While most of West Virginia University is on summer break, a small group of students is working in labs in every corner of campus, participating in important research and getting a head start on building their careers. These students have spent approximately two months in a variety of annual programs researching and collecting data before presenting their results.

Listen as six students discuss the value of their early research experience at WVU and as WVU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Michele Wheatly and visiting lecturer Gera Jochum discuss the importance of research.


Benjamin Bearce

  • West Virginia University senior
  • Electrical engineering
  • Houston, Texas
  • WVNano Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
  • Bearce is characterizing LEDs to measure efficiency in lighting.

Loren Bane

  • West Virginia University junior
  • Applied and environmental microbiology
  • Morgantown, W.Va.
  • WVU Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
  • Bane is looking for ways to waste less of a fish's protein during processing and prevent the bacteria Listeria from living in processed fish.

Dominic Gutierrez

  • University of California at Davis junior
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Sacramento, Calif.
  • WVNano Research Experience for Undergraduates
  • Gutierrez is working to create high-quality LEDs that will act as sensors and detect viruses or bacteria.

Michele Wheatly

  • West Virginia University Provost
  • Wheatly is the keynote speaker at the Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Jordan Beckett

  • West Virginia Wesleyan College senior
  • Biology
  • Palestine, W.Va.
  • West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence
  • Beckett is researching the relationship between depression and heart disease.

John Hunter

  • West Virginia University junior
  • Chemistry
  • Beckley W.Va.
  • WVU Honors Summer Undergraduate Research Experience
  • Hunter is searching for a chemical compound to create a carbon nanotube for delivering treatments to patients or removing something harmful from a patient.

Katlyn Amos

  • Concord University senior
  • Biology
  • Loudoun County, Va.
  • WVU Department of Biology Research Experience for Undergraduates
  • Amos is testing leaf material from rivers to measure how acid and alkaline runoff from mines affect life in streams.

Gera Jochum

  • West Virginia University alumna
  • Policy Analyst, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology
  • Jochum visits her alma mater to talk to students in summer undergraduate research programs.

The 81 students in WVU’s undergraduate research programs will be presenting their work Thursday (July 29) at the Creative Arts Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

These students researched as part of four programs: the WVU Honors College Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, the WVNano Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), the WVNano SURE/ International Research Experience for Students, and WVU’s Department of Biology REU.

The West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence supports 36 students at smaller colleges and universities in West Virginia to research during the summer at either WVU or Marshall University. These students will be presenting their research at a symposium at WVU’s Health Sciences Center also on Thursday (July 29).

Presentations by researchers and interns will begin at 9 a.m. at the Fukushima Auditorium at the WVU Health Sciences Center with poster presentations to begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Erickson Alumni Center.

By Scott Lituchy
Joey Machak and
Diana Mazzella
WVU News and Information



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