Summer of science

Students presented their summer research at an annual expo at UWL in August.

Students showcase research conducted over the summer

While plenty of UWL students took a break from the classroom over the summer, sophomore Kaisa Crawford-Taylor dug into her studies by conducting a pair of research projects. The aspiring theoretical astrophysicist has been doing research projects since high school and knows it will help her get into graduate school.

She, along with about 45 of her peers, presented their research projects during the Summer Research Expo August 10.

One of her summer projects looked at spreading sunlight to parts of exoplanets that are usually dark. The other — more in line with her mathematics major — could help the local company Fastenal get a leg up on its competition.

Crawford-Taylor worked on optimal inventory distribution for the company. “We’re trying to put excess inventory in places that sell it so it’s not just sitting on the shelf,” she explains.

The findings were presented to local executives “and they liked it,” says Crawford-Taylor.

The research expo also showcased students in UWL’s McNair Scholars program, who are conducting research in the College of Science and Health and College of Liberal Studies.

There were also students from other universities doing research because of the opportunities UWL presents.

Matthew Naeger, a Truman State University student, was referred here by a professor who had attended a conference at UWL. “He really liked the university and thought it would be a good fit for me,” says Naeger.

Naeger came to UWL through the Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program. He worked alongside Robert Allen, mathematics associate professor, to study infectious disease models using a zombie outbreak instead of an illness.

“I didn’t anticipate doing research on zombies,” laughed Naeger. “But in all seriousness, I really enjoyed this summer.”