Student Research

Science Research Honors

This two-term laboratory science course provides the opportunity to plan and execute a self-directed scientific research project to fulfill requirements for graduating with Honors in Science. Research projects that qualify for local, state, national, or international competitions will be submitted. It is anticipated that as a student proceeds through and reflects upon the research phase of this course, the student will increase his/her appreciation for science and develop a working awareness of the interrelationship of science, technology, and society.

As part of the Science Research Honors course, The Brian M. Barefoot Endowed Program for Entrepreneurial Studies will support teams of students pursuing more modern, long-term investigations, including solar cells, nanotechnology, biotechnology, and fuel cells. Their experiences will be similar to those of researchers in universities, professional laboratories, and high-tech startup companies.

Prerequisites: Each student should have completed or be in the process of completing the three core science courses (Physics, Chemistry, Biology). Waiver of this requirement will be on a student-by-student basis. 


Student Research Facilities

Culver Academies offers research students with cutting-edge facilities and equipment. Students do most of their research in the 1800-square-foot designated research room with an attached woodshop. They also have access to an advanced chemistry laboratory, seismograph, and computer controlled telescope with a CCD camera.

Students have access to a variety of cutting-edge equipment, including Vernier and PASCO computer-interfaced measuring tools, incubators, sterilizers, fume hoods, high precision balances, and a growth chamber.


Current Student Research

2014-2015 Science Honors Seminar student projects:

Dante Badalich: Determining ethanol potential of algae species through growth

Colin Dean: Hot water and alkaline pretreatment of cellulosic biomass

Lauren Engelbrecht: Comparing the efficiency of ethanol production of various strains of yeast through fermentation

Freda Hu: Comparing mushroom cellulase efficiency

Chris Neu: Cellulolytic enzymes in e. Coli bacteria

Michael Noronha: Comparing efficiency of various acid preparations for hydrolysis of cellulosic biomass

Roberto Salinas: Measurement of cellulose in sugarcane bagasse after alkaline pretreatment

Ricardo Segovia: Growing algae for ethanol fuel

Aaron Weitgenant: Comparing the viability of algal ethanol production between the CC-125 and CC-4425 strains of c. Reinhardtii

Johnny Young: Ethanol production by yeast and lactobaccili through fermentation

2015-2016 Science Honors Seminar student projects

Gabrielle Ménard: Congo Red as an assay to measure levels of cellulose

Sierra Salerni: Measuring the efficiency of ethanol production of various strains of yeast using Saccrafacation over varying periods of time and with various temperatures

Hsin-Fu Shen: Testing for the expression of two cellulase genes in mushroom species

Kary Stevick: The effects of nutrient deprivation on cellulose production in saltwater and freshwater macro algae

Yindong Sun: A novel method for the determination of forage cellulose content

Anne Marie Wright: Ethanol production by clostridium thermocellum on various cellulose substrates

Phil Yang: Investigation of the feasibility of direct recycling of formic acid in cellulosic biomass pretreatment


Research Advisors

Dr. Mark Prochaska

Dr. Chris Carrillo

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