BHSU receives National Science Foundation grant for undergraduate research at Sanford Lab

Author: BHSU Communications/Monday, June 13, 2016/Categories: Students, Academic Affairs, Awards, College of Business and Natural Sciences, Faculty, Sanford

Black Hills State University received a grant of more than $250,000 from the National Science Foundation to support students participating in undergraduate science research at Sanford Underground Research Facility.

The funds will be used over three years to provide 21 college-level students a 10-week hands-on research experience in physics, biology and chemistry.

Dr. Brianna Mount, assistant research professor at BHSU, said student researchers will have the opportunity to engage in research related to some of the most important physics experiments of our time – searching for dark matter and investigating properties of the neutrino.

“Students will use this experience as a spring-board toward pursuing a career in science. This will help students prepare for graduate school or careers in astrophysics, microbiology and environmental chemistry,” said Mount.

Through the BHSU National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (BHSU NSF REU) program young scientists will learn about modern research methods and tools. They will become proficient in both day-to-day lab procedures and data analysis. They will also develop their abilities to communicate science through both speaking and writing.

Students supported by the grant funds will live on campus and work with BHSU faculty mentors at the BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab in Lead. Located almost a mile underground, the BHSU Underground Campus provides unique, world-class research space for scientists from institutions around the globe, enabling discovery in many disciplines.

Dr. Rod Custer, BHSU provost, said BHSU faculty will mentor students in projects throughout the summer focusing both the expertise of the BHSU faculty and the students’ own research interests.

“BHSU is taking full advantage of the new infrastructure at the BHSU Underground Campus at Sanford Lab. Over the past eight years, BHSU students and researchers have become increasingly involved in underground projects, and we continue to share that knowledge with students across the country through this work with the National Science Foundation,” said Custer. “This is a very prestigious grant and BHSU is excited about the possibilities for unique research opportunities for students from across the nation.”

In addition to their summer research projects, students will also work with BHSU faculty and staff on career mentoring including professional development sessions on selecting graduate schools and applying for jobs in scientific industries.

Students participating in the BHSU undergraduate research experience include:

·         Kingsley Vincent Chow, Diabolo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, Calif.

·         Madeline Alisa Valentin, Augustana University, Sioux Falls

·         Joseph Barnes, Benedictine College, Atchison, Kan.

·         Patrisse Vasek, Oglala Lakota College, Kyle

·         Dana Harvey, Davidson College, Davidson, N.C.

·         Pauline Dredger, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kan.

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