Montana State University
Spotlight story

The VP Research Office sponsors Presidential Scholars selected by the Honors Program, as interns for the program "Undergraduate Research Internships for Enhancing Diversity in Science and Engineering."

This program is part of a campus-wide effort to enhance diversity in the science fields and increase the number of women majoring in science and engineering, and to increase the opportunities for women to be involved in undergraduate research at MSU. It is designed to provide highly qualified undergraduate students with exposure to research in the sciences and engineering fields, and to gain some first-hand experience working with faculty and graduate students in many of the research labs or centers on campus.

In 2010 the eligibility of the program was opened to all Presidential Scholars.

Research Interns included:

Joshua Carter (Watertown, SD), Clint Cooper (Polson, MT), Emma Garcia (Fleming Island, FL), Leanna Hansen (San Diego, CA) and Riley Shearer (Lake Oswego, OR) began their internships in Spring 2013. Joshua's major is Mechanical Engineering and Microbiology; he is working with Blake Wiedenheft in Immunology and Infectious Diseases to identify structural components crucial for bacterial adaptive immunity. Clint's major is Computer Science; he is working with Mike Wittie in Computer Science doing game usability measurement research. Emma's major is Bioengineering; she is working with Michelle Flenniken in Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology to study viruses as biomarkers for honey bee health. Leanna's major is Cell Biology and Neuroscience; she is working with Gary Strobel in Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology on a system for the enhanced biological degradation of human wastes using an endophyte. Riley's major is Chemical and Biological Engineering; he is working with Trevor Douglas in Chemistry and Biochemistry on encapsulation and analysis of NADH oxidase in P22.

Hannah Wilson (Kalispell, MT), Ashton Solecki (Forsyth, MT), and Mackenzie Weber (Kalispell, MT) began their internships in Spring 2012. Hannah is a History major in the Science, Environment, Technology and Society option and worked with Frankie Jackson and David Varricchio in Earth Sciences analyzing modern and fossilized eggshells. She also presented posters at the 5th International Symposium of Dinosaur Eggs and Babies in Hangzhou, China. Ashton is a Biological Engineering major and worked with Leah Schmalzbauer in Sociology and Anthropology studying the effects of education on orphaned children in South Africa following interviews and observations done there. Mackenzie's major is also in the Science, Environment, Technology and Society option in the History department. She worked with Christa Merzdorf in Cell Biology and Neuroscience working with the development of the neural tube in embryos.

Logan Warberg (Kalispell, MT), James Mauch (Grand Junction, CO), and Emilie Kuster (Sandpoint, ID) began their internships in Spring 2011. Logan is a Computer Science major and worked with Dan Miller in Civil Engineering on a snow science project. James is a Geology major and worked with Dr. James Schmitt in Earth Sciences characterizing and interpreting the morphology of fan-shaped landforms along the Madison Range front in SW Montana.. Emilie is a Pre-Nursing major and worked with Laura Larsson on her radon project and also worked with other nurses doing food bank based outreach to increase health care access for the underserved.

Karsen Cullen (Bozeman, MT), Alyssa Hjelvik (Melstone, MT), Micayla Lakey, (Chester, MT) and Erin Ryan (Deer Lodge, MT), began their internships in Fall 2009. Karsen worked with Dennis Aig in the Natural Filmmaking Program and in Trevor Douglas' biochemistry lab in Chemistry and Biochemistry attempting to coax bacteria to manufacture unique proteins and in Trevor Rainey's lab working on synthesizing organic molecules; Alyssa and Micayla worked briefly with Gary Strobel in Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology; and Erin worked with Matt Blank at the Western Transportation Institute studying the swimming speed and abilities of two species of fish and how culverts affect them.

Elizabeth Flesch (Bettendorf, IA), Samantha Forsythe (Billings, MT), Hanna Gertiser (Livingston, MT), Erin Gunnink (Bozeman, MT), and Morgan Mends (Helena, MT), began their internships in Fall 2008. Elizabeth spent her internship with Bob Garrott in Ecology and during summer 2009 she did a sea turtle internship at Canaveral National Seashore in Florida. Samantha worked with Ellen-Therese Lamm at the Museum of the Rockies studying collagen fibers within dinosaur skulls. This research is being used to support a theory about dinosaur development. Hanna interned with Mary Miles in Health & Human Development, and during Summer 2009 she interned with Alison Harmon at the Towne's Harvest Garden. Erin interned with Cathy Zabinski in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. Morgan interned with Gary Strobel in Plant Sciences during spring and summer 2009.

