FINS

Fellowship in the Natural Sciences (FINS)

FINSLearning about science in a classroom can never match the excitement and fun of working in a lab or in the field.  Formulating a question, engaging fully with your work, reading what other scientists have to say about your subject, experiencing the thrill of learning something new about the universe, something no one else in the world has ever learned — these are the kinds of things students experience in a lab, especially a research lab, which they can never experience in a classroom.  The Department of Natural Sciences began the FINS (Fellowship in the Natural Sciences) program in 2002 with the goal of providing opportunities for our students to fully engage in the scientific endeavor in the same manner as professional scientists.

FINS students choose a project in collaboration with a faculty mentor and submit an application to the program.  Application is competitive, and students who are chosen receive a $3,000 stipend for the summer.  In exchange, they agree to spend 10 weeks working on their research project, and to give a public seminar describing their project.  We also encourage them to present their results at regional scientific meetings and at undergraduate research conferences.  The students who participate learn skills, but more importantly they begin to see the beauty and power of science.

 

2011 Summer Research Projects

Savanna Parsons
Faculty Mentor Robin Cook Hill
Gross morphological effects of sodium arsenite on zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

Jessica Shartouny
Faculty Mentor David Chambers
Are Immunological Markers Reliable Reflectors of Physiological Stress in Vertebrates?

Brooke Lawson
Faculty Mentor Margie Tucker
An Attempt to Isolate Calmodulin from Euglena Gracilis

Jesse Miles
Faculty Mentor David Chambers
Hydraulic Fracturing Sites and Their Impact on Amphibian Growth, Development, and Disease Susceptibility

Rollo Samuel
Faculty Mentor Kevin Jones
Molecular Identification of a Plant Putatively Described as Nepeta transcaucasica

 

2010 Summer Research Projects

Spencer Adams Jr.
MAL-ED Project in Limpopo: Correlation between Water Quality, Enteropathogens, and Cognitive and Physical Development in Children

Rachel Belcher
Breast Cancer in Appalachia

Kaitlyn Collins
Environmental Science
Karst Hydrogeology Research in the Unthanks Cave Watershed
Faculty Mentor Bob Van Gundy 

Bryant Counts
Faculty Mentor Bob Van Gundy
A Two Part Study: A Two Year Base Line Study of Water and Sediments from the Clinch River, and Correlation of Sediment Load vs. Discharge in the Clinch River 

Sarah Davidson
Faculty Mentor David Chambers
Occurrence of the fungal pathogen, Batrachytrium dendrobatidis, in amphibians of Wise Co. VA USA

Leanna Robbins
Faculty Mentor Kevin Jones
Myxomyceticolous fungi

Chris Stamper
Faculty Mentor Robin Woodard
Potential interactions Between Proteins of the DNA-PK and Fanconi DNA Repair Pathways

 

2009 Summer Research Projects

Jessica Weaver
A survey of Local Nematode Populations
Faculty Mentor Robin Cook Hill

Christopher Stamper
Potential Interactions Between Proteins of the Fanconi and DNA-PK DNA Repair
Faculty Mentor Robin Woodard

Bryant Counts
Characterization of sediments in the Clinch River in the Vicinity of St. Paul, Virgina
Faculty Mentor Robert Van Gundy

Brandon Hale
Analyzing Hydrated Phosphates
Faculty Mentor Van Daniel

Spencer Adams
Diabetes in Southwest Virginia

Rachel Belcher
Water and Health in Limpopo

 

2008 Summer Research Projects

Kevin Fowler
“Zebrafish Embryo Freeze Cracking”
Faculty Mentor – Stanley Kunigelis

Nathan Jones
“Nickel Toxicity in the African Clawed Frog, Xenopus Laevis”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jansen

Anthony Kilgore
“Seed Fates at Different Heights of a Tropical Forest”
Faculty Mentor – Thomas Lambert

Crisina Vanover
“Developing Interactive Problems in Physics Through Visual Programming”
Faculty Mentor – Lucian Undreiu

Jessica Weaver
“Cultivated Herbs and Maintenance of Fungal Diversity”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jones

 

