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L.E.A.R.N. Research Teams

L.E.A.R.N.'s faculty mentors and their research students play an integral part in our program design. Faculty and student research mentors are the link between our student participants and the research apprenticeship. As mentors they provide unique opportunities to engage academically and professionally in undergraduate research. Our mentors provide guidance, encouragement, and feedback that enriches student's experiences in undergraduate research, and helps build student's self-confidence in developing research skills.

LEARN 2018

LEARN Students 2018-2019

Many of the L.E.A.R.N. Faculty mentors have a long tradition of welcoming and incorporating novice undergraduate research students into their projects. Projects range in topics and usually incorporate multiple perspectives and disciplinary approaches. What is unique about the L.E.A.R.N. program is that we support student participants in networking and matching with the research teams for the formal apprenticeship.

 

 

 

What is the L.E.A.R.N. Apprenticeship?

One of the goals of the L.E.A.R.N. program is to offer students an opportunity to gain research experience, which adds to the student resume, builds skills and competencies, and helps retain the student in the STEM major.

In the L.E.A.R.N. program student participants are matched with a research team closely related to the participant's major and areas of interest. L.E.A.R.N. students first match with their research team in the fall semester during the "shadowing" portion of the experience.

Students who shadow with their research team in the fall get the advantages of learning the basic lab/field practices and routines, understanding the background knowledge of the research objective, and get opportunity to develop their own research project.

The 12-week formal apprenticeship begins in the spring semester, in which the L.E.A.R.N. student assumes the primary role of conducting a research investigation alongside their research team. For 12 weeks the L.E.A.R.N. student works independently to develop a research question, background knowledge, and an experimental method to test their objective. All along the way the student is supported by the research team and L.E.A.R.N. Leadership.

Meet our Faculty Mentors

Dr. Joseph Pechmann

Department

Biology

Research Interests

Dr. Pechmann is involved with population and community ecology, herpetology, and wetlands ecology. He has recently been involved with research on conservation and recovery of the endangered dusky gopher frog. He has contributed greatly to efforts of sustainability and ecological responsibilities. 

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Hailey Birge (LEARN Alumna 2017-2018)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Mitzy Salmeron

Dr. Sudhir KAUL

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Fracture Mechanics and Diagnostics, Structural Dynamics & Control, Vibration Isolation & Control, Motorcycle Dynamics. 

2018-2019 LEARN Graduate Researcher

Jacob Friesen

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Griffin Wagner

DR. ROBERT YOUKER

Department

Biology

Research Interests

My laboratory is interested in how protein dynamics, especially the process of oligomerization, regulates the sorting of membrane proteins in polarized epithelial cells under normal and disease conditions. We are also interested in how oligomeriztion affects G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling. Finally, we are studying the effects of inappropriate protein dynamics that occur during protein misfolding and can lead to human disease such as Cystic Fibrosis.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Sierra Rice

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Zoë Van Den Bosch

Dr. Aimee Rockhill

Department

Geosciences and Natural Resources

Research Interests

Spatiotemporal wildlife-habitat interactions, vertebrate population dynamics, landscape conservation, natural resource management

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

N/A

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Sarah Justice

Dr. Frankie West

Department

Forensic Science/Chemistry & Physics

Research Interests

Dr. West is interested improving the identification of body fluids at crime scenes, with a goal of having a rapid Identification test developed to better identify and extract DNA from crime scene fluids.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Chelsea Jones (LEARN Alumna 2016-2017)
Madison Klein

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Noah Smith

Dr. Paul Yanik

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Research interests include development of complex intelligent and adaptive systems involving pattern recognition, machine learning, robotics, human-robot interaction, emergent robotic response with human teachers, robot path planning and shaping, and engineering education. Professional background includes digital electronics design including microprocessors, telecommunications data link layer protocols and switching, electronics design automation and digital design verification.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

N/A

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Alexa Lavin
Andy Royston

Dr. Joe Fahmy

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Dr. Fahmy's research intrest includes Analysis of Inherent Residual Stress Developed Through Direct Metal Laser Sintering of 316L Stainless Steel.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Bailey Stillman (LEARN Peer Mentor)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Tyrele Adams

Dr. Maria Gainey

Department

Chemistry & Physics
Biology

Research Interests

Dr. Gainey is interested in virus-host interactions, namely involving bacteriophages. She is also interested in immunology, and has collaborated with Dr. Brian Byrd through the WCU's research affiliate: Mosquito & Vector-Borne Diseases. 

