For most SNU students, SRI and SRE are unfamiliar and often confused acronyms.
SRI stands for Summer Research Institute and is directed by Kim Rosfeld, Ph.D., Director of the McNair Scholars Program. It is a ten-week-long program specifically designed for McNair students and provides them the opportunity to travel and present their research at various locations.
SRE, the Summer Research Experience, is open to students who have completed at least one year of study in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, physics, or any other related SNU programs. It is a six-week-long experience directed by Nicholas Zoller, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Mathematics, and sponsored by SNU and the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC). During this time, students are expected to dedicate 40 hours a week to work on their research projects as well as commit to presenting their projects in two different settings within the upcoming school year.
Both programs provide students with stipends for their participation along with many other wonderful opportunities to bond and socialize with fellow students and professors.
This summer, SRE students embarked on multiple unique projects across Oklahoma. Aydin Read, sophomore biology-physics major, investigated the waiting times for rides at Frontier City and possible solutions for making these times more efficient alongside his faculty mentor Nicholas Zoller, Ph.D. Zachary Woods and Daniel Rocha, Ph.D., looked into different factors that impact the abundance of certain animal species in Oklahoma. Elora Jones and Mikayla Antichevich studied the mosquito population in Central Oklahoma while Jhonathan Guerrero (SRI student) worked on DNA barcoding for different mosquito species using the CO1 gene. At the same time, I (SRI student) analyzed mutations in West Nile virus (WNV) genomes from Oklahoma and compared them to other WNV genomes across the United States, all under the leadership of Caio França, Ph.D. What a wide range of fascinating topics!
When asked about his SRE experience Aydin Read said, “Being a part of research over the summer helped show me exactly how helpful, but also fun research can be.”
In addition to the SRE projects, SRI students also focused on a large variety of topics from sexism to mass incarceration. Tristain Lewis, junior psychology major and SRI participant, states that “research has helped me learn more about my local environment–our campus. I found myself concerned about the level of belonging on campus.” Students do not have to belong to one of these programs or be a STEM major to be a researcher. It all starts with a question, curiosity, and asking why. There is a wide range of information that lies at our fingertips, either in our hands or in our back pockets.
If you are a freshman or sophomore STEM major at SNU, look into participating in the Summer Research Experience. If you are planning on attending graduate school, reach out to Kim Rosfeld, Ph.D., about qualifying for the McNair program. These programs are great opportunities to expand your knowledge in your field of interest, fulfill your academic curiosity, and get out of your comfort zone. Madisyn Parker, junior psychology major and SRI participant, encourages students to engage in research stating, “It’s hard work, but it is so rewarding at the end to see your research truly come to life. You will be so proud of yourself and of all of the work you do!” Besides the confidence boost, it also looks good on a resume/CV!
SRE Students on a field trip to the Stafford Air and Space Museum in Weatherford, Oklahoma
SNU McNair SRI Scholars attend the End of Summer Celebration and Etiquette Lunch
Featured photo by Dan Dimmock on Upsplash
Photos by Dr. Nick Zoller and Dezzarae Francis