2018 Chlapaty Fellows to Conduct Research Over the Summer

May 3, 2018 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – Fifteen University of Dubuque students will spend their summer researching topics ranging from trap baiting impacts on trap success for freshwater turtles to potential toxins in bath bombs as part of the Joseph and Linda Chlapaty Summer Fellowship.

In its seventh year, the competitive fellowship program helps prepare talented undergraduate students across all disciplines for graduate or professional school.

“The Chlapaty Summer Fellowship program has been a fantastic opportunity and game-changer in our students’ ability to gain admission to and successfully navigate graduate and professional schools and beyond. It has transformed their hopes and dreams into tangible realities,” said Adam Hoffman, PhD, director of the Chlapaty Summer Fellowship program and associate professor of environmental chemistry at UD.

Students, who were selected based on faculty review of their research proposals, will commit to 40 hours a week for 10 weeks this summer to complete their projects. Awardees will receive a stipend of $4,500 and an additional $500 for research supplies or travel costs associated with the project.

“The Chlapaty Summer Fellowship program creates a significant opportunity for talented undergraduate students to conduct scholarly research with a faculty scholar-mentor, to prepare for graduate entrance exams, and to build a network of professional contacts,” said UD President Jeffrey F. Bullock. “We are grateful to Joe and Linda Chlapaty for their investment in these undergraduate students.”

The following students were named Chlapaty Fellows for 2018:

Batonisashvilli Konstantine - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Konstantine Batonisashvili
, a senior computer information technology/mathematics major from Tbilisi, Georgia

Project: Examining and Analyzing the Ability of a Computer to Learn and Improve its Code

Advisor: Teresa Nickeson, chair and associate professor of the Department of Computer Studies and Mathematics

Quotable: “For me to be named a Chlapaty Fellow means that there is so much more to accomplish here at UD. The fact that less than 1 percent of UD students get selected into the program means that there is room for me to improve and push myself harder in my studies. Finally, for me to be granted such a prestigious opportunity, it means that I can make my family proud – and family is what matters most to me. In my studies and research, I hope that my project will give people a better understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and a computer’s ability to learn through trials. My project will provide knowledge/experience about how a computer machine can learn in a simulation. I hope with the completion of my project, UD officials would consider integrating certain aspects of it into the current computer classes to expose students to the actual power that computers can have, maybe even make new classes that deal with AI in general!”

Scott Breitfelder - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Scott Breitfelder
, a junior secondary science education major from Dubuque

Project: Engaging Students in Scientific Inquiry

Advisors: Adam Hoffman, PhD, associate professor of environmental chemistry, and Ken Turner Jr., assistant professor of science education

Quotable: “I am honored to be given this opportunity to further my academic growth through firsthand research experience.  I hope to understand more about how well students learn when scientific inquiry and engineering design principles are utilized in a classroom curriculum.  I also hope to raise student understanding of the properties and applications of the modern material graphene.”

Brianna Finnegan Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Brianna Finnegan
, a sophomore biology/secondary science education major from Guttenberg, Iowa

Project: Trap Baiting Impacts on Trap Success for Freshwater Turtles in Pool 12 of the Upper Mississippi River

Advisor: David Koch, PhD, head and associate professor of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences

Quotable: “It is an honor to be named a Chlapaty Fellow. Not only does it allow me to follow my dreams of research, but it also allows me to follow my dreams of attending graduate school in the near future.  I am hoping my project will allow me to see the trap baiting impacts on trap success for freshwater turtles specifically in Pool 12 of the upper Mississippi River. I also hope my research will help future research in the area of turtles.”

Samantha Greene - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Samantha Greene
, a junior biology major from Dubuque

Project: Heritability of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Genetic Polymorphisms of Two Key Genes Involved in Energy Metabolism

Advisor: Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama, PhD, associate professor of natural and applied sciences

Quotable: “Being named a Chlapaty Fellow is a huge honor! Being a non-traditional student and out of touch with school, I felt very timid coming back into everything.  Having people believing in you and helping you reach your career goals is just amazing. I hope it will help me gain confidence not only as a scientist, but also as a person overall.  I hope that we can help find more correlation and early detection for diseases such as Type II Diabetes, which is what I'll be studying, to attain more preventative matters.”

Mackenzie Helgemoe - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Mackenzie Helgemoe
, a junior secondary science education/secondary math education major from Rubicon, Wisconsin

Project: Science Assessments for Standards Based Report Cards

Advisor: Jennifer Benson, assistant professor of education

Quotable: “It is a great honor to be named a Chlapaty Fellow. To me, it means that I am now able to make a difference in my community by helping Dubuque Community School District teachers and students with a difficult task that they are now facing. I hope that my project will give teachers the materials they need to help students relearn topics that they did not learn the first time. I hope that this also includes more students passing standards and becoming better students.”

Noah Hoskins - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Noah Hoskins
, a junior philosophy major from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Project: Films, Philosophy, and The State: Films as Philosophical Teachers and How the State Should Respond

Advisor: Adam Smith, assistant professor of political philosophy

Quotable: “For me, to be named a Chlapaty Fellow means that I am a part of the academic elite on this campus. It is an opportunity that I never imagined I would be able to take part in. Being enabled to take part in original independent research is amazing and I am very thankful to have been chosen among other worthy projects. I hope that my project will contribute to an area of philosophy that is often neglected by academics. I intend to lay a groundwork to prove that cinema is a medium that can and does convey philosophical ideas and that this can leave a mark on the people who watch it. This will offer other future philosophers a jumping off point to show their own ideas about cinema and philosophy.”

