Suburban-area college students present STEM leadership projects

Submitted by Kellie Lewis, Saint Mary’s College
Posted12/13/2019 10:40 PM

"The groundbreaking, thought-provoking, and engaging projects our STEM students tackled over the summer ranged from Alzheimer's, antibiotics, a cataclysmic variable star system, solar power, body mass trends, and analysis of pharmaceutical samples from Nepal," said Dr. Toni Barstis, PhD, Saint Mary's College Chemistry Professor and Director of the 4+1 Dual Degree Engineering Program of Saint Mary's College and the University of Notre Dame. "The women at Saint Mary's College continue to impress the STEM community with their findings. Students secured competitive internships and research positions at Harvard/Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Wright Patterson Airforce Base, University of Texas at Austin, Saint Mary's College - Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences, Pocono Wildlife Rehab and Education Center, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame.

Research projects from Chicago-area STEM students at Saint Mary's College included:


• Kathleen Halloran (Downers Grove, IL) research at the University of Notre Dame. Halloran conducted astrophysics research as part of a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in the ND Physics Department. Her research project included studying and observing a recently discovered cataclysmic variable star system, V1309 Orionis. She will continue this research through the semester and with plans to publish within the academic year.

• Kellen Hinchey (Wheaton, IL) internship at City of St. Charles (IL) Public Works, Civil Engineering Department. Hinchey was on site with construction crews ensuring road and sewer construction was being done according to plan, provided assistance with IDOT paperwork, surveyed sidewalk ramps to confirm ADA compliance and assessed drainage complaints for possible solutions. Hinchey continues in Saint Mary's Engineering Program, pursuing a physics major at Saint Mary's College and a civil engineering major at the University of Notre Dame.

• Kassidy Jungles (Manteno, IL) research at the University of Michigan. A biology major, Jungles participated in the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at the University of Michigan. This interdisciplinary program aims to help introduce students underrepresented in their field of study to graduate-level research. Jungles' research project was aimed toward studying the effect of novel therapeutics on the growth and migration of head and neck cancer cell lines.

• Whitney Lewis (Mendota, IL) research at Saint Mary's College on The Development of a Paper Analytical Device to Detect Degraded Beta-Lactam Antibiotics. Lewis, a chemistry major with a future in the medical profession, is concerned about the quality of beta-lactam antibiotics, especially in developing countries where storage and manufacturing practices may be compromised. Her research focused on the development of colorimetric tests for a paper-based device to rapidly and reliably assess the quality of beta-lactam antibiotic samples. Thus far, her device has been used to assess the quality of 500 suspicious samples collected from Nepal. She aims to publish her results once validated.

• Katelyn Long (Aurora, IL) researched at the University of Texas at Austin as an REU participant through the Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering. Her project, of Turbidity Removal through Iron Precipitative Coagulation, focused on how drinking water treatment facilities should adapt their methods in response to climate change and affected influent water. Long is also in the 4+1 Dual Degree Engineering program with majors in chemistry and environmental engineering. After this experience, Long aims to continue to work on water quality and treatment after graduation.

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