Five Southwestern students have been selected to participate in summer research programs sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The programs are all part of the NSF’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. Students selected for the program receive travel expenses, room and board, and a stipend of up to $4,000.

Jessica Bolton, a sophomore majoring in animal behavior, was selected to participate in a neuroscience program at Duke University called the Mechanisms of Behavior program. She will spend 10 weeks working with Staci Bilbo, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke, exploring how neonatal infections in rat pups affect their cognitive abilities, such as learning and memory, later in life.

“I hope to gain valuable research experience in the field of neuroscience because I plan to attend graduate school to get a Ph.D. in research in neuroscience or animal behavior and later become a professor,” Bolton said.

Stephen Foster, a junior majoring in computer science and philosophy, was selected to participate in a research program in the Laboratory for Distributed Intelligent Agent Systems at Trinity University in San Antonio. He will work with faculty members in the laboratory on a wide variety of problems related to artificial intelligence and multi-agent systems.

Jennifer Gibbs, a junior biochemistry major, was one selected to participate in a chemistry research program at the University of North Texas. The program will include visits to nearby companies to see how chemistry plays a role in their work and meetings with former leaders of major chemical companies.

Dene Leerberg, a sophomore biology major, was selected to participate in a research program at the University of California-Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory, located in Bodega Bay, Calif. The students will conduct research on topics such as coastal oceanography, invasive species ecology, the effects of pollution on marine life, and biodiversity.

Kevin O’Neil, a junior physics major, was selected to participate in a research program at the Rice Quantum Institute at Rice University. The institute conducts research in physical chemistry, and has been involved with numerous cutting-edge developments, including the discovery of fullerenes, the development of carbon nanotube technologies, and the manufacture of molecular-scale electronic devices.


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