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 The S​URGE Participant will:
  • increase their academic and social integration with other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) students, faculty, professionals, and industry creating pathways to: 
    • working with faculty and/or industry advisors in defining research goals, processes and data analysis
    • conduct small scale research projects that involve data collection and analysis 
    • creating and presenting a research poster at the COS STEM Symposium or at a National STEM Conference
    • create opportunities for summer research internships and/or summer jobs related to their field of study
    • travel scholarships for professional conferences
    • educational funding and scholarship opportunities
 Check out COS STEM Symposium Books with STEM student projects: Fall 2015 STEM Symposium Book ​  
                                                                                                            fall 2014 Symposium Book.pdf​ 

 

Available Projects

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Majors
  
  
  
Abstract
  
  
  
Project TitleA comparison of N-S flowing and E-W flowing streams in the Sierra Nevada foothills: Why do Dry Creek and Cottonwood Creek flow perpendicular rather than parallel to the tilt of the Sierran Block?
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Eric Hetheringtioin - Geology Faculty
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2
Required Courses & SkillsInterest in/experience working with computer graphics programs.
Abstract

Uplift of the Sierra Nevada occurs primarily along faults on the east-side of the mountains resulting in a westward tilt to the entire Sierran Block.  This project investigates effects of this tilt and the underlying geology on the development of drainage patterns along the local Sierran Foothills.  The research will consist primarily of map and computer work with some possible field-checking of interesting locales.  I envision that the investigators will use Google Earth to identify stream patterns and to measure elevations that can be used to generate stream profiles (stream bed gradients) for segments flowing at different angles to the tilted block;  it would also include a comparison of geologic maps to topographic maps and stream patterns.

StatusOpen
Timeline
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleApplication of Ascophyllum nodosum (Acadian Seaplants) extract to pistachio for mitigation of drought stress.
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Elizabeth Fichtner
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2
Required Courses & Skillsstudent must be willing to do field work in heat, basic excel skills, interest in agriculture, plant science, or related fields
Abstract

Research by our team in 2015 determined that Acadian, a commercially available extract from a seaweed (Ascophyllum nodosum) induces resistance of pistachio rootstocks to soilborne fungi.  We similarly found that application of trees with Acadian in the laboratory mitigated plant water stress, as determined by measurement of stem water potential.  To test the hypothesis that the product is of benefit to pistachio trees in marginal soil, a large scale field trial was established in April 2016.  A pistachio grower/cooperator in Fresno,Co. applied Acadian through the irrigation system within a commercial block, leaving untreated blocks in the orchard.  The product will be applied monthly throughout the growing season.

During the summer of 2016, we will test whether the application of Acadian to the roots affected plant water stress and plant nutritional status.  The SURGE intern will travel to the field site with mentor to measure midday stem water potential in treated and untreated blocks.  Additionally, leaf samples will be taken from treated and untreated blocks to determine if differences in plant nutrient status result from Acadian treatment.

 Student will have the opportunity to collect data in the field and then analyze and interpret the data in the lab.  Student will learn basic statistics (mostly t-tests) and how to read foliar tissue analysis tables. ​

StatusOpen
TimelineJune, July, August various days
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleCan pre-plant treatment of walnut roots with mycorrhizal inoculum (beneficial fungi) enhance growth and plant nutritional status?
College/Industry CollaborationUniversity of California
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Elizabeth Fichtner
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students1
Required Courses & Skills
Abstract

To test the putative benefit of mycorrhizal fungi, plant growth promoting bacteria, and resistance-inducing products to commercial walnut, a research trial was established in April 2016 at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center in Exeter, CA.  All treatments included in the study are either fit the description of “organic” or are considered “bio-rationale.” At planting trees were inoculated with a commercially available mycorrhizal product (MycoApply EndoMAXX, Valent).  Approximately 10 days post-plant, a subset of trees were treated with a mixture of root colonizing bacteria (Bacillus spp.) (Activate, Natural Resources Group) or a natural extract of willow and walnut (Root Rx, Redox Chemical). Plots were set up in a randomized complete block design and therefore, all data collected will be analyzed statistically.

 During the summer of 2016, a student intern will take data including:  tree height, midday stem water potential, foliar nutrient analysis, and rootstock girth. Student will be independently responsible for data collection (with help), entering data, and will actively assist in the statistical analysis of data.​ 

StatusOpen
TimelineJune, July, August various days
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleDrought Impacts on Tree Mortality in the Kaweah Delta
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRobert Hansen & Bobby Kamansky
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3
Required Courses & SkillsInterest in local ecology and biology
Abstract

Areas in the Kaweah Delta in Tulare County show visible and measurable apparent Valley oak mortality.  This study investigates the location, density, distribution and number of dead oaks in a select area in the Lower Kaweah Watershed.

 Several primary hypotheses guide this research. Among them are that the oaks with high mortality represent a drought-sensitive cohort in the population. We are may be observing a major selection event with the current die off.

