Battelle, a global nonprofit research and development organization, continues to make significant investments in the undergraduate research program in the College of Science at Eastern Kentucky University. Battelle made a donation of $30,000 to the program last spring, bringing the total gifts for the last three years to $70,000.
Dr. Lindy Dejarme, senior chemist at Battelle,speaking at a ceremony on May 7, 2019 to celebrate the latest gift said, “Theobvious and overwhelming energy in the College of Science and their focus on giving students transformational educational experiences is remarkable. This is why Battelle is proud to support their efforts.”
Other members of the Battelle team present were Dr. George Lucier, deputy chief scientist; Heather Grant, chemical personnel reliability program coordinator; and Dr. John Barton, chief scientist.
In acknowledging Battelle’s support, Dr. Jerry Pogatshnik, EKU’s interim executive vice president for academic affairs and provost and dean of the Graduate School, noted, “We are incredibly grateful to Battelle for their continuing support for our students. One of the things that make this program special is that, not only does it provide for students to conduct their research, but it also funds travel grants so that students have the opportunity to convey their research to the broader community.”
The students receiving the awards are selected on a competitive basis and demand continues to grow. “The number of applicants for the research awards has doubled from nine in 2017 to 18 in 2019,” said Dr. Tom Otieno, dean of the College of Science.
This year’s recipients include (faculty mentors given in parenthesis): Jesse Keyes, a junior mathematics major (Dr. Steve Szabo), Joshua Ralls, a senior computer science major (Dr. Shuangteng Zhang), Jessica Bone, forensic science major (Dr. Judith Jenkins), Dakota Mullannix, senior biology major (Dr. Amy Braccia), and Hannah Miller, a senior engineering physics major (Dr. Thomas Jarvis).
The impact of the Battelle gift is multiplied further, with the college matching the gift by providing summer support for three additional students: James Thompson, junior geology and geographic information science major (Dr. Jonathan Malzone), Marshal Heath, a senior forensic science major (Dr. Cynthia Tran) and Emma Reister, a senior biomedical science major (Dr. Patrick Calie).
Undergraduate research is an invaluable experience, a fact that is not lost on this year’s participants, as illustrated by the following statements.
“After this program, I will be equipped with both experience and confidence to enter into a Ph.D. program with the goal of doing research and becoming a fully-fledged mathematician.” Jesse Keyes.
“After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school to earn my marine biology and physics degrees and study conservation and physical oceanography. Thanks to your support, I will be able to conduct my own research which will play a vital role in being accepted into a graduate school of my choice.” Dakota Mullannix.
The support from Battelle also enables students to attend and present results of their research at local, regional, and national conferences. A total of 41 students have benefited from this opportunity in the last two years.