Battelle Gift Supports Undergraduate Research in Science

Battelle group, student researchers, and faculty mentors.

For the second consecutive year, Battelle, a global nonprofit research and development organization, has made a significant investment in the undergraduate research program in the College of Science at Eastern Kentucky University (EKU).

Led by Mark Needham, site manager for Battelle at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant, representatives from the Richmond site came to EKU on April 23, 2018 to present a $20,000 check to the college. “Battelle is a research and development organization. Among our inventions are the Xerox machine, CD players, DroneDefender® Counter- UAV device, and various medical devices. We know that research has a lasting impact on society and that is why we like supporting programs like this one in the College of Science that help students develop research skills,” Needham said.

Other members of the Battelle team were Steve Downing, laboratory manager, Dr. George Lucier, deputy chief scientist, Heather Grant, chemical personnel reliability program coordinator, Dr. Lindy Dejarme, senior chemist and Dr. Glenn Hong, supercritical water oxidation engineer.

“We used last year’s gift from Battelle to provide summer undergraduate research support to three students,” said Dr. Tom Otieno, dean of the College of Science of the impact of Battelle’s previous $20,000 gift. “The impact of the gift was multiplied further as the college matched the gift by providing summer support for three additional students, which the college will repeat this year. An additional use of the money was to send 19 students, currently doing research with faculty mentors, to present the results of their research at regional and national conferences. The financial support provided by Battelle and the college, through the summer research program, helps faculty by advancing their research interests and students by allowing them the opportunity to learn to do research with guidance from their faculty mentors while being paid.”

Students participating in the summer research program who will be supported by Battelle funds this year include Gregory Hopper, a senior mathematics/statistics major (Dr. Amanda Ellis, mentor), Trevor Clemons, a senior geology major (Dr. Jonathan Malzone, mentor), and Abidell Thomas, a junior biomedical sciences major (Dr. Patrick Calie, mentor). Those to be supported by the College of Science are Tanya Cifranik, a senior biology major (Dr. David Hayes, mentor), Austin Owens, a sophomore biology major (Dr. Stephen Richter, mentor), and Love Richburg, a senior physics/mathematics double major (Dr. Thomas Jarvis, mentor).

According to Richburg, “It is challenging to conduct research during the regular semester because of the courses I am taking and the other activities. On the other hand, I need to work during the summer in order to make summer money. This program solves both problems and allows me to remain academically active while gaining research skills that will help me professionally.”

After the check presentation, the Battelle representatives got an opportunity to interact with students, faculty and staff who was in attendance. For Dr. Dejarme and Love Richburg, this was an unexpected but welcome reunion. As a 12th grader in Madison Central High School, Richburg, was a member of Science Olympiad team. As part of his outreach activities to the community, Dr. Dejarme served as a mentor to Richburg and her sister, Renee, who were both participating in the Mission Possible event in the Olympiad. They placed 3rd in the state and Richburg says that Dr. Dejarme’s encouragement contributed to their outstanding performance.

“Indeed, this is a small world,” Otieno said, “and networking that occurs when professionals and students interact is another added benefit of collaboration between Battelle and EKU.”

(Pictured in photo from left to right: Front Row: Dr. Lindy Dejarme, Mark Needham, Heather Grant, Dr. Glenn Hong, Dr. George Lucier, Steve Downing, Dr. Tom Otieno.
Back Row:  Austin Owens, Dr. Stephen Richter, Abidell Thomas, Dr. Patrick Calie, Love Richburg, Tanya Cifranik, Dr. David Hayes, Amanda Ellis, Trevor Clemons, Dr. Jonathan Malzone. Not pictured are: Dr. Thomas Jarvis, Gregory Hopper.

Published on April 27, 2018