Student researcher Christine Kassab prepares a core sample in Cape Hatteras, N.C.

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By Evan Dresser

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Dozens of Bucknell’s brightest and most intrepid students are taking advantage of research opportunities this summer, many of which are in close association with professors.

For Stephen Smith ’08 and Christine Kassab ’09, summer research meant hitting the beach in Cape Hatteras, N.C., where they collected samples using an instrument called a vibracore.

"The vibracore has a 20-foot tube stabilized by a tripod," Kassab explained. "Vibracoring has an interesting feeling that no words can describe, as you have to stand on top of it for added weight to push the core through the sediment."

Undergraduate researchers
Back on campus, where other undergraduate researchers are busy with their own projects, Smith and Kassab are using the new data to analyze the relationship between storms and sedimentary deposits.

While some summer research projects involve studying spider silk (Eun Pa Kang ’08), alternative fuels (Nicholas Batt ’09), obsessive-compulsive disorder (Lauren Rutter ’09), aquatic robots (Abhay Agarwal ’09), and hydraulic flumes (Ryan Winn, ’08), not all are scientific in nature.

Anja Wade ’08 is translating an Uzbekistani author’s novel to English from Russian. Jeff Detrick ’09 is analyzing J.R.R. Tolkien’s Orcs, a race of fantasy creatures. David Lopera ’08 is creating a documentary on the art of capoeira, a dance or martial art originated by West African slaves in Brazil.

Departments with research projects this summer include: physics and astronomy, mechanical engineering, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, computer science, psychology, biology, animal behavior, geology, comparative humanities, foreign language, English, classics, and education.

Collaboration with professors
Bucknell continues to emphasize the strength of its undergraduate research programs as a major benefit for students who arrive on campus engaged and ready to participate. In many cases, the students collaborate directly with their professors.

Smith and Kassab were joined in Cape Hatteras by geology professors Jeff Trop and R. Craig Kochel, and the team is now working to interpret the research.

"When you consider that these are some of the brightest young minds in the country, and add in their tremendous energy and enthusiasm, you can understand why Bucknell professors enjoy working closely with the students here," said Provost Mary DeCredico.

Read more about Bucknell’s commitment to undergraduate research.

Contact: Office of Communications

Posted June 28, 2007

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