54 students awarded Erickson Discovery Grants from Undergraduate Education

June 16, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Erickson Discovery Grants were awarded to 54 undergraduate Penn State students to cover costs related to undergraduate research.

The Erickson Grant program is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education and helps cover the costs of research such as supplies, materials, books, software and travel for the purposes of data collection. The grant can be used for all facets of scholarship and the creative process, including conceptualization, proposal writing, identification and implementation of methods and communication of results. All projects are conducted under the supervision of faculty. While the project should be primarily the student’s own work, it can be a part of a larger faculty member’s research.

The program is named in honor of Rodney A. Erickson, the 17th president of Penn State.

This year’s Erickson Grant recipients come from many colleges and campuses across Penn State:

  • Austin Albright, “Impact of Honor Concerns on Emotional Suppression and Mental Health,” business management/marketing, Penn State York
  • Sophie Anderlind, “The Investigation of Cortisol’s Effects of Iron Transport Proteins in Placental Cells,” biology, Penn State Behrend
  • Shravan Asthana, “Investigating the Role of RBM8a in Synapse Formation — A Glial Lens,” biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Brittany Bacorn, “Does Social Media Usage Effect Symptomatology for Those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder during the COVID-19 Pandemic?” psychology, Penn State Beaver
  • Harshraj Bandyopadhyay, “Study of localized cooling of Photomultiplier Tubes using Thermoelectric Cooling devices,” physics, Eberly College of Science
  • Taylor Berek, “Investigation of the Subpopulation Change of Protein DDLB Caused by Synonymous Mutations via Cryo-EM,” biomedical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Mihir Bhatnagar, “Exomoon Habitability around M-Dwarfs using Retrograde Orbits,” mechanical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Rachel Blansfield, “The Association Between Adult Attachment Style and the Therapeutic Alliance: A Meta-Analytic Study,” psychology, College of the Liberal Arts
  • Abriana  Cain, “The Effect of Physical Activity and Energy Restriction on Tumor Hypoxia and Blood Vessel Normalization in the 4T1.2 Murine Breast Cancer Model,” nutritional sciences, College of Health and Human Development
  • Mitchell  Corsi, “Stormwater Treatment Using Biochar in Extreme Climate Events,” environmental systems engineering, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Alyssa Curry, Impacts of Spring Brood Manipulation on Varroa Mite Populations in Honey Bee Colonies,” environmental resource management, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Sydney Danso, “Frequency of giant pulse detection from the crab nebula pulsar,” biochemistry, Penn State Abington
  • Eilene B. Deng, “Identification of Regions of DSIF Involved in NELF Recruitment,” biochemistry and molecular biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Molly Ehrig, “Effect of Signaling Molecules on Strain Diversity of the Euprymna-Vibrio Symbiosis,” biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Gregory Ellsworth, “Rockfall Monitoring in PA,” surveying engineering, Penn State Wilkes-Barre
  • Geneva Flarend, “Examining the Effects of Stress on Opioid Use Behaviors,” biochemistry and molecular biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Anna Foltz, “Gene Trapping in Drosophila melanogaster,” biochemistry and molecular biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Kaylee Foor, “Disparities by Race and Ethnicity in Anxiety and Depressive symptoms and the role of Stressors related to Education,” psychology, College of the Liberal Arts
  • Quentin Hales, “Numerical Solutions to the Forced Soliton Equation,” physics, Penn State Fayette
  • Jack Ibinson, “The Role of IRE1a and p53 in UVB Sensitivity of Human Keratinocytes,” immunology and infectious disease, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Abbey Kollar, “Investigating Nutrient and Chemical Recovery from Recycled Aqueous Phase of Hydrothermal Liquefaction,” chemical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Mengde Liu, “Stochastic Simulations of Resistance to Targeted Therapies in Cancer Suggest a Tradeoff Between Evolutionary Trajectories,” biomedical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Sindy Liu, “Impact of pH on Phase-Separated Droplets as RNA Compartments,” chemistry, Eberly College of Science
  • Nicole Lookfong, “Endocannabinoid Pharmacology of PTSD,” genetics and developmental biology, Penn State Harrisburg
  • Tara Lyons, “Theoretical Studies of Metallic Clusters on Nanographene for Future Materials,” forensic science,  Penn State Fayette
  • Katherine McRury, “Living with Nature: An Ethical Model for Coexistence-based Architecture,” architecture, College of Arts and Architecture