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Erin Cafferty (LEARN Writing Fellow)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Debbie Badillo

Dr. Martin Tanaka

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Innovative new devices have changed the way that humans interact with our world. Often these new devices are enabled by a new scientific discovery or engineering development. I am interested in utilizing new technologies to create innovative devices and to advance our understanding of the biological sciences, engineering, and medicine. Visit my personal website to see my students and learn more about their research projects http://paws.wcu.edu/mtanaka/ .

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

N/A

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Jazz Click

Dr. Brian Byrd

Department

Environmental Health

Research Interests

Dr. Byrd is interested in mosquito borne diseases, and he focuses specifically on LaCrosse Encephalitis. Dr. Bryd is the Principal Investigator and Researcher for the WCU research affiliate on Mosquito and Vector-Borne Diseases. See the website at: https://www.wcu.edu/learn/departments-schools-colleges/HHS/healthsci/mosquito-vector-borne-infectious-disease-facility/index.aspx

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Corey Day
Paige Robinson (LEARN Alumna 2017-2018)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Ellie Armstrong
Alec Poupore

Dr. JP Gannon

Department

Geosciences and Natural Resource Management

Research Interests

Watershed Hydrology, Hydrological processes in headwater catchments, effect of land use and climate on water quality, citizen science in hydrology and Soil Science.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Dakota Little (LEARN Alumna 2016-2017; LEARN Peer Mentor)
Veronica Ferry (LEARN Alumna 2016-2017)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Mason Shaw
Ichtaca Cihuapilli

Dr. Andrew Penland

Department

Mathematics & Computer Science

Research Interests

Dr. Penland’s research focuses on graph theory, number theory and discrete structures. At WCU, Dr. Penland teaches Calculus, Algebra, and some computer programming courses. Dr. Penland also has experience is computer security and cryptography. One of Dr. Penland’s main research focus is on Cellular Automata.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Jonathan Mashburn (LEARN Alumnus 2017-2018; LEARN Peer Mentor)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

David Walsh

Brittania Bintz

Department

Forensic Science/Chemistry & Physics

Research Interests

Britt Bintz has lead in the execution of experiments regarding next generation sequencing. She works with the sequencing of human DNA and works with other organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Lab.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Chelsea Jones (LEARN Alumna 2016-2017)
Madison Klein

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Drew Yoos

Dr. Yanjun Yan

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Signal and Image Processing; Prognostics and Health Management of Wind Turbine Systems; Face Recognition; Estimation, Filtering and Tracking; Particle Swarm Optimization; Wireless Communications.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Yanjun Yan, please visit her personal page at http://paws.wcu.edu/yyan/.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Jesse Sarver (LEARN Alumnus 2017-2018)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Mariah Dunn

Dr. Bora Karayaka

Department

Engineering

Research Interests

Dr. Karayaka's main research interest is in renewable energy, primarily ocean wave energy. Currently his research focus is in the development of a Slider-Crank generator and coding to predict waves, so as to produce the most efficient amount of energy from wave energy.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Rakib Hasan Khan

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Matthew Weathersby

Dr. peter bates

Department

Geosciences and Natural Resources

Research Interests

Silviculture, forest ecology, sustainable resource management

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

N/A

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Gabriella Williams

DR. CHANNA DE SILVA

Department

Chemistry & Physics

Research Interests

Dr. Silva is interested in a method of early detection of cancer using lanthanide-based chemical compounds incorporated with nanoparticles. Dr. De Silva's research is mainly in Bioinorganic chemistry; development of lanthanide-based imaging agents for early detection of cancer; computational chemistry; nanotechnology.

2018-2019 LEARN Student Researcher

Kody Burrows (2017-2018 LEARN Alumnus)
Kaitlyn Brasecker (2016-2017 LEARN Alumna)

2018-2019 LEARN Student

Thomas "Hutch" Kerns

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