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May 14, 2019

Pictured are 15 of the 23 School of Science, Health & Mathematics students embarking on summer research internships this year.

As final exams and graduation ceremonies are wrapping up at colleges and universities across the country, many college students head out for a summer of fun, travel or relaxing at home. But summer break will look at little different for Asbury University math and science majors who are spending their vacations in a variety of impressive research internships across the country.

This year, 23 students from the School of Science, Health & Mathematics will serve as research interns for companies such as Avanti Lipids, the United States Air Force, Smith’s Lake, Proactive Worldwide, Eppley and more.

“Given the size of a school like Asbury and the overall number of STEM majors, it is pretty remarkable to have 23 of our students participating in undergraduate research experiences this summer,” said Dr. Vins Sutlive, Dean of the School of Science, Health & Mathematics. “This reflects not only on the quality of our students, but the dedication of our faculty who have encouraged our students to seek these co-curricular opportunities.”

Students will be interning in states including Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Texas, Tennessee and Virginia. These opportunities include several highly competitive research experiences sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

Several students will stay on campus to do research for Avanti Lipids, Fisher Tropsch Research, Eppley and Proactive Worldwide. These students include:

  • Harrison Williams ‘20
  • Elizabeth Strasko ‘21
  • Caleb Engler ‘21
  • Tyler Thompson ‘19
  • Enyu (Philip) Li ‘21
  • Jin Can (Jace) Jin ‘21
  • Bryce Forry ‘19

In addition to the 23 students embarking on research experiences this summer, seven School of Science, Health & Mathematics students who graduated this May will be entering medical or graduate school programs in the fall; while, several others have already received and accepted job offers.

Alexis Ruffing ’20 is looking forward to working with Dr. Francesc Marti in his lab at the Department of Surgery at University of Kentucky’s College of Medicine. Ruffing will assist Marti in researching the role of Regulatory T Cells in transplantation, specifically renal transplants.

“It feels very rewarding to have this opportunity,” Ruffing said. “It is a great privilege to be a part of research with such great potential to impact people around the world. Transplant rejection is a very real issue in health care today and it is a blessing to be able to be a part of advances in this field.”

Engler, who will be working with Dr. Wilson Shafer on the Eppley CO2 utilization research on Asbury’s campus, solidified his research internship after taking a class with Shafer which later evolved into a volunteer opportunity and now, the work he’ll be doing this summer. The research will focus on urban air purification.

“The research involves utilizing algae bio reactors to reduce carbon dioxide emission, as well as analyzing data from the reactors to build a model for algae growth in our specific system,” Engler said. “The project is currently open-ended with the first application being to build a working outdoor algae system that could be placed in urban areas.”

For Engler, the unique hands-on work experience is irreplaceable and he’s thankful for the many connections and opportunities he’s come across through Asbury.

“I really appreciate the opportunity to be involved in this research,” Engler said. “Classroom learning is important, but for any line of work, nothing replaces hands on experience. It’s a chance to learn research work and get a taste of what I might be doing with my major.”

Learn more about the School of Science, Health & Mathematics at Asbury University.