2007 Summer Research Projects

Christopher Davenport
“Use of Differential Display to Measure Stress in Amphibians Inhabiting Reclaimed Surface Mine Lands”
Faculty Mentor – Robin Woodard

Henning Kuich
“Interaction Between FancC and Ku80 Buring DNA Repair”
Faculty Mentor – Robin Woodard

Amanda Meade
“Bioaccumulation of Acid Mine Drainage Metals in Invertebrate Populations of the UVa-Wise Wetlands”
Faculty Mentors – Kevin Jansen, Brian Knettle

Shadrack Nthusi
“Improving Introductory Physics: Developing Interactive Problems Through Visual Programming”
Faculty Mentor – Lucian Undreiu

Amanda Wheeler Sims
“Genetic Variation in Populations of the Myxomycete, Lycogala Epidendrum”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jones

Amanda Smith
“Heavy Metal Sources, Mobilization, and Concentration in Natural and Constructed Wetlands”
Faculty Mentor – Aaron Johnson

Amber Ward
“Zooplankton Diversity in a Gulf Coast Estuary”
Faculty Mentor – Stanley Kunigelis

Janet Yates

“Heavy Metals in Stream Sediments: Assessing Urban and Industrial Impactson the Holston River”
Aaron Johnson

 

2006 Summer Research Projects

Christopher Davenport
“Stress-level Determination Using Microarrary Analysis of Northern Green Frog Populations on Reclaimed Mine Areas”
Faculty Mentors – Kevin Jansen, Robin Woodard

Henning Kuich
“DNA Repair Pathways”
Faculty Mentor – Robin Woodard

Donovan Mabe
“Stress-level Determination Using Microarrary Analysis of Northern Green Frog Populations on Reclaimed Mine Areas”
Faculty Mentors – Kevin Jansen, Robin Woodard

T.J. Neece
“Isolation and Characterization of Root Endophytes from Herbaceous Plants in the Appalachian Forest”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jones

 

2005 Summer Research Projects

Josh Belcher
“Heavy Metal Concentrations in the UVa-Wise Wetlands”
Faculty Mentors – Aaron Johnson, Brian Knettle

Curtis Fultz
“Comparison of DNA Repair Pathways”
Faculty Mentor – Robin Woodard

Brendan Hunt
“Stress-level Determination Using Microarrary Analysis of Northern Green Frog Populations on Reclaimed Mine Areas”
Faculty Mentors – Kevin Jansen, Robin Woodard

Matthew Pickering
“Construction of a Genomic DNA Library Highly Enriched for Microsatellite Repeat Sequences in Pseudacris Crucifer”
Faculty Mentors – Kevin Jansen, Kevin Jones

 

2004 Summer Research Projects

Josh Belcher
“Phylogenetic Relationships Among Betula Species with Emphasis on Betula Uber”
Faculty Mentor – Margie Tucker

Curtis Fultz
“Ku and FA DNA Repair Pathways”
Faculty Mentor – Robin Woodard

D. Rabern Simmons
“Host Specificity in Moldy Myxomycetes”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jones

 

2003 Summer Research Projects

Catherine Hurley
“Patterns of Speciation in Sempervivum”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jones

Matthew Pickering
“A Regional Phylogeography of the Spring Peeper Pseudacris Crucifer”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jansen

 

2002 Summer Research Projects

Amanda Wood
“A Survey of Herpetofauna at the Powell River Project, a Reclaimed Surface Mine”
Faculty Mentor – Kevin Jansen

Savanna Parsons
Faculty Mentor Robin Cook Hill
Gross morphological effects of sodium arsenite on zebrafish (Danio rerio) embryos

Jessica Shartouny
Faculty Mentor David Chambers
Are Immunological Markers Reliable Reflectors of Physiological Stress in Vertebrates?
FINS symposium

Brooke Lawson
Faculty Mentor Margie Tucker
An Attempt to Isolate Calmodulin from Euglena Gracilis
FINS symposium

Jesse Miles
Faculty Mentor David Chambers
Hydraulic Fracturing Sites and Their Impact on Amphibian Growth, Development, and Disease Susceptibility
FINS symposium

Rollo Samuel
Faculty Mentor Kevin Jones
Molecular Identification of a Plant Putatively Described as Nepeta transcaucasica