Indiana Wesleyan University’s Hodson Summer Research Institute has finished a second successful year. Eleven Indiana Wesleyan University students chose to stay on campus this summer to help out faculty members participating in the ten-week research program. In return, they received a substantial stipend, became a key part of original scientific research and added a significant line to their budding resumes.
Students and faculty in the Burns Hall of Science and Nursing regularly work together on faculty-guided research projects, but this summer program enables them to focus on research full-time. When faculty publish papers based on Hodson research, students’ names can appear in the publication as well.
“A student doing the research doing the school year, they put in what amounts to one work week, about 40 hours,” said Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. David Duecker, who oversees the program. “During the summer they actually put in ten work weeks. So they get a lot more extensive experience.”
Some of the research projects included, among others, experiments to examine potential new treatments for osteoperosis, investigate whether bacteria samples from Antarctica contained undiscovered species of life and understand the inner workings of human vision.
The projects, he said, tend to move a lot farther: “Several of them already accomplished their goals pretty early on,” Duecker said. “There’s some cases in a couple of these lab settings where the students were generating some of the new ideas themselves.”
The program also helped students think more deeply about how they wanted to use their undergraduate education later on.
Junior Ellen Steinke started out wanting to be a veterinarian but recently started thinking about full time research. Working with Dr. Dan Jones’ osteoperosis treatment project in the spring and summer gave her a first taste of laboratory life.
“You learn a lot about the scientific method and being in a lab,” she said.
“I thought it was going to be a lot like our lab classes, but it’s nothing like that at all,” said Joshua Ostrander, a chemistry education major. He has also found his aspirations changing: “I want to go on towards more research-based careers.”
Meredith Osborn, an art/biology double major with aspirations of becoming a medical illustrator, met someone who worked in her field for the first time during a Hodson field trip to Chicago.
“The insight into the science industry that this research has provided is invaluable,” Osborn said.
A number of last year’s Hodson Alumni are already benefiting from the experience. Tyler Derr, a 2012 graduate who worked on the osteoperosis research last summer, spent the summer doing research work at the Indiana University School of Medicine – Fort Wayne. He started classes there this week.
IWU continues to improve on its science offerings. At noon on October 5, the university will lay the cornerstone for a new five-floor science and nursing facility. The event is open to the public and will be located on a site accessible from Shatford Drive.
Funding for the Hodson Summer Research Initiative comes from a trust established by the family of the late Arthur Hodson, former chemical engineer and chairman of Star Financial Bank.