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Summer research participants prepare for showcase

  • woman in front of chalkboard
  • Brian Basinski
  • woman in front of bear habitat at zoo

Posted on July 21, 2017

Nearly 40 students will present research they conducted during the 2017 spring/summer semester at the Summer Scholars Showcase on Tuesday, August 1.

The event will run from 4-7 p.m. in the DeVos Center, Loosemore Auditorium and Hager-Lubbers Exhibition Hall. Campus community members who plan to attend are encouraged to RSVP by sending an email to the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship at

Five programs are represented: Modified Student Summer Scholars, Student Summer Scholars (S3), Beckman Scholars, Library Scholars and McNair Scholars.

The S3 program provides funds for a student and faculty mentor to devote time to a research project during the spring/summer semester. Ellen Audia, a senior who is a double major in mathematics and natural resources management, said S3 also gives participants a resume boost.

Audia is working with Megan Woller-Skar, associate professor of biology, to analyze water quality data in seven lake basins for the Leelanau Conservancy in Leelanau County. She is using a statistical software program that most students use only during graduate school.

"This will help set me apart from other people when it comes time to apply to graduate schools," she said. They will present their research to the conservancy in mid-August.

Three years ago, chemistry major Brian Basinski thought going to graduate school was out of his reach. Basinski traveled the country after graduating from high school and worked odd jobs. He always enjoyed science, but said he thought he was too old, at 24, to consider a career as a scientist.

“I discovered my interest in science by listening to scientific podcasts, and then returned to Grand Rapids for my first chemistry course at Grand Rapids Community College, where my love for the subject was confirmed,” Basinski said.

After transferring to Grand Valley, Basinski met Susan Mendoza, director of OURS, who told him about S3. He shadowed Rachel Powers, professor of chemistry, in her lab then asked if she would serve as his S3 faculty mentor. 

Basinski spent his summer in Powers' lab, helping to characterize novel molecules that could be used to overcome antibiotic resistance.

His work included a trip to the Advanced Photon Source at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois. "This is graduate-level research," said Basinski, an Ott-Stiner scholar. "To have this opportunity to study these molecules and their bacterial targets at an atomic resolution has been amazing."

More information is posted online, click here.