Student Undergraduate Research Experience

The SURE Program was originally developed by the ISU Chemistry Department as a program to involve undergraduate students in ongoing research projects, but has since spread to several other departments (including the Department of Earth and Environmental Systems). The experience is meant to expose undergraduate students to real science research to better prepare them for a future career in their field of interest. The SURE Program provides students with a summer scholarship (typically $1750 or $3500, based upon time commitment) and are given direction on projects by an ISU faculty member. Students participating from our laboratory usually are exposed to a mix of lab, microscope, and field work involving lakes and lake sediments using diatoms as indicators of environment in either modern or paleontological settings.

SURE 2016

In the summer of 2016, we had 4 undergraduate student researchers that participated in summer research in the laboratory. This group included 2 students with full scholarships and 2 with a half scholarship. The students invovled were a mix of students from the Biology, Science Education, and EES programs. Active students working in the SURE program included Emily Brana, Courtney Natt, Ellie Gaskill, and Kush Patel. Additionaly we had a few students that contributed to student research and field work, but were not officially enrolled in the SURE program, including Steven Onken and Helena Bierly.

Courtney and Kush worked on the nutrient analysis of Otter Creek and the potential impacts of agricultural pollution on water quality. Ellie spend most of the summer working on charcoal analysis, reconstructing the fire history from lake sediments collected from the Beartooth Mountains. Emily did some preliminary diatom analysis on the diatoms from Devil's Lake, Wisconsin.

  • [] Brana E, Stone JR, 2016, What the Diatom? Diatom Analysis of Devilís Lake, ISU SURE 2016 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Natt CM, Patel KK, Onken S, Andrews T, Stone JR, 2016, Tracking the Creek: Seasonal Nitrate and Ammonium Fluxes in Otter Creek, Indiana, ISU SURE 2016 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Gaskill EL, Brown SR, Stone JR, 2016, Fire on the Mountainside: Lily Lake Charcoal, ISU SURE 2016 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • SURE 2015

    In the summer of 2015, we had six undergraduate student researchers that participated in summer research in the laboratory. This group included five students with full scholarships and one with a half scholarship. The students invovled were a mix of students from the Biology and EES programs, including three students that were actively involved in research in the ISU Paleolimnology lab during the regular semester. Students that were involved include Bethany Kile, Erika Smith, Erica Memmer, Courtney Natt, Ellie Gaskill, and Ben Cvengros. Erica Memmer was our first returning student involved in the SURE program.

    Erica, Ben, Courtney, and Ellie were all engaged in the Wabash River Valley modern calibration data collection. This involved going into the field to collect sediment and water samples from a number of sites around Terre Haute. Their research continued the work that was started in the previous summer by Erica Memmer. Erica Memmer primarily engaged in analysis of sediment and water samples from these sites.

    Bethany Kile and Erika Smith did research on reconstruct the long-term impacts of acid mine drainage on a few different sites around Indiana. These projects involved analysis of diatoms from the sediment records and these were compared with additional data collected regarding phosphorus burial at the site. Bethany worked on both the diatom and geochemical aspects, because she currently does research in both the Paleolimnolog Lab and Dr. Latimer's Biogeochemistry Lab. All of the students presented posters on their research at the SURE Symposium (at the end of the program) and the ISU Exposium event in the fall 2015 semester. Bethany and Erika's research both led to additional presentations at the North-Central Geological Society of America, International Limnogeology Congress, the annual national meeting for the Geological Society of America, and the American Geophysical Union annual meeting

  • [] Memmer ED, Stone JR, 2015, Wabash Valley Calibration Data Set and Monitoring of Wabash River, ISU SURE 2015 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Smith EL, McLennan DA, Stone JR, and Latimer JC, 2015, Diatom Analysis of Reclaimed Scott Lake-Green Valley, ISU SURE 2015 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Kile BL, Shepard SK, Stone JR, Latimer JC, 2015, Paleolimnological Investigation of the reclaimation of Arm Pit and Ashby Lake, ISU SURE 2015 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Natt CM, Gaskill EL, Cvengros BA, Stone JR, Wabash Valley Diatom Lake Calibration Project: Field Experiences and Results, ISU SURE 2015 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • SURE 2014

    In the summer of 2014, we had four undergraduate student researchers that participated, which included Casey Boose, Alan McCune, Erica Memmer, and Shana Shepard. Alan and Shana were previously undergraduate students gaining research experience in the ISU Paleolimnology Laboratory, while Casey and Erica were relatively new to the lab group. Erica was our first non-EES student for the SURE program (she's a pre-Med Biology major).

