Students tackle summer research projects

Caroline Kehrli ’18, staff writer


With the spring semester coming to a close, students and faculty alike are planning how to spend their summers. Many choose to engage in research for several months at the University. These projects give undergraduate students of all majors the opportunity to investigate their respective disciplines in a hands-on manner.

Luke Riexinger ’17 is a biomedical engineering major who will be spending his summer with Professor of Biomedical Engineering Jim Baish ’79. Riexinger’s research project aims to improve the understanding of the body’s lymphatic system, in order to help those whose lymphatic functions have been hindered by cancer treatment or disease.

Riexinger will assist Baish in constructing a physical model of the lymphatic system. In order to accurately mimic the shape of the human body, Riexinger will use the knowledge he gained from his classes at the University.

In my opinion, the constant intersection between technical knowledge and creativity is what makes device design the most intriguing area of biomedical engineering. This is a unique project for undergraduates because I am able to work alongside Dr. Baish at Bucknell and share my research with others in the field,” Riexinger said.

Once the research is complete, Riexinger will share his work with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital and present it at the Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Conference.

The psychology department also offers extensive summer research opportunities for students. Professor of Psychology Chris Boyatzis will engage in a cross-cultural study of parenting in Denmark and the United States.

Undergraduate research experience in psychology is crucial for students to truly understand psychological science and to develop their identities as psychological scientists. Research helps students develop many skills and the confidence to tackle bigger, more original questions in subsequent research and perhaps graduate school,” Boyatzis said.

James Hamm ’18 will assist Boyatzis by analyzing transcripts of interviews Boyatzis conducted while on sabbatical in Denmark last fall. Additionally, Hamm will conduct interviews with local American mothers.

The psychology department also offers financial support for promising researchers as well as opportunities for undergraduate students to be co-authors of conference presentations and publications. These research opportunities provided by the University help students distinguish themselves academically, which is crucial when applying to jobs and graduate school.

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