Skip Navigation

Undergraduate Student Research

Student research experiences typically occur in the summer (but not always), last anywhere from six to sixteen weeks, and pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. The majority of such programs are funded through the National Science Foundation's Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, though there are also positions available with NASA, the Department of Energy's National Laboratories, and others. Research local to APSU is supported through the Presidential Research Scholars program and the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. APSU Physics & Astronomy students have proven to be extraordinarily competitive for positions in these programs, a testimony to the exceptionally high quality educational background that our students receive.

Summer 2012

  • Drew Kerr attended the University of Michigan's Optics in the City of Light international REU in Paris, France.
  • James York-Winegar attended Lehigh University's Glass international REU at the University of Pardubice in the Czech Republic.
  • Mason Yost returned to Vanderbilt University's REU to continue his work on sterile neutrinos.
  • Chris Hayes attended an REU in biophysics at the University of Michigan.
  • Robert Baker attended an REU in nuclear physics at Michigan State.
  • Hope Head attended an REU in astrophysics at Fermilab.
  • Bill Foust attended an REU in astrophysics at Fermilab.
  • Sam Cupp attended an REU in computational gravity at LSU.
  • Ryan Adams attended an REU in biomechanical engineering at Florida State.
  • Dylan Wood attended an REU in green energy at UT Knoxville.
  • Mark Berghel worked an internship at an aerospace company in Memphis.
  • Joe Harms worked on an NMR project as part of the APSU SURF program. 

Return to top

2011-2012 Academic Year

  • Chris Hayes and Mason Yost worked with Drs. King and Schultz on an acoustic model of quantum chaos.
  • Melissa Butner attended a REU program at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Return to top

Summer 2011

  • Drew Kerr attended an REU at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
  • Hope Head attended an REU at the Fermi National Accelerator Lab Batavia, IL, in support of the Dark Energy Survey.
  • Katie Boedges attended an REU at Baylor University.
  • Mason Yost attended an REU at Vanderbilt University
  • Chris Hayes attended an REU at Louisianna State University.
  • Robert Baker attended an REU at the University of Florida.
  • Casey Brock attended an REU at Coe College.
  • Ben Chambers worked at APSU this summer, on an algorithm development project under Dr. Justin Oelgoetz, supported by an NSF REU supplement.
  • James York-Winegar worked at APSU this summer under Dr. Justin Oelgoetz, studying the IR and Raman spectroscopy of non-precious catalysists of interest to the fuel cell community.  He was supported by an NSF REU supplement.

Return to top

Fall 2010 

  • Amber O'Connell continued her work in Material Science applications at Fisk University.

Return to top

Summer 2010

  • Drew Kerr worked at Case Western Reserve University.
  • Sabrina Skinner also worked at Case Western University.
  • Coty McClure spent the summer at Vanderbilt University
  • Ashley McNeil spent her summer working at the University of Alabama.
  • Casey McKight participated in a biostatistics summer school program at Emory University.
  • Amber O'Connell worked at Fisk University over the summer.
  • Ben Chambers worked at APSU this summer, on an algorythm development project under Dr. Justin Oelgoetz, supported by the APSU SRFP.
  • Katie Boedges worked at APSU this summer under Dr. Justin Oelgoetz, investigating the X-Ray spectroscopy of astrophysical plasmas.  She was supported by the APSU SRFP.

Return to top

2009-2010 Academic Year

  • Kristie Canaday continued her work in Material Science applications at Fisk University.

Return to top

Summer 2009

  • Kristie Canaday worked on Material Science applications at Fisk University.
  • Megan Wolfe participated in a the joint Florida State/Florida A&M REU program. She computationally modeled microfluid flow through carbon nanotubes.
  • Casey McKnight secured a position studying cryptogrophy.
  • Melissa Butner went to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center with Dr. Allyn Smith where she investigated ways in which white dwarf stars might be used as calibrators for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.
  • Coty McClure also accompanied Dr. Allyn Smith to SLAC to work on the white dwarf project.
  • John Salter worked with Dr. Samuel Jator in Mathematics on a new technique for computationally solving differential equations.

Return to top

Summer 2008

  • J. P. Badasci worked at Oklahoma University in structural earthquake engineering. The emphasis of his research was on structural dynamics, large scale tests of reinforced concrete structures, and development of computational models.
  • Daniel Mayo and Jennifer Jones examined thermoelectric properties of certain semi-conductors and how the properties change at the nanoscale. This work was conducted at Fisk University and will be valuable to improving the effiency and cost effectiveness of photovoltaic cells. Both Daniel and Jennifer were asked to present there work at the National Renewable Energy Research Conference at the University of Delaware July 21-23.
  • Zachery Hodge worked at Nevis Laboratory through Coumbia University in New York City. He studied event triggering in experimental high energy particle physics.
  • Angela J. Mason worked on the development of a water contamination sensors using Absorption Spectroscopy at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.
  • Scott Swindell and Anthony Mayo both worked on Material Science applications at Fisk University.
  • Jessica Travierso was invited back to Oak Ridge National Laboratory to continue her work in the Computing and Computational Sciences Division. The internship was made possible by the Research Alliance in Math and Science (RAMS) Program at ORNL. Jessica worked for Vickie Lynch on programs for the Spallation Neutron Source.

