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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
 

 

Available Projects

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Majors
  
  
  
Abstract
  
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Project TitleApplications of Linear Algebra
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRoss Rueger
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 80 with B or better
Abstract
​Linear Algebra is taught as a theoretical course due to time for instruction, yet the field is rich with applications in many branches of applied mathematics, such as stochastic processes and Markov chains, coding theory, spectral decomposition, dynamical systems, quadratic forms, conic sections, and quadric surfaces. In this REU students will work individually preparing summary papers and posters in one area of application chosen by the applicant (with approval of the faculty member).
StatusFull/Closed
 
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Project TitleEfficacy of supplemental pollination for enhanced nut set on almond
College/Industry CollaborationUC Cooperative Extension
Mentor/AdvisorElizabeth Fichtner
MajorsPlant Science, particularly with interest in agriculture
Number of Students1
Required Courses & SkillsMath 154, Excel, Powerpoint, Word, field and office work
Abstract
In Tulare County almonds occupy over 36,000 acres with a commodity value of over $180,000,000. Most commercial almond varieties are not self-fertile, but require cross pollination between varieties.  Compatible varieties are planted in adjacent rows throughout the orchard and honeybees are introduced to orchards prior to bloom. Currently, the industry standard is to provide 2-3 hives/acre, necessitating the availability of over 2,000,000 hives to pollinate the CA almond crop. Each colony costs the grower approximately $170. Beekeepers are challenged to meet the pollination demands of the almond industry; therefore, alternative or supplemental options for pollination need to be investigated. We have designed a study to address whether supplemental pollination will increase fruit set on three almond varieties. 
 
Nature of Project:
Almond bloom occurs during February in the southern San Joaquin Valley; consequently, my laboratory group flagged branches in field plots during bloom and pre-counted the number of flowers available to set fruit. Pollen was applied to treated rows during full bloom.  During the summer, we will return to the field sites and determine the following:  a) influence of supplemental pollination on fruit set in three varieties, b) influence of supplemental pollination on yield of three varieties, c) influence of distance from hive on fruit set, d) differences in fruit set between east and west sides of trees. 
 
Student will work with me and my team to collect data in the field.  We will return to flagged branches and determine how many flowers resulted in fruit set (i.e. counting).  We will also measure almond yield in rows during harvest (weighing). All data will be entered at our office in Tulare (Microsoft Excel) and analyzed using SAS statistical
StatusFull/Closed
 
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Project TitleElliptical Integrals and the Circumference Problem
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRoss Rueger
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 76 or 66 with B or better (Open to higher level math students also)
Abstract
​The formula for the area of an ellipse has been known for years, as has its corresponding area of a circle. However, while the circumference of a circle is well known, there is no corresponding circumference of an ellipse formula. In this REU students will use the arc length to determine the circumference of an ellipse problem, then research how various mathematicians have attempted to resolve the problem. This will lead to a study of elliptical integrals and numerical integral approximation.  All work will be done in the classroom or on the internet. Some reading materials will be provided. Mathematica might be incorporated if that is the direction a student choses to go.
StatusFull/Closed
 
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Project TitleEtiology and Treatment of Mastitis in Dairy Cows
College/Industry CollaborationDairy Experts
Mentor/AdvisorAlfonso Lago
MajorsBiology, Chemistry
Number of Students7
Required Courses & SkillsBiology, Desired: Chemistry, Microbiology
Abstract
StatusFull/Closed
 
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Project TitleHyperbolic Trigonometry
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRoss Rueger
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 154 or Math 70 with B or better (Not open to students that have completed Calculus 1)
Abstract
Trigonometry progresses from triangular definitions to unit circle definitions. What would happen if a hyperbola was used, rather than a circle? In this REU students will study hyperbolic trigonometry and develop formulas and identities based on hyperbolic trigonometric functions. Study could lead to the catenary solution to the hanging cable problem.  All work will be done in the classroom or on the internet. Some reading materials will be provided.
StatusOpen
 
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Project TitleMicro-Irrigation System Evaluation
College/Industry CollaborationNCRS
Mentor/AdvisorJoe Williams
MajorsEngineering, Agricultural Science, Soil Science
Number of Students2
Required Courses & SkillsSophomore level, Min. GPA 2.7 (3.0 preferred), Physics covering fluid mechanics, Valid Driver’s License
Abstract
The project involves agricultural irrigation system evaluation and performance on installed micro-irrigation practices cost-shared by the USDA NRCS.  NRCS will be evaluating and comparing system performance on systems that were recently installed vs. systems installed 3- 5 years ago. 
 
