Students present research at SURE program symposium

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Lewis University students present research at SURE program symposium

Published: August 15, 2014.

(L to R) Samantha Brain, Tami Roginski, John Hodul,
Zach Struzik, Justin Ramotowski, Brandon Schabell,
Steven Day and Leigh Smith present their
research projects.

Alternative materials for making solar cells, studying the Lake Michigan food web, protecting pilots’ eyes against laser attacks, more effective cyber security awareness tools, improved cancer detection methods, cell phone cleanliness, color retention in nanoparticles and improved wound healing approaches were presented Aug. 6 by Lewis University students.

Students presented their work, including lab experiments and results, at a concluding symposium for the Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).

“The fifth annual SURE program was the largest in the history of Lewis University,” said Dr. Bill Chura, assistant professor of biology and program director.

Eight faculty members mentored nine students from biology, chemistry, computer science and physics in the 10-week program. Chura added, “The wide range of projects showcased the many talents of the STEM faculty. This summer program provides students with invaluable experience and challenges them to become better scientists.”

Students presented research at the symposium in a variety of fields:

  • Chemistry major Samantha Brain presented “Synthesis of Zinc Oxide Quantum Dots for Solar Cell Applications.” Dr. Jason Keleher served as her faculty mentor.

  • Biology major Tami Roginski presented “Changing Food Webs in Lake Michigan: Dreissena and the Microbial Loop.” Dr. Jerry Kavouras served as her faculty mentor. The research was sponsored by an Illinois Water Resources Center Grant.

  • Physics major Brandon Schabell presented “The Use of Semiconductor Incorporated Dye Nanocomposites for the Absorbance of Green Laser Light.” Dr. Joe Kozminski served as his faculty mentor.
  • Computer Science major Steven Day presented “System for Information Security Education and Real-Time Awareness (SISERTA).” Dr. Ray Klump served as his faculty mentor.

  • Biology major Leigh Smith presented “Characterization of Mutated Cyclin D3 Human Cancer Cell Lines.” Dr. Sarah Powers served as her faculty mentor.

  • Biology major Justin Ramotowski presented “Antibiotic Sensitivity of Microbes Present on Cellular Devices.” Dr. Marne Bailey and Jeannette Pifer served as his faculty mentors.

  • Chemistry majors John Hodul and Zach Struzik presented “Nano-Templating and Mesoporous Adjustment of Silica Sol-Gel.” Dr. John Parker served as their faculty mentor.

  • Biology major Daniel Lentz presented “Balancing Act: Variance of PVA/Chitosan ratios in the Optimization of Biomimetic Hydrogels.” Dr. Bill Chura served as his faculty mentor.

The SURE program is sponsored by Lewis University and a grant from the Aileen S. Andrew Foundation.

Lewis University is a Catholic university in the Lasallian tradition offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to more than 6,600 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally connected, and socially responsible graduates. The seventh largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. Visit for further information.

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