Honor Thesis Students Present Research at NSM Poster Session

Wesleyan’s Natural Science and Mathematics hosted a “Celebration of Science Theses” April 16 in Exley Science Center’s lobby. BA and MA honors thesis students presented their research to peers and the community.

President Michael S. Roth listens to Wei Dai ’11 explain his research on “Effect of Valency on the Dynamics and Thermodynamics of DNA-linked Nanoparticles Materials.” Dai’s advisor is Francis Starr, associate professor of physics. Wei has conducted extensive computer simulations to show nanoparticles can be linked together using DNA as 'bridges'. The resulting nanostructured materials have unusual properties that may be applicable to energy storage, drug delivery, optical materials and nanoscale devices. Dai also has published a peer-review journal article titled “Valency Dependence of Polymorphism and Polyamorphism in DNA-Functionalized Nanoparticles.” (Photo by Roslyn N. Carrier-Brault)

David Boznick, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, congratulates the BA and MA honors thesis students on their achievements.

Physics graduate student June Hyun Kang presented his research on “Dissociation Autoionization and Fragmentation Pathways in Sodium Dimer Molecules. Kang's advisor is Lutz Hüwel, professor of physics.

Mei Chai Zheng ’10 presented her research on “PT Optical Lattices and Universality in Beam Dynamics.” Her advisor is Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics.

Computer science major Juan Pablo Mendoza ’10 presented “A Dynamic Tangent Approach to Wall Representation in Dynamical Systems Navigation.” He worked with his advisor, Eric Aaron, assistant professor of computer science, to design an intelligent autonomous entity that navigates safely and efficiently in unpredictable environments.

Computer science major Foster Nichols ’10 presented his poster titled “Constructing Precise Maps for Navigating Agents Using Extracted Line Segments.” His advisor is Eric Aaron.

Colleen Carpenter ‘10 spoke about her research titled “Characterizing the Lipopolysaccharide of V. Cholerae to Develop Novel Drug Treatments.” Her advisor is Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry.

Karlen Shahinyan ’10 spoke on “The Search for Intermediate Mass Black Holes.” His advisor is Ed Moran, chair and associate professor of astronomy and director of the Van Vleck Observatory.

Psychology major Rebecca Loomis ’10 presented her posted titled “The Influence of Sentence Context on Reading Times for Abstract and Concrete Words.” Loomis’s project examined how sentence context affects recognition of concrete words (chair) compared to abstract words (love). Her advisor is Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of neuroscience and behavior, assistant professor of psychology.

Psychology major Kacey Wochna ’10 spoke about her research titled “The Puliguous Effects of Context length on Incidental Word Learning.” Wochna’s work examined how readers construct meaning for unknown words in sentences and in paragraphs. Wochna’s advisor is Barbara Juhasz. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett Drake)