  • Abigail Melendez, “Understanding Lepidopteran (Butterflies and Moths) Biodiversity on the Penn State Behrend Campus by Collection and Identification Utilizing DNA Barcoding Technology,” biology, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
  • Jacob Moyer, “Somatostatin Neuropeptide, A Potential Therapeutic for Binge Drinking Behavior and Anxiety,” biochemistry and molecular biology, Eberly College of Science
  • Lauren Onweller, “Identifying Cancer Biomarkers and Developing Targeted CAR T Cell Therapy to Treat Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia,” biomedical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Aayushi Patel; “Exploring the antimicrobial potential of cannabinoids derived from Cannabis sativa (industrial hemp);” biology, genetics and development; Penn State Harrisburg
  • Vanessa Peduzzi, “Treatment of Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in Mice Through Administration of Δ12-prostaglandin-J2 Floating Matrix Tablets,” immunology and infectious disease, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Hannah Perrelli, “Weaponizing Water: How Colonial Policy Has Exacerbated the Disproportionate Devastation of COVID 19 in the Navajo Nation,” geography, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Jack Piazza, “Investigating the Relationship Between Algorithmic Randomness and Uniform Distribution Modulo One,” mathematics, Eberly College of Science
  • Chloe Roberts, “Evaluating Ixodes scapularis burdens on Sylvilagus floridanus in suburban central Pennsylvania,” veterinary and biomedical sciences, College of Agricultural Sciences
  • Kelsey Ruhlman, “Expression and function of SETDB1 in the ovaries of the common house spider, Parasteatoda tepidariorum,” genetics and developmental biology, Penn State York
  • Tanner Sherry, “Impedance-Based Method for Monitoring Extracellular Space Dynamics During Spreading Depolarization,” engineering science, College of Engineering
  • G. Michael Shott Jr., “Beats, Rhymes and Life: An Autoethnography,” communication arts and sciences, Penn State Berks
  • Jordan Sigler, “Coming Face-to-Face with Depression: The Impact of Depression Severity on Emotion Perception,” psychology, College of the Liberal Arts
  • Maria Smereka, “Optimizing the AggTag Fluorogenic Detection Method with SNAP- and Sortase-tags,” neurobiology, Eberly College of Science
  • Emily Snow, “Effects of Nanofiber Orientation on Cell Morphology and Early Osteoinductive Regulation for Human Mesenchymal Stem Cell Differentiation,” biomedical engineering, College of Engineering
  • Elizabeth Soucy, “The Effect of Cortisol in Human Lactation and Milk Composition,” nutritional sciences, College of Health and Human Development
  • Edward Joseph Spagnuolo, “The Only Known Fossil Floras of Paleogene Pakistan: Unraveling the India-Asia Collision Through Paleobotany,” geobiology, College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • Zachary Stein, “Implementing Kinetic Movement Into Ceramic Art,” bachelor of fine arts focused in ceramics, College of Arts and Architecture
  • Jacquelyn Stochel, “Collecting Concreteness Rating Data in Older Adults,” communication sciences and disorders, College of Health and Human Development
  • Rebecca Stroschein, “Evaluation of an Online Training to Support Interaction Between Individuals using Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and Healthcare Professionals,” communication sciences and disorders, College of Health and Human Development
  • David Taglieri, “Urban Street Networks: Roundabouts vs. Traditional Intersections,” civil engineering, College of Engineering
  • Olivia Tancredi, “Investigating the Effects of Nanoparticle Surface Chemistry on Charge Transfer and Photocatalytic Reactivity ,” chemistry, Eberly College of Science
  • Matthew Venable, “Development of Novel Citrate Polymer based In Situ Injectable Orthopedic Composites,” engineering science, College of Engineering
  • Natalie Walter, “The Architecture of Decay,” architecture, College of Arts and Architecture
  • Zhijie Wang, “Effect of Hofmeister Ions on Optical Properties of Rhodamine 6G,” chemistry, Eberly College of Science
  • Lauren Willett, “Interpreting Young Stellar Object Accretion Signatures from the VIRUS Spectrograph,” astronomy and astrophysics, Eberly College of Science
  • Tanner Wolf, “Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization of Sterically-Hindered Cyclophanes,” chemistry, Eberly College of Science
  • Alexander Wu, “A Comparative Analysis of Mozart’s ‘Prussian’ Quartets and Beethoven’s Op. 5 Cello Sonatas,” music performance, College of Arts and Architecture
  • Grant Zemanek, “Can Habitat Management Help Non-Target Species?” biology, Eberly College of Science

Applying for an Erickson Discovery Grant

Details on the Erickson Discovery Grant can be found at the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring website. Applications typically open in October and close in February. Grant awardees are notified late in the spring semester.

The Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education is the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at undergrad.psu.edu.

Last Updated July 06, 2021