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SURE Grant

SURE Program- Application due March 1 (2018 Application)

Do you want to be involved in a long-term research project that has the potential to transform the way you think about science and your future career as a researcher?

West Virginia Wesleyan College is excited to host a Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program during summer 2018 to offer extended research experiences in the areas of biology, biochemistry, chemistry, mathematics, and physics and engineering.  The SURE program will run for 8 weeks between May-July and is available to ten students from WVWC and other institutions around the state.  Students will earn a stipend of $3,500 with free on-campus housing. Students will also be required to attend a career-building workshop and present their research at a state or regional scientific meeting (travel funds available).

Interested?  Apply!

  1. Consult the list of faculty involved in the SURE program to see if any research interests you (below).
  2. Have a discussion with the faculty member of interest to see if they are willing to serve as your mentor.
  3. Submit the application (2018 Application) which will include your resume, a personal statement, and transcripts (unofficial is acceptable) as an email attachment to Dr. Joanna Webb (
  4. Application deadline is March 1. Successful applicants will be notified by March 31.

Biology and Environmental Science:

Dr. Kim Bjorgo-Thorne– Assessment of landscape-level factors driving ecosystem and species distributions in West Virginia.

Dr. Jordana (Jordge) LaFantasie– Project 1: Soil Seed Bank potential for regeneration of an endangered plant species

Running buffalo clover (Trifolium repens) is an endangered forest-edge/meadow species that requires disturbance to maintain its populations.  Once the forest canopy closes, running buffaloclover populations will die out.  This project will test the seed bank of soils once inhabited by running buffaloclover to determine whether newly applied disturbance would allow the population to regenerate on its own.

Project 2:Effect of light interception on vegetative reproduction of the endangered plant, Running Buffalo Clover

Running buffalo clover (Trifolium repens) is an endangered forest-edge/meadow species that requires filtered light to grow and reproduce.  This project will investigate the relationship between production of reproductive structures and incident light in running buffalo clover populations.

Kristy Henson– My research examines different applications of 3D printing in the fields of osteology and paleontology. I compare skeletal material to 3D printed replicas using morphometrics to determine accuracy.


Dr. Bruce Anthony– Our lab studies the alterations in proliferation and differentiation of stem cells in the limbic system of the brain after alcohol or drug insult.  Addiction is a growing concern especially here in West Virginia.  Understanding how addiction alters the brains chemistry and the natural ability of the stem cells to remodel learning behavior will assist in better treatment programs and improved outcomes for patients with addiction problems.

Dr. Melanie Sal- Viability and growth characteristics of Borrelia burgdorferi grown in various alternative media formulations


Dr. Chris DeRosa– In my research group (DeRosa), we are preparing to do exciting research form environmentally sensitive chalcone- based dyes for biological imaging and therapy. Chalcone dyes can be synthesized via Knoevenagel condensation with aromatic ketones and aldehydes in basic water/alcohol conditions. Further transformations can be performed on the carbonyl and pyridine moieties to change the electronics and charge of the chalcones. Through molecular design strategies, choice of aromatic groups (i.e. phenyl, thienyl, naphthyl, pyrenyl) and substituents (i.e. -OR, -NR2, halides) will be used to generate luminescence colors that span the visible to near-IR spectrum. Dyes can be fitted with site-specific delivery within the cells for multiplexing imaging and sensing.


Dr. Jesse Oldroyd– Mathematical methods for transmitting information are becoming more prevalent every day, and frames are an important tool for this job. The goal of this research project will be to use linear algebra and other fields of mathematics to construct frames that can be used for this purpose.


Dr. Tracey Delaney– Turbulence in the Cassiopeia A Supernova Remnant, and Small Radio Telescope

Dr. Joseph Wiest – Project 1: A study of multi-photon excitation of atoms. In this investigation, two lasers of different wavelengths will be aimed at a sample of a particular element. The first laser will excite the atom from the ground state to an excited state; the second laser will then excite the atom from the excited state to a higher excited state. Studies will be done of the multiple pathways by which the atom will decay from its highest excited state as well as the differences that occur when different stable isotopes of the same element are multi-excited.”

Project 2: A study of the hyperfine spectra of alkali metal atoms. In this investigation, lasers which are tunable over a range of wavelengths, highly stable, and have high resolution are used to measure the effect of different characteristics of the nucleus on very closely spaced spectra which are normally not seen in the spectroscopy of elements. The variables of shape of the nucleus, even/oddness of nucleons, spin of the nucleus, and the spacing of energy levels resulting from electron-nuclear interaction will be examined in the data.”