Bookmark and Share


**New Guidelines and Application Forms 
Please read the guidelines completely. The guidelines include information about eligibility, the types of proposals we fund, the types of things that are not funded, instructions for proposal submission, and instructions for the oral presentation. 

-Sample proposal

-Dr. Friehauf's tips for writing proposals and making presentations

-Instructions for student proposal presentations

-Instructions for student researchers requesting changes to project budgets

Spreadsheet for Budget Adjustment Requests

Note to faculty research advisors: This program is not meant to fund faculty or graduate student research projects. Please visit the website for the Office of Grants & Sponsored Projects for help finding bigger funding opportunities for projects.

Science Subcommittee Disciplines

·        Anthropology

·        Astronomy

·        Biology

·        Biochemistry

·        Chemistry

·        Computer Science

·        Criminal Justice

·        Economics

·        Geography

·        Geology

·        Mathematics

·        Physics

·        Political Science

·        Psychology

·        Sociology

Proposal deadlines and meeting dates

All proposals due by 4:00 p.m.
All meetings at 11:00 a.m. in Boehm room 100

Deadline for proposals

Meeting date

September 19, 2017

September 26, 2017

October 17, 2017

October 24, 2017

November 21, 2017

November 28, 2017

January 16, 2018

January 23, 2018

February 16, 2018

February 27, 2018

March 20, 2018

March 27, 2018

April 17, 2018

April 24, 2018


Proposals and questions should be addressed to Dr. Kurt Friehauf.

Kurt Friehauf, Dept. of Physical Sciences (geology) (chairperson)

Laura Sherrod, Dept. of Physical Sciences (geology)

Thomas Betts, Dept. of Physical Sciences (chemistry)

Angelika Antoni, Biology Dept. (microbiology)

Michele Baranczyk, Dept. of Psychology (psychology)

Mauricia John, Dept. of Anthropology and Sociology (sociology)

Yun Lu, Dept. of Mathematics (math)

Jeff Werner, Office of Grants & Sponsored Projects (university grants director)

KU URC travel map





 red squares = scientific conferences

green dots = travel to use analytical instruments





2016-2017 Awards: Excellence In Action

Sarah Moriarty

Sarah Moriarty, a double major in Marine Science/Oceanography and Geology, as well as minoring in Philosophy, investigated barrier island evolution and inlet formation through stratigraphic analysis of vibracores taken from the Assateague and Chincoteague islands, VA. She helped present the results from radiocarbon dating and lithological analysis of six vibracores collected in 2015-2016 from the northern tip of the Chincoteague islands, a modern salt marsh, and an accretion mound in the North Wash Flats region of the Assateague islands. She also collected GPR (ground penetrating radar) splits of the paleoinlet's subsurface and the recurved split of the accretion mound. These models will ultimately provide valuable information to help make future forecasts for the Assateague and Chincoteague islands as climate change and global sea level rise continue to impact the region.

Adam Cooper, a dual major in Environmental Science and Geology, evaluated the late Pleistocene to Holocene sedimentation in Greenbackville, Chincoteague Bay, VA. His research included results from radiocarbon dating, lithological analysis of 19 vibracores collected in 2014 and 2015 from the marsh and bay, and preliminary GPR (ground penetrating radar) data. He hoped to document environmental change in the Greenbackville region over the last 50 thousand years and provide a model for the formation of bay point salt marshes. This knowledge will be used to develop an understanding of how these marshes will respond to future sea level rise.

Nathan Lottes

Nathan Lottes, a major in Environmental Science, assessed possible seismites in the Devonian Lock Haven Formation South of Tioga, Pennsylvania. During his research, Nathan hypothesized that layers formed through seismic (i.e. earthquake) action, either by an underwater debris flow (called a turbidite) or a tsunami in the Tioga region of Pennsylvania. He believes that the Tioga region was under sea level due to a series of roadside outcrops in this area that show interbedded layers of alternating sandstone and mudstone that were deposited offshore, at a depth affected by storm waves.