 Another hypothesis is that the high-mortality oaks are concentrated along channels where they get irrigation seep water. These may be especially sensitive because they didn’t develop deep root systems.​ 

StatusOpen
TimelineJune, July, August
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleEpidemiology and strain diversity of bacteria causing mastitis within and among dairy cattle herds
College/Industry CollaborationDairyExperts
Mentor/AdvisorDr. Alfonso Lago, DVM, Diplomate ABVP, PhD
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2
Required Courses & Skillsmicrobiology coursework, intellectual curiosity, attention to detail and hard worker, interest in health science and research
Abstract

Low diversity of bacteria strains isolated from mastitis cases suggests contagious transmission of the disease within a herd. Conversely, high diversity suggests the environment as the source of infection. The aim of this study is to evaluate strain diversity of bacteria causing mastitis within and among dairy cattle herds. Isolates from mastitis cases will be compared using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD)-PCR typing. To compare the strain diversities between isolate populations from milk and from other sources, Simpson's index of discrimination (SID) and its 95% confidence interval (CI) will be used.​

StatusOpen
TimelineJune thru July 2016
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleExplorations in Mathematica
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorChris Keen
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsCalculus I successfully completed.
Abstract

Mathematica is described as the world’s most powerful global computation system. Originally attractive to physicists and mathematicians, popularity since its introduction in 1988 has grown to include users in the life and social sciences as well as in the business world.  Most of our STEM majors will be required to use Mathematica upon transfer, and many will continue to use it in their careers down the road.  Experience with this complex technical programming language now will give them a leg up on their peers.  Further, and as an immediate benefit, students will gain a valuable tool for visualizing complex mathematics and checking solutions to complex problems in the Calculus sequence, and beyond.

This project is open-ended, and will include learning the basics of Mathematica, and hopefully completion of the Student Certification Program offered by Wolfram.  Students will also choose several topics to explore in further depth and possibly even conclude with the submission of a program to the Wolfram Demonstrations Project. All work will be done in a computer lab or on the internet. Web tutorials are available through Wolfram, and some gains will be made through experimentation. The depth of this project can be determined by the students, with a minimum requirement of learning the basics and creating a poster showcasing what was learned.​

StatusOpen
TimelineMay through August
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleMulti-Player Digital Game Table
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorJohn Redden and Larry Owens
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3-6
Required Courses & SkillsMinimum Qualifications: Trigonometry level mathematics course, Some HTML5/CSS/JavaScript and computing/web skills. (Browse:  http://www.w3schools.com/), Ability to find and make use of online documentation and tutorials, Persistence and willingness
Abstract

The team will design and build a classic game table, with multi-touch capabilities, powered by an inexpensive computer such as a Raspberry Pi.  This is a cross-disciplinary project that will involve the software development of a unique air hockey web application as well as hardware acquisition, design, and construction.  The table will also be required to connect to the internet and be used as an all-purpose web browser. This project will consist of the following:


1.      Web application development using an open source game engine, existing web applications, and other professional grade frameworks such as twitter bootstrap and jQuery.  Also, a project website will be created.

2.      Research of existing low cost computer solutions, acquisition and set-up of hardware, installation of operating systems, and network connectivity.

3.      Design and construction of a standard table with a touch-screen monitor and a nice built-in look with room for a small computer.

GitHub.com will be used to enable and streamline collaboration.

This project will emulate the full product development experience from idea generation, design considerations, prototyping and construction, as well as, implementation, testing, and presentation of the final product.  The emphasis will be on real-world problem solving and collaboration.  Students will be encouraged to produce open-source and free product designs that are available to a user base extending beyond COS.​

StatusFull/Closed
TimelineSpring and summer 2016
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleRelationship between vernal pool physio-chemical parameters and vernal pool biota.
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorBobby Kamansky
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students1-3
Required Courses & SkillsInterest in local ecology and biology, some coursework in chemistry, biology, and/or physics
Abstract

This project explores water and soil physical-chemical properties and their relationships to vernal pool invertebrate presence and absence. This project is in its third year of research and manuscript publication is expected.

Investigators will sample soils, water along with biological data to determine the relationships among aquatic environments and the biota wetlands house. After field investigations collecting appropriate data, lab and statistical analyses will correlate the presence/absence of various wetland invertebrates with water and soil physical-chemical properties.​ 

StatusOpen
TimelineResearch for this project is on-going. However, a phase of the research will be complete by July, 2016.
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleRestoration Design and Student Mentoring for Eleanor Roosevelt Learning Center
College/Industry Collaboration
Mentor/AdvisorBobby Kamansky
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3
Required Courses & SkillsInterest in local ecology and biology
Abstract

Investigators will utilize the restoration vision for the 7-acre ERLA campus and its 5-7 restoration zones developed by students, to design and begin implementing a restoration program on the Campus. The program will utilize ERLA students, mentored in direct field work and planning by COS students, ERLA and professionals to develop planning and implementation project-based learning experiences. The program will yield a deeper appreciation for the local ecology, plant, animal and human interactions and foster an appreciation and conservation of the local environment.

 

StatusOpen
TimelineJune, July, August
Application Deadline5/16/2016
 
Project TitleThe science behind Clinical Laboratory Science profession
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorNina Cano and Bill Fleming
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students1
Required Courses & Skillscompletion of chem 20 or chem 1, Bio 20, Algebra II
Abstract

Students will spend one week in both the clinical and microbiology labs for a total of 40 laboratory hours. During this time students will get to observe the science behind the clinical laboratory profession as well as complete a project.

Projects will include clinical case studies:

Sepsis- instruments and tests used to diagnose sepsis, chemistry behind these tests, chemistry changes within the body, source of sepsis, pathogens causing sepsis.

Urinary tract infections- tests used to diagnose UTI, chemistry behind these tests, percent positive UTI’s seen in the clinical microbiology lab, analyze one weeks of data identifying most common pathogens by percent.

New instrument installation- instrument setup, methodology comparison (new vs. old), intended purpose of testing, instrument methodology, fluorescent microscopy technology.

Additional projects:

Hematology- Learn instrument methodology, flow cell technology, instrument engineering.

Chemistry- Learn the chemistry behind each test, instrument engineering.

Urinalysis- Learn instrument methodology, instrument engineering.

 ​

StatusOpen
Timeline
Application Deadline5/23/2016
 
*The COS Student Undergraduate Research Group Experience (SURGE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last Updated: 2/18/2016 10:46 AM