow is an expert in his content area and also brings very engaging lessons and materials I wouldn't always have access to or be able to do."

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Jenna Greeno

Institution: Harding Middle School

teaches: 7th Grade Science

What I love about teaching science: “I love that science is always changing and new information is being found all the time! I love showing students that science is in everything they do and see, even the most basic things, like eating.”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "Helping students to recognize the importance of accurate data and how to interpret scientific information."

 

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Eric Hall

Institution: Hoover High School

teaches: Biology and Chemistry

Email: eric.hall@dmschools.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Randy Hansen

Institution: Brody Middle School

teaches: 8th Grade Science

What I love about teaching science: “When students have an ‘A HA’ moment or when students come back after years and say what type of impact I had on them.”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: “My students are really happy to have a real scientist in class. He is working with small groups on science fair projects and he has shared his project with them to help bring to life how science works.”

“Many of the students know Ben from last year, so it's exciting to see their relationships grow. Ben brings a great deal of enthusiasm to class and the students feel that!”

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Amy Kissell

Institution: Brody Middle School

teaches: 7th Grade Science

Email: amelia.kissell@dmschools.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kate Larson

Institution: Hoover High School

teaches: 9th and 10th Grade Biology and Environmental Science

Email: katherine.larson@dmschools.org

What I love about teaching science: “Kids love to know how things work and science is often a series of puzzles that students have to figure out using data and experiments. When students "get it" and they learn how something works and why it is important in nature, there is nothing better as a teacher.”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "In high school, students are starting to think about what they are going to do once they graduate. Often times the students that I teach are not thinking that they can go into the sciences or even go to college. Having a scientist in my classroom who works and talks with the students helps the students see that they can do college and go into the sciences. Having a scientist in the classroom to discuss and show how current work in their field relates to the information that the students are learning is crucial for the students to understand the importance of what they are learning."

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Deb Marriott

Institution: Brody Middle School

teaches: 7th Grade Science

What I love about teaching science: “Science is a great match for the energy level and developmental needs of middle school students. The best part of teacher science is definitely that there’s never a dull moment!”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: “Our collaboration positively impacts students because a ‘real’ scientist can explain the methods of science. It’s not just a set of rules that an adult imposes on them. The student sees the fellow’s presence as an affirmation of how science is done at the University and in real life.”

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Whitney McKinstry

Institution: Hoover High School

teaches: High School Science

Email: whitney.mckinstry@dmschools.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Peter Meis

Institution: Perry High School

teaches: 9th Grade Science

Email: peter.meis@perry.k12.ia.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Roger Niemeyer

Institution: Perry Middle School

teaches: 7th Grade Science

Email: roger.niemeyer@perry.k12.ia.us

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adam PuderbaughAdam Puderbaugh

Institution: Harding Middle School

teaches: 8th Grade Science

Email: adam.puderbaugh@dmps.k12.ia.us

What I love about teaching science: "I love creating scientifically literate citizens that are prepared to integrate science into society's decision making processes. I love creating a sense of wonder and connection with the natural world."

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "A resident scientist brings authenticity to the science classroom where students come face to face with the nature of science and explore career opportunities. The resident scientist provides a face to the research community and allows students to identify with, and see themselves as scientists."

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OJ Sinclair

Institution: Meredith Middle School

teaches: 7-8th Grade Technology

Email: oliver.sinclair@dmschools.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Adam PuderbaughLuke Spencer

Institution: Harding Middle School

teaches: 6th Grade Science

Email: luke.spencer@dmschools.org

What I love about teaching science: “The ‘A HA’s!’ When students connect with the learning activities and an impression is made"”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: “The resident scientist brings more experience and education into the classroom for the students to learn from. Students are asking more relevant questions and including more details in their writing.”

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Adam PuderbaughJacqui Stewart

Institution: Hoyt Middle School

teaches: 8th Grade Science

Email: jacqueline.stewart@dmschools.org

What I love about teaching science: “Along with building positive relationships with my students, I also love when my students become intrigued by a topic they deemed boring in the beginning of the unit.”

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "I look forward to the resident helping me to strengthen the connection between the science classroom and science in real-life."

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Cindy Windsor

Institution: Hiatt Middle School

teaches: 6th Grade Science

What I love about teaching science: "I love seeing the 'light bulb shine' above my students in class! That moment when they seem to understand a lesson or I spark an interest in them when they hear something that is brand new is what makes teaching science so fun for me."

How does a resident scientist impact my classroom: "I am anxious to have a "real" scientist in my classroom. I am confident that she will help me to implement more inquiry and problem-solving activities into my classes each week. I also anticipate that my resident scientist will serve as a role-model and an inspiration for my students as so many of them are unfamiliar with higher education and the research being done at Iowa State."

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