Ashley Richardson

Ashley Richardson, a Geology major, studied the spacing of joints in rock layers with varying mechanical properties in great detail. She was seeking evidence of relationships in multiple outcrops of sedimentary rocks ranging from the Ordovician through the Triassic periods in Pennsylvania. Previous mathematical modeling suggests that joint orientation may differ among layers with contrasting strength properties and thicknesses. Through her observations, she discovered that relationships were present within individual outcrops, regardless if the comparison of data across multiple outcrops is problematic because of Pennsylvania's complex deformation history.

Danielle Sulthaus, a Geology major, researched cleavage associated with cylindrical and conical folds in the Ordovician Windsor Township Formation near Kutztown, PA. She explored the significance of the cleavages with respect to progressive deformation and controlled strain in the outcrop. Knowing that cleavage may develop in different orientations on previously-folded surfaces during superimposed folding events, she believes it is also possible that a later-formed cleavage can overprint an earlier cleavage. Danielle believes this happens during subsequent deformation events, particularly in different lithologies (rock formations). Future work will include the examination of microscopic characteristics of the multiple cleavage orientations in each domain to help determine the specific mechanisms of cleavage development.

Kaley Miller, a Geology major, with a minor in Physics, studied gas-generated structures, which had significant soft sediment deformation, which were found in deltaic muds of the Lake Powell Delta. This Delta is located near the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Hite, Utah. The delta of the Colorado River in Lake Powell provides an excellent recently accessible locality for examining soft sediment deformation structures generated by escaping methane. She noticed that the geometries and orientations predicted by gas migration experiments in muds remained very consistent as well. In addition, the vertical migration of the gas in the experiments deforms the surrounding sediment similar to that found in the voids reported here. If a reaction rim is present as suggested by the red halos, the probable consumption of the methane by bacteria is the most likely cause.

Emily Bogner

Emily Bogne, a Geology major with a Biology minor, evaluated the herding of the extinct North American Rhinoceros. Her study analyzed the spatial distribution of fossils in the exposed quarry of the Ashfall Fossil Beds, located in NE Nebraska. The beds are home to over 200 fully articulated skeletons from 17 different vertebrate species. The majority of animals uncovered at Ashfall is an extinct species of Rhinoceros called Teleoceras major, commonly known as the Barrel-Bodied Rhino. Due to the abundance of Teleoceras fossils found at Ashfall, Emily realized that it was important to study the species on a social level. She hypothesized that due to the high ratio of females to males depicted in the field map, the aggregating structure of Teleoceras is more similar to that of modern-day black rhinoceros than white.

Kevin Popowich, an Environmental Biology major with a minor in Geography, surveyed invasive plants and their relationship to environmental variables along the Mid-Atlantic corridor of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail. He recorded invasive plant distribution, abundance, and environmental variables along the Pennsylvania and New Jersey sections of the Appalachian Trail. His goals were to inform prioritization of locations for active management and to identify key environmental variables that might predict invasive plant occupancy and/or invasion size. Data was collected by hiking the trail during the summers of 2014 and 2015 to establish a good sense of an accurate model using data of Microstegium vimineum recordings, the most abundant species.

Jaida Montenegro, a Psychology major, developed a pilot study which examined the importance of employee benefits and how they influence applicant perception, attraction to a specific organization, and their decision to pursue employment with that organization. A survey was given to the participants which included several open-ended questions about what workplace benefits they currently receive, what they would like to receive, what benefits they think are important, and their perception of family-friendly and flexible benefits. She hoped to use the current data to analyze and determine what benefits employees consider most important and also to examine any gender or generational differences they may affect the workplace.

David Foley, a Computer Science major, and a Mathematics minor, researched popular distributional approaches to semantics, which allow only a single embedding of any particular word. A single embedding per word conflates the distinct meanings of the word and their appropriate contexts, regardless of whether those usages are related or completely split. He compared models that use the graph structure of the knowledge base, WordNet, as a post-processing step, to improve vector space models with multiple sense embeddings for each word. Future research will explore techniques for correcting unforeseen problems using Princeton's graphical thesaurus, WordNet.

