2012 Research Fellows
Erin Anderson - Geosciences (Environmental Geology)

My Masters graduate research focuses involves the degree of pyritization within a body of saltwater can be quantified through field and laboratory experiments. Pyritization is important, because it occurs in oxygen-depleted water column and porewaters but is also dependent on the amount of sulfide and iron available in the system. When a high degree of pyritization is measured, the environmental conditions of the body of water are not conducive to animal and plant life, which can impact local hydrological businesses.

   
Hannah Box - Organic Chemistry

My Ph.D. research is in the area of organometallics and will focus on the synthesis and isolation of α lactams. Currently I am working on a collaborative project on the synthesis of analogues of a biologically important natural product with the Emerson lab in the chemistry department. Our hope is to be able to control the selectivity of these compounds by varying the nucleophiles and metals in subsequent reactions. I am also interested in the development new rhodium catalysts and diazo compounds for the development of enantioselective carbene and nitrene transfer reactions.

   
Calista Guthrie - Geosciences (Environmental Geology)

My Masters graduate research involves the salt marsh sediment biogeochemical response to the deep water horizon BP oil spill. Growth reduction and dieback of salt marsh sea grasses has been observed in oil contaminated sediments. I am looking at what is happening in the sediments to cause dieback. I do this by comparing hydrogen sulfide and oxygen concentrations, redox potential, pH and degree of contamination.

   
Corey Ladner - Geosciences (Environmental Geology)

My Masters graduate research involves study areas of Hydrology and Environmental Geology. I am currently working with Pickering Firm, Inc. on a watershed assessment as a preliminary investigation for a suitable location of a proposed reservoir in George County, Mississippi. I am using multi-parameter water monitoring instruments, flow current meters, bluetooth current profilers, and chemical analyses to measure the amount and quality of water flowing through each watershed. This research will lead to the means to determine a scientifically probable location to construct the proposed reservoir, where it will best meet the needs of industrial water storage and public recreation.

   
Adam Lenz - Geosciences (Hydrogeology)

My Masters graduate research focuses on the geology and hydrogeology of a proposed reservoir site in George County, Mississippi. I am currently trying to get a drainage basin specific characterization of the subsurface geology of the county to determine a suitable reservoir location. Through literature review, well-log correlation, and a county wide spring inventory we hope to create more detailed geologic maps, stratigraphic cross sections to aid in the site assessment and characterization of the geologic and hydro-geologic suitability of potential reservoir sites.

   
Sean Owens - Computer Engineering

My Masters graduate focus in Computer Engineering is researching the benefits of dynamic partial reconfiguration (DPR) on FPGA’s. Dynamic partial reconfiguration enables a system to autonomously modify sections of its code, independent of the rest of the system, at any point during operation. My thesis focuses on the power, size and weight benefits of hardware DPR over other implementations such as software on general purpose signal processors for use in extreme environments.

   
Charles Vaughan - Physics & Astronomy

My Ph.D. research goal is to geometrically model the comae of comets using ground-based observations of detected radical molecules to determine the indiscernible parent molecules from which they came. The molecular composition of comets is still not precisely known. Although water is the dominant molecule in comets, other chemicals are known to be present and frozen within the comet. When exposed to direct sunlight, these other chemicals often undergo reactions and sublimate from the comet nucleus into the gaseous coma around the comet. While some of these gasses are easily observed through ground-based spectroscopy, others are much more difficult to discern due to atmospheric interference or low intensity.

   
Justin Warren - Aerospace Engineering

My Ph.D. research area in Aerospace Engineering includes hypervelocity impact dynamics and the characterization of damage caused by such events. An impact enters into the hypervelocity realm when the pressures developed during the impact process far exceed the strength of the projectile and target. These pressures are enough to liquefy or even vaporize the materials and generally involve impact velocities greater than 3km/s. I use the university's micro two-stage light gas gun, which is capable of impact velocities up to 5km/s, to simulate these impacts.

   
Kendra Wright - Geosciences (Environmental Geology)

My Ph.D. research focus includes finding safe and reliable ways to remove heavy metal contaminants from water and continuous environmental cycling. My Masters research examined Mn-oxidizing Pseudomonas bacteria and the use of biogenic Mn oxides for Hg remediation in Oak Ridge, TN. For my PhD, I hope to continue research involving remediation techniques, possibly in oil spill remediation. Additionally, my PhD will have a strong Geoscience Educational component. Geoscience Educational interests involve outdoor education and promoting educational diversity.