Jillian Hunt - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Jillian Hunt
, a senior English/secondary English education major from Peosta, Iowa

Project: Print vs. PDFP: Does Reading Electronically Hinder Education?

Advisor: Jonathan Barz, head and professor of the Department of Language and Literature

Quotable: “It's a huge honor! I am very excited to have the chance to work with UD professors and my fellow students this summer. This fellowship is a way for me to challenge myself and step outside my comfort zone a little. It will be a chance for me to grow, both as a person and as a student. I hope to gain some insight into how learning and comprehension are affected by the methods in which we choose to read and how this ought to be addressed in the field of education. As a future English educator, literature is something that is very important to me; I want to enter the field of education well-equipped for teaching my students to the best of my ability.”

Amanda Magana
Amanda Magana
, a senior chemistry major from Chicago, Illinois

Project: Little Things, Big Problems: Micro-plastics in Fresh Water

Advisor: Adam Hoffman, PhD, associate professor of environmental chemistry

Quotable: “Being named a Chlapaty Fellow is an amazing opportunity and a great honor. I am beyond happy to have the opportunity to grow as a person and a scientist all in one. I hope that my project helps make an impact in the community and helps start more projects that will help with the impact of micro-plastics in freshwater systems.”

Gabrielle Marchese - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Gabrielle Marchese
, a junior chemistry major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Project: Contaminants Aren’t the Bomb: A Survey of Bath Bombs for Potential Toxins

Advisor: Mark Sinton, PhD, assistant professor of natural and applied sciences

Quotable: “Being named a Chlapaty Fellow means a whole lot more than simply being given the opportunity to stay in Dubuque this summer to conduct research. It means I’ll have the opportunity and potential to find and come to great conclusions that could inform and help other people. I hope to find what contaminants are in bath bombs and come to a conclusion on how these popular items can be made safer. I hope to inform everyone who uses bath bombs on what exactly is in them.”

Stephanie Pfab - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Stephanie Pfab
, a senior biology/fine and performing arts major from Dubuque

Project: Evaluating the Efficacy of Freezing-Induced Genes of Aplectrum hyemale by Heterologous Expression

Advisor: Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama, PhD, associate professor of natural and applied sciences

Quotable: “I feel very lucky to be accepted for a Chlapaty Summer Fellowship, for I feel as though all of my hard work has finally paid off. I hope to accomplish the goal of duplicating two of the key freezing-induced genes that are isolated into an expression vector (pORE E2) to transform Arabidopsis model plant with each gene construct; this way I can challenge the A. thalina plants to freezing temperatures.”

Dasia Powell - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Dasia Powell
, a junior criminal justice major from Mount Vernon, Georgia

Project: Re-Storying Spaces: The Gender and Race of Public Transportation in Dubuque, Iowa

Advisor: Alice Oleson, associate professor of sociology

Quotable: “I am really grateful to get the opportunity to share my passions and research. It is a great accomplishment on my journey into further accomplishments in regards to my career. My project will showcase the voices of many women differing in racial identities to collaborate in creating safer, more functional, and more enjoyable Jule bus stops and routes in Dubuque.”

Jade Romagna - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Jade Romagna
, a junior criminal justice major from Dubuque

Project: The Socioeconomic vs. Racial Impact of Driving Under Suspension

Advisor: Ben Bartels, assistant professor of criminal justice

Quotable: “I see being a Chlapaty Fellow an opportunity for my next step in my education. Because of the Chlapaty research program, I will have access to various LSAT study materials and extensive research that will be essential for my admission into law school. With my project, I hope to raise awareness and educate people on the racial and socioeconomic disparities in police stops.”

Tom Scroggs - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Tom Scroggs
, a junior biology major from Marion, Iowa

Project: Ecological Factors Controlling the Lyme Disease-Causing Bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi

Advisor: Kelly Grussendorf, PhD, assistant professor of biology

Quotable: “It means a great deal to be honored with the opportunity to conduct research that I am passionate about, and I can't thank the Chlapatys enough for doing this. I hope that my research will find a link between the occurrence of Lyme disease and some ecological factor. I hope that this will increase public awareness about this disease that is rapidly spreading in our area.”

Shanena Snowden - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Shanena Snowden
, a junior human health science major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Project: Functional Movement Screening (FMS) of Athletic Populations

Advisor: Jeremy Clausen, assistant athletic trainer

Quotable: “I am extremely grateful, excited, and humbled to be selected as a Chlapaty Fellow. This fellowship will be a boundless opportunity for me to gain experience in my field of interest while propelling me in my career path of obtaining my PhD. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share this experience with the students and professors at the University of Dubuque as well as the community.”

Victor Zaki - Chlapaty Fellow 2018
Victor Zaki
, a junior biology major from Nashville, Tennessee

Project: A Molecular Dynamics Simulation and Substrate Docking Study of Mushroom Tyrosinase

Advisor: Mark Sinton, PhD, assistant professor of natural and applied sciences

Quotable: “To be named a Chlapaty Fellow means that I have obtained an opportunity to develop more advanced skills in a specialized and in-demand area that I would not have gotten otherwise by just attending college and going through the usual classes. My ultimate hope is that our project will be a major breakthrough in understanding the enzyme Tyrosinase and all of the implications that would come along with that. However, even a small discovery in this area could pave the way for major breakthroughs down the road, and it would be exciting to know that our research played even just a small part in that process.”