Austin Murr

Austin Murr, a Leisure and Sports Studies major with a minor in Health and Wellness, conducted a study which is designed to examine college students' health behaviors and perceived benefits related to recreational service programs at Kutztown University. The findings show that cardiovascular training is the most popular physical activity, where 58% of the recreation center users in the study use it on a regular basis. Weight training came in at a close second, around 53%, followed by recreational sports and fitness/exercise classes which came in at 17%. In this study, 51.5% of recreational service users report that the KU Recreational Center had an influence on the respondents' attendance of KU.

Courtney Chinworth, a Leisure and Sports Studies major, held a study that required scholarly inquiries into these specific domains: Student experiences in college recreational services and the relationship between student satisfaction and service quality measurement in recreational service. Despite the benefits of campus recreational programs, little experimental research has been conducted on how students respond to recreational service quality. Thus, this study suggests that the college recreation center needs to improve on tangibility and reliability of service quality in order to provide quality service to college students.

David C. Vales, a Geology major, initiated geophysical investigations in order to describe the heterogeneity of the glacial landscape in the bedrock valley and provide a spring source for irrigation at the hops farm near The Finger Lakes of Central NY. The primary survey location is in farm fields adjacent to a ravine, exhibiting several unique stratigraphic markers for the area.  Bedrock outcrops, boreholes, and preliminary seismic surveys indicated the presence of a bedrock valley filled with glacial sediments. Today, the geologic understanding and history of the Finger Lakes continue to be a source of new investigations and discoveries.  Wells drilled in this area had been unproductive, causing a shortage of water for irrigation.  However, signs of water leaking from the ravine walls and forming streams at the base of the ravine indicated a potential spring source. 

Analyse Gaspich

Analyse Gaspich, a Geography major, conducted a study that will focus on the three decadal periods consisting of the 1980-1889, 1990-1999, and 2000-2010 time eras. Impacts from El Nino - Southern Oscillation were also addressed. Over the course of 30 years, there has been a change in the precipitation patterns in Pennsylvania related to multiple climatological variables. Precipitation data from Pennsylvania, during the winter from December 1979 to February 2010, was collected from the National Climate Data Center using weather station data; some of the weather statistics collected consisted of total snowfall, heavy snow days, and ice data. Specific humidity and surface temperature data are provided by the NCAR Reanalysis Project to provide additional moisture and temperature data. Regional analysis was performed using broad precipitation records supplied by climate division documents. Furthermore, the role of elevation was analyzed in terms of changes in winter precipitation.

Kaleigh Cunningham

Kaleigh Cunningham, a major in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Science, piloted a study that looks at the occurrences of extreme heat and thunderstorms in the southern portions of the state. She found that the state of Pennsylvania has unique sectors in which different climate patterns occur. As global warming increases, she believes, so do extreme temperatures and storms.

Tianna Andrews, a dual major in Environmental Science and Geography, conducted a study which focuses primarily on the summer season as the atmosphere is generally most unstable at this time. She reviewed the variability in CAPE across the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to determine atmospheric instability trends from 2003 to 2013. Atmospheric instability is an important meteorological variable to determine how buoyant the atmosphere is at a given time. Depending on certain conditions, such as moisture content and temperature, the instability of the atmosphere can change, potentially altering convection rates. Generally, an unstable atmosphere often indicates more tumultuous weather conditions, such as thunderstorms and severe weather.

Brandon Sutter, a Geology major, and Riley Shaak, a dual major in Environmental Science and Geology, researched and inspected the vertical difference between the farm fields and a floodplain which a small stream, that Kutztown University owns, flows through. They estimate that this protected plot of land has a majority of the sediment which is deposited to the floodplain after it has been transported downstream. Using subsurface technology, a coarse-grained gravel layer was located. Thus, a general time limit could be attached to all of the sediment deposited on top of this layer and the total volume of sediment was estimated accordingly.

