News

September 2, 2009

Dorflinger Summer Research Fund Provides Internships for Students

Stephanie Fosbenner ’10, Kevin Oswalt ’10, and Alyssa Wheeler ’10 performed research at Emory, Georgia Tech, and Brown

Supported by the Dorflinger Summer Research Fund, three Lafayette students participated in research-based internships this summer. Stephanie Fosbenner ’10, Kevin Oswalt ’10, and Alyssa Wheeler ’10 benefited from the fund, endowed by Laneta Dorflinger ’75 and Mark Graham, which pays for summer internships for three students each year.

“The Dorflinger fund provides opportunities for our students to conduct research at graduate schools or in professional laboratories. It is a wonderful resource, particularly for students interested in science or health-related fields,” says Mary J.S. Roth ’83, associate provost and professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Fosbenner (Perkasie, Pa.), a neuroscience major, worked with Jay Weiss ’62, professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at Emory University School of Medicine. Their research used rats to study how stress might relate to bipolar disorder and depression. “Without support from the Dorflinger fund, I would have had to assume a part-time job to pay for my living expenses, which would have detracted from the time I could focus on my research project,” she says.

“My previous research experiences have been in a chemistry lab and in an HIV/AIDS clinic, so this was my first experience doing behavioral neuroscience research and working with live animals, which proved to be incredibly challenging for me,” Fosbenner says. “Through this experience, I learned the importance of quick thinking in the laboratory environment, and that laboratory research is truly a team endeavor, as I frequently collaborated and brainstormed with my research partner and my lab mentor.”

Oswalt (Bellbrook, Ohio), a biology major, worked on cancer research with Paul Joseph, senior research scientist at the Georgia Tech -Nanotechnology Research Center. His responsibilities included working in a cleanroom laboratory, handling silicon wafers, and using many state-of-the-art tools. Peter d’Aubermont ’73, a dermatologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta, helped arrange the internship.

“I learned a great deal more about nanotechnology and its importance, as well as being exposed to more of its applications. I also learned how to use several tools in the cleanroom that are used to fabricate microelectronic devices,” Oswalt says. “I would not have been able to take part in this internship without the help of the Dorflinger fund.”

Wheeler (Old Lyme, Conn.), a neuroscience major, researched perception in bats with James Simmons ’65 at Brown University. Wheeler and Fosbenner’s internships were also supported by Lafayette’s Alumni Research Network, which provides funds for students to conduct research in the neuroscience field with Lafayette alumni.

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