Typical duties of a Civil Engineer, Agricultural Science, or Soil Science Intern:
  • Learn NRCS irrigation water management (IWM) principles and practices
  • Learn how to design an irrigation system for orchard systems
  • Creating maps with ESRI ArcGIS desktop
  • Using NRCS Web Soil Survey for desktop analysis
  • Gain basic understanding of irrigation systems & scheduling
  • Writing design reports for projects
  • Preparing sketches and photographs needed for performing the design
  • Performing post-construction irrigation system evaluations for projects. Helps Engineer determine system performance after installation
  • Collects field data and assures adequacy of collected data. Processes and plots data

Note: There will be OJT (On Job Training) for all software programs and field assessment tools not known to selected applicant.

Working conditions: Outdoors in a typical agricultural field setting. 
  • 10% in the office working with NRCS Engineer and Civil Engineering Technician. Students will be based out of COS
  • 90% in the field:  This includes working in orchards collecting flow measurements of irrigation water, walking orchard looking at emitter size and placement, etc.
  • May operate motor vehicles. Must possess and maintain a valid state motor vehicle operator’s license 
StatusOpen
 
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Project TitleNewton’s Method and Roots of Functions
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRoss Rueger
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 75 or 65 with B or better (Open to Calculus 2 students also)
Abstract
​Finding roots of functions has long been studied since the inception of algebra. Newton (actually Simpson) widely improved on the method of approximating roots. In this REU students will study the process of finding roots, starting with Newton’s method and moving onto to more advanced numerical iterative processes. Such study might lead students into numerical forms of power series for functions.  All work will be done in the classroom or on the internet. Some reading materials will be provided. Mathematica might be incorporated if that is the direction a student choses to go.
StatusOpen
 
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Project TitlePopulation Modeling in Tulare County
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorRoss Rueger
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students2-3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 70 with B or better
Abstract
Populations have often been modeled using linear, exponential, polynomial, or logistic models. In this REU students will study population modeling as it applies locally to Tulare County. Students will locate population data for selected cities, then use various modeling techniques and regression to determine which models apply best to the data for each city. Students will research web applets or use Wolfram Mathematica to construct appropriate models for population. Some experimentation with carrying capacity will be necessary.  All work will be done in the classroom or on the internet. Some reading materials will be provided. All of the actual data will be researched by students (with some suggestions).
StatusOpen
 
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Project TitleRelationship between vernal pool physical-chemical parameters and aquatic invertebrates.
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorBobby Kamansky
MajorsBiology, Chemistry
Number of Students2
Required Courses & SkillsBiology, Desired: Chemistry, Microbiology
Abstract
This project explores water and soil physical-chemical properties and their relationships to vernal pool invertebrate presence and absence.  Investigators will sample soils and water along with biological data to determine the relationships among aquatic environments and the biota living within those systems. 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.
StatusFull/Closed
 
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Project TitleTime-Lapse Photography of Desiccation Crack Formation in Sediments
College/Industry CollaborationCollege of the Sequoias
Mentor/AdvisorEric Hetherington
MajorsAll STEM Majors
Number of Students3
Required Courses & SkillsMath 154 or higher, ENGL 1
Abstract
The objective of this project is to capture time-lapse photographic footage in the laboratory of the formation of mud cracks with the intention of documenting variables that control the geometry and rates of formation.
StatusFull/Closed
 
*The COS Student Undergraduate Research Group Experience (SURGE) program, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Last Updated: 7/7/2014 10:44 AM