Return to top

2007-2008 Academic Year

  • Chase Cox continued his work as a Reliability Co-Op at The Trane Co. of Clarksville, TN. Chase's position requires the use of statistical modeling, accelerated life testing, and many other techniques dealing with probability and reliability. His current project is to develop a support system for the design engineers through the means of a database which stores warranty information for every unit Trane produces. The database includes a user interface which allows the user to filter the multi-million record database into a much more informative data set that can help the designer better understand specific flaws in their design.

Return to top

Fall 2007

  • Betsy Hall participated in NASA's USRP at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for 16 weeks during the Fall 2007 semester. There she worked characterizing infrared detectors that will be implemented into NASA's latest infrared space telescope: WISE (Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer). WISE is scheduled to launch in 2008 and will survey the entire sky in the mid-infrared with sensitivity that has never been achieved before at such wavelengths.

Return to top

Summer 2007

  • Josh Henry attended Brookhaven National Laboratory’s prestigious American Chemical Society Nuclear Chemistry Summer School in Upton, N.Y. This educational program emphasizes nuclear medicine, nuclear power, fundamental particle physics and environmental radiochemistry. Josh is the fourth APSU physics major in as many summers to be selected for this prestigious program.
  • Bryan Gaither attended NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the third consecutive summer, the last time as a team lead for Goddard’s Robotics Academy. Gaither and his team continued their work on the modeling of tetrahedral-based robotics structures as part of the Tetrahedral Walker Project. "The development is important in the field of space robotics," Gaither said.
  • Betsy Hall participated in the REU program at the University of Central Florida in their College of Optics and Photonics. She researched the nonlinear characteristics of a neat solution of carbon disulfide. Ultra-short pulsed picosecond and femtosecond lasers were used at various wavelengths to determine the efficiency of carbon disulfide as a calibration model for the well-know Z-scan technique.
  • Jimmy McKee participated in Fisk University's REU program. He was in the Materials Science and Applications group doing research in biophotonics. He used photoluminescence to determine the concentration of zinc in CZT crystals provided by NASA. Jimmy also used Raman spectroscopy to determine the composition of three major plastics.
  • Melissa Butner travelled to Tucson, Arizona where she worked with Dr. Matt Penn, the telescope scientist for the McMath/Pierce Solar telescope on Kitt Peak, at the National Solar Observatory (NSO). While in Tucson, Melissa had the opportunity to visit the NSO telescopes (one of the premier solar observatories in the world) and the Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico, and participate in nighttime observing at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory located on Kitt Peak. Her research project involved mapping the outflow velocity in sunspot penumbras studying at the amplitude and the position angles of the flow, the Evershed effect. This was the first comprehensive study of this effect over most of a solar cycle, using data collected over the past 11 years.
  • Michael Northington participated in Fisk University's REU program. Michael worked in material physics with an emphasis in nanomaterials. He worked with the material science department trying to produce a random laser in heat treated glass ceramics. He used raman spectroscopy to test different materials' lasing properties.
  • Patrick Wilkerson participated in the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Patrick conducted research on the development of new computational methods and numerical analysis. He was responsible for the implementation, debugging, and testing of a program intended to solve finite-difference equations using sparse linear algebra on multiple processors, up to 64. The title of his summer research paper is "A Case Study of the Speculative Asynchronous Simulation on Parallel Computers." Applications of the techniques include efficient molecular dynamics and large-scale parallel numerical methods.
  • Adrian Parker performed research prior to starting his M.S. degree in physics at Fisk. Adrian worked in material physics with an emphasis in nanomaterials.
  • J. P. Badasci worked at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' High Pressure Science and Engineering Center studying material behavior at very high pressures.
  • Angela Mason studied Nanoscale Structure and Shaping of Ferroelectric Domains at Lehigh University's Center for Optical Technologies. During the ten week program Angela spent two weeks studying at the Universities of Bonn and Paderborn in Germany.
  • Jessica Travierso participated in the Research Alliance in Math and Science (RAMS) program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Jessica helped to port, optimize, and test parallel physics simulations to the NSF TeraGrid Computers. Click here to learn more about Jessica's summer research experience.
  • Bill Talkington was invited back to the American Chemical Society's Prestigous Nuclear Chemistry Summer School in San Jose State University as a teaching assistant.

