College of Science student researchers ascended Salt Lake City's Capitol Hill Thursday, Jan. 31 to share their efforts and discoveries with Utah legislators and visitors. Stationed with their posters in the Capitol rotunda for most of the day, the Aggies showcased their research and served as ambassadors for the college and the university. 

Students representing the College of Science were:



Thomas Anderson / Whitney Morgan

A New Approach to Creating Pradimicin - Type Antifungal/Antiviral Compounds"

Major: Biology

Faculty Mentor: Jon Takemoto


Trevor Hansen

Jacob Stewart

Trevor Hansen / Jacob Stewart

Impact of Cations on the Aggregation, Dissolution and Phytotoxicity of
Metal Oxide Nanoparticles in a Sand-Wheat Growth System"

Majors: Biology

Faculty Mentor: Anne Anderson

Our research focuses on the effects of zinc and copper nanoparticles on wheat growth. We also study how these nanoparticles are physically and chemically altered by the presence of environmental factors."

A Presidential Scholar, Trevor is a native of Smithfield, Utah and a 2006 graduate of Sky View High School. He plans to enter medical school following graduation from USU.

Jacob, a native of Hyrum, Utah, is a 2009 graduate of Mountain Crest High School. Following graduation from USU, he plans to enter medical school.

Joseph B. Jensen

Using SDO-EVE Satellite Data to Model for the First Time How Large Solar Flares Influence the Earth's Ionosphere"

Major: Physics

Faculty Mentor: Jan Sojka


Rachel Nydegger


Rachel Nydegger

Mapping Light Pollution

Major: Physics / Mathematics

Faculty Mentor: Shane Larson

"My research addresses the harm to the night sky and night wildlife that inefficient lighting causes. I've developed a light pollution map of the USU campus constructed from data I've collected. My project suggests methods for solving the problem of light pollution."

A native of Logan, Utah, Rachel is a 2011 graduate of Fast Forward Charter High School and a New Century Scholar. Following graduation from USU, Rachel plans to pursue graduate study in astrophysics.

Kelby Peterson

Read more about Kelby

Kelby Peterson

Simulation of UV Radiation Degradation of Polymers on MISSE-6
in the Low Earth Orbit Environment"

Major: Physics

Faculty Mentor: J.R. Dennison

"My research focuses on a set of material samples from the NASA-funded MISSE=6 project, which were suspended from the side of the International Space Station. These samples remained in space for 18 months before being returned to Earth on Space Shuttle Discovery. I am analyzing the effects of the space environment on these materials, which are all used in spacecraft design."

A native of Sandy, Utah, Kelby is a 2011 graduate of Itineris Early College High School and a New Century Scholar. Following graduation from USU, she plans to pursue graduate studies in physics.

Michael Strange

Read more about Michael

Michael Strange

Paleobiology of Some Middle Cambrian Animals from Northern Utah
and a New Technique for the Interpretation of Soft-Tissue Fossils

Major: Geology

Faculty Mentor: Dave Liddell

"I developed a new technique to interpret soft-tissue preservation in fossils using digital photography. This technique was tested on the extinct animal Hyolitha and shows an increased ability to identify and, at times, interpret their soft-tissue. Trilobites were also collected and grouped together to show correlation with changes in sea level change 520 million years ago."

A native of North Logan, Utah, Michael is a 2009 graduate of Sky View High School. He plans to pursue graduate studies in paleobiology.

Jeffrey Vongermeten

Mechanistic Analysis of the Rad55-Rad57 Pro-Recombinogenic Mediator

Major: Biochemistry

Faculty Mentor: Edwin Antony


Brennan Young

Brennan Young

Hydrogeochemistry, Geothermometry and Structural Setting of
Thernal Springs in Northern Utah and Southeastern Idaho

Major: Geology

Faculty Mentor: Jim Evans