Jane Johnson (Kalispell, MT), Tiphani Lynn (Great Falls, MT), and Jacquelyn Sweiger (Florida) began their internships in Fall 2007. Jane spent her internship with Liz Shanahan in Political Science on a project studying open space and conservation initiatives and referendums in several Western states. They looked at census data and reviewed the literature to investigate the possibility of shifts in voter demographics. Tiphani worked briefly with Evelyn Boswell in the Vice President for Research Office writing news articles. Jackie assisted Jan Bowman and Jyme Peterson in Animal and Range Sciences with the analysis of samples in their lab for one semester.

Katy Hansen (Bozeman, MT), Erica Wineman (Livingston, MT), Krysta Buska (Helena, MT), and Pavielle Haines (Bozeman, MT) began their internships Fall 2006. Katy worked with Dr. Linda Young researching various subjects in International Political Economy - which is a combination of Economics, Political Science and Sociology. She gathered statistics that showed the importance of trade and the impact of global associations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization. She also researched and presented a critical analysis of Hernando de Soto’s The Mystery of Capital on granting property rights to slum dwellers in Lima, Peru and some implied worldwide policy implications. Lastly, she found case studies that showed the impact of trade agreements on rural agricultural producers. Erica interned for Bridget Kevane in Modern Languages. Her work included reading books and writing essays to help Dr. Kevane with the research for the book she is writing. Erica left MSU after the first year. Krysta interned for Trevor Douglas in the Center for Bio-Inspired Nanomaterials for three semesters and a summer.  She was trained on various lab equipment and techniques. Her research focused specifically on oxidative stress and a Dns-like protein from Sulfolobus solfataricus. Krysta also learned how to develop a research project from proposal to publication. Pavielle interned with Liz Shanahan in Political Science. The project explored what promotes contentedness in society and the implications that it has for policy. Her work included making inquires at the Gallatin County Public Health office about health data which they are required to collect, how it is archived, and the whereabouts of county-level health data at the state level.

Katie Baldwin (Bozeman, MT) was selected as an intern Fall 2005, then spent her second year in Germany, and has returned to complete her internship. She updated the Women in Research and Teaching website (http://www.montana.edu/wrt/), identified funding opportunities for the Girls for a Change program, and traveled to Indonesia to work with the Girls World Summit team, where they gave a Girls International Forum survey to 200 girls and women to assess their needs and the communities in which they live. She has also read articles and books on gender and science, and prepared a survey for MSU faculty on how women are influenced by science. She interned with Carla Nappi in History and Philosophy on the history of science, and in Spring 2008 she worked with an independent study group with Engineers Without Borders to prepare a household water use survey for use in Kenya. She received a 2009 Student of Achievement Award in Spring 2009.

Dana Kreitel (Ekalaka, MT) and Katie Stahley (Billings, MT) began their internships Fall 2004. Dana worked with Michele Hardy in Veterinary Molecular Biology using viruses to inhibit gene expression. Katie worked with the Montana Water Center analyzing water marketing laws in Western states and also updated their educational trunks. During Spring 2006 Katie researched trading protocols for Susan Capalbo.

Keely Obert (Helena, MT) and Kristy Segal (Atlanta, GA) were selected as interns beginning Fall 2003. Keely worked with Jerry Stephens and Eli Cuehlo in Civil Engineering on his SACO Bridge Project. As a senior she was honored with an Excellence Award with Jerry Stephens as her faculty mentor in February 2007. Kristy spent her internship with Dr. Lisa Graumlich in the Big Sky Institute writing informational handouts on current science/resource issues. In 2005 she received a Big Sky Institute Science and Society Undergraduate Fellowship.  As a senior she was honored with an Excellence Award with Scott Creel as her faculty mentor in February 2007.

4 page factsheet on all VP Interns through 2010