Return to top

2006-2007 Academic Year

  • Chase Cox worked as a Reliability Co-Op at The Trane Co. of Clarksville, TN. Chase's position requires the use of statistical modeling, accelerated life testing, and many other techniques dealing with probability and reliability. His current project is to develop a support system for the design engineers through the means of a database which stores warranty information for every unit Trane produces. The database includes a user interface which allows the user to filter the multi-million record database into a much more informative data set that can help the designer better understand specific flaws in their design.

Return to top

Summer 2006

  • Nathan Campbell participated in The University of Alabama Birmingham's Material Science REU program.
  • Mike DeMoss participated in Fisk University’s Material Science REU.
  • Bryan Gaither continued the work in Robotics at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center that he started in the summer of 2005.
  • Darlene Gunther attended Fisk University’s Material Science REU. Darlene stated she learned a great deal about carbon nanotubes and gained insight into the world of nanotechnology. She plans to pursue graduate work in this area.
  • Betsy Hall attended an REU at Cornell University where she studied nanophotonics. Her project included studying how femtosecond laser pulses travel through photonic crystal fibers, which are nanoscale lattices that act as waveguides for light and allow for usual light-matter interactions.
  • Daniel Hogue worked on a method to enhance shipboard wireless networks fleet-wide. Daniel was also the first individual in the nation selected to the Navy's Nuclear Instructor class for the Fall of 2007.
  • Bill Talkington again participated in two REU’s. At West Virginia University, Bill’s research included cortical auditory signal processing. Bill also participated in the American Chemical Society's Prestigous Nuclear Chemistry Summer School in San Jose State University.
  • Jessica Travierso participated in Fisk University’s Material Science REU.
  • Kristi Ward participated as an intern at the Aviation Technical Test Center doing test planning and testing.
  • Patrick Wilkerson worked in Computational Methods at Baylor University.

Return to top

2005-2006 Academic Year

  • Chase Cox continued the work begun diring the summer of 2005 at Fisk University in Nashville, TN as a paid research assistant

Return to top

Summer 2005

  • Rachel Castleberry attended an REU at the University of Missouri in Columbia where she used computational modeling to study energy transfer of potentially combustible materials on a liquid surface. Rachel, a chemistry and physics major, says the REU "was one of the most rewarding academic experiences of my life and probably the easiest possible research project."
  • Nathan Campbell attended Fisk University’s material science REU in Nashville, TN.
  • Landon Clark attended Brookhaven National Laboratory's prestigious American Chemical Society Nuclear Chemistry Summer School in Upton, N.Y. This educational program emphasizes nuclear medicine, nuclear power, fundamental particle physics and environmental radiochemistry.
  • Chase Cox participated in the REU program at Fisk University in Nashville, TN. Chase’s research included studying how electron beams can be used to apply thin coats of material on surfaces. Chase continued his research with Fisk during the 2005-2006 academic year. Chase has been a co-author on two refereed publications.
  • Cameron Druyor participated in the material science REU hosted by Fisk University in Nashville, TN.
  • Bryan Gaither worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in College Park, MD in its internship program in robotics. Bryan and his research group improved the movement of a tetrahedral robot and also set up its remote communication access using a firewire hub.
  • Mike Gaither conducted research in experimental molecular dynamics at North Carolina State University. The research project he worked on dealt with nanoscale science and the study of molecular rotors, torsional molecular dynamics and artificial molecular dielectrics. Mike was the Harvill Civitan Award recipient for the 2005-2006 academic year, and was the Del Square Psi president the first time they won the SPS Outstanding Chapter of the Year award.
  • Chris Garber was invited back to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the Office of Law Enforcement Standards in Gaithersburg, MD to continue his research in Ballistic Forensics that he started in the summer of 2004. Chris stated the REU gave him real-world research experience and provided him with invaluable resources and personal contacts to help him make better informed decisions about his career choices.
  • Morgan Halfhill participated in the Society of Physics Students’ Outreach/Policy Internship in College Park, MD, working primarily in developing the 2006 Student Outreach Catalyst Kit (SOCK). The kit contains instructions and suggestions for SPS chapters that help to bring physics to their communities through demonstration shows and other activities.
  • Justin Roper was invited back to the prestigious Nuclear and Radiochemistry School at Brookhaven's National Laboratory as a teaching assistant. To learn more about Justin Roper check out these links Harvill Civitan Award, Sophomore year at APSU.
  • Bill Talkington participated in two REU’s. At Marshall University, Bill worked on Conformational Protein BioPhysics, funded by the National Science Foundation. At West Virginia University, Bill’s research included wavelet analysis of natural sounds.

Return to top

Summer 2004

Return to top

Summer 2003

  • Billy Teets participated in the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA) program. Billy conducted the bulk of his research on the microvariability of Mira-type variable stars at East Tennessee State University. His REU also sent him to Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona. For more information about Billy, REU News, Sara Program, Drane Award Winner
  • Ryan Hulguin worked at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to help find a process for producing lighter, stiffer x-ray mirrors to mount on hot air balloons.

Return to top