    Shana worked with our MS student Jase Hixson on the Chain O'Lakes research project. Her work included helping Jase with his own research and developing the phosphorus record for one of Jase's 9 research lakes (Long Lake). Shana also regularly assisted with field work for Erica Memmer's research project (along with Casey Boose), which was to collect modern diatom samples and water chemistry from urban and rural lakes in the Wabash River Valley. Erica also collected weekly water chemistry and diatom samples from the Wabash River. Erica's research is the first stage in creating a diatom calibration dataset for the Wabash Valley to help provide context for changes we observe in sediment cores from lakes in the region. Alan's research project involved analyzing fossil diatoms from Island Lake, Wyoming. This core was collected last summer as part of an exploratory research project to reconstruct the stratification history of the lake and contributes to Sabrina Brown's graduate research in the area as well as some sediment and phosphorus geochemistry work by fellow SURE student participants from Jennifer Latimer's lab (Tina Williams and David McLellan). Casey's research included processing and initial analysis of the St. Mary of the Woods Pond core, which was collected as part of some field work in the SURE 2013 summer.

  • [] Memmer, ED, Stone, JR, 2014, Wabash Valley calibration of water chemistry to diatoms, ISU SURE 2014 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] McCune, A, Brown, SR, Stone, JR, 2014, Diatom-inferred stratification patterns of Island Lake, ISU SURE 2014 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • [] Shepard, SK, Stone, JR, Hixson, JL 2014, The sedimentary phosphorus history of Long Lake, ISU SURE 2014 Summer Symposium, Poster Presentation
  • SURE 2013

    2013 was the first year that our lab participated in the SURE program. We had three undergraduate student researchers that participated, which included Cory Portwood, Kenneth Cleghorn, and Jared Foster. All three students had limited prior research experience in the ISU Paleolimnology Laboratory.

    Our students worked together on research projects with students from Dr. Jennifer Latimer (ISU Biogeochemistry Lab) to collect cores from a set of urban ponds around Terre Haute, including International Paper Holding Pond, Maple Avenue Park Pond, and Dobbs Park Pond. Student projects included field and laboratory work to prepare samples for diatom analysis, and then proceeded to analyze diatom slides on the microscope. The results from all three of these projects eventually led to publications in the form of posters and talks at national science meetings, including the North American Diatom Symposium, annual meeting for the Geological Society of America, and NCUR.

  • [] Cleghorn KR, Stone JR, 2013, A paleolimnological study of Maple Avenue Nature Park’s pond, Indiana, North American Diatom Symposium, Bar Harbor (ME), Poster Presentation.
  • [] Foster JA, Stone JR, 2013, Eutrophication history of Dobbs Park Pond, Indiana, North American Diatom Symposium, Bar Harbor (ME), Poster Presentation.
  • [] Portwood CA, Hardin KJ, Stone JR, Latimer JC, 2013, Diatom assemblages and geochemical analysis of International Paper holding pond in Terre Haute, Indiana, North American Diatom Symposium, Bar Harbor (ME), Poster Presentation.
  • [] Portwood CA, Hardin KJ, Stone JR, Latimer JC, 2013, Diatom assemblages and geochemical analysis of Terre Haute, Indiana’s historic industrial park, Geol. Soc. Amer. Ann. Mtg. (Denver), Oral Presentation.
  • Portwood CA, Hardin KJ, Piranio K, Latimer, JC, 2014, Revisiting Maple Avenue Nature Park brownfield remediation site using geochemistry, NCUR (University of Kentucky), Poster Presentation.
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