Nina Schnyder, a major in Computer Science with a minor in Mathematics and Environmental Geography, conducted a study which aims to examine the climate variability of 20 cooperative weather stations located in the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania.  Analysis of observed seasonal trends in temperature and precipitation, along with the number of moderate and heavy precipitation events, was conducted to identify key spatial relationships.  The most recent Pennsylvania Climate Assessment has suggested that eastern Pennsylvania, Lehigh Valley specifically, will grow increasingly warmer and drier by 2050.  Seasonal precipitation trends indicate that the Lehigh Valley is observing fewer heavy rainfall events.  Results of this study should generate additional information regarding vulnerability and assessment of climate change in this important region of Pennsylvania.

Lindsay Fernandez

Lindsay Fernandez, a dual major in Psychology and Social Work, explored how academic motivation was affected after learning information about the dismal job market awaiting undergraduate students. This study showed that discouraging information alone is not enough to discourage or motivate students academically. She also researched how academic motivation differed by gender. When male subjects learned of the dismal job market, they became more academically motivated. Whereas when female subjects learned of the dismal job market, they became less academically motivated. These results have important implications for counseling college students on graduate school and career choices.

Sara Wingert

Sara Wingert, an Anthropology major, reported on a replicative experiment designed to investigate whether archaeologists can "see" perishable projectiles in the archaeological record based on the damage they inflict on animal bones. Specifically, she examined if wood-tipped, fire-hardened, and stone-tipped arrows produce distinctive damage signatures. She used the results of her study to re-examine explanations offered to account for the transition from the dart to the bow and arrow in eastern North America. If ethnographic accounts are any indication, lithic technology was only one part of many prehistoric technological systems. It is likely, then, that the technological changes archaeologists commonly document through their morphometric analysis of stone projectile points occurred against a backdrop of perishable technologies often not represented in the archaeological record.

Danielle Cannon, an Anthropology major, and Carly Plesic, a dual major in Anthropology and History, demonstrated that they can use chemical data to source pottery shards to regional potteries. This can document the links developed between Stoddartsville and the surrounding region as the village grew into a short-lived center of trade and industry. At a more general level, their study demonstrates the potential for historical archaeologists to use chemical data, even in the absence of makers' marks, to source historic artifacts and, in turn, develop insights into regional economies.

Austin Stoudt, a Biology major and Neag Award Winner, conducted a study that focuses on the honey bee's diet/nutrition by examining the effect of synthetic diets versus natural pollen diets on honey bee worker morphology, microbiome, and nosema levels. Honeybee workers will be examined after developing in colonies with restricted protein diets including natural pollen or artificial pollen substitutes Bee Pro or Ultra Bee. As honey bee mortality continues at an unsustainable rate, researchers and beekeepers alike are working to determine the factors that influence survival. Pesticide use inside and outside of the hives and nutrition are among the most important contributors to die-offs in the last decade.

Margot Shrift, a dual major in Environmental Science and Biology and Neag Award Winner, directed an experiment, which was initiated in 2013 and consisted of sixteen 100m2 plots, contained four plots per treatment combination of deer and invasive plant control. She sampled spiders in the plots during fall 2016 with a sweep net, stored them in alcohol at 20°C until processing, and identified them to the morpho-species level. She used unilabiate and multivariate statistical techniques to evaluate the effects of her restoration management on spider composition, diversity, and abundance. Overall, Margot found no positive or negative impacts of invasive plant removal or deer exclusion on the spider community.

Celina Dickison, a dual major in Marine Science and Biology and Neag Award Winner, began a project to determine if the energy Palaemonetes pugio and Palaemonetes spp. larvae use for osmoregulation will increase when exposed to varying salinities that are higher or lower than the optimum salinity. She was able to hypothesize that if the larvae use more for osmoregulation, the less energy may be available for growth and development into the adult form. This will potentially decrease the adults' ability to perform its role within the ecosystem as the transferor of energy.

Courtney Pintabone, a Psychology major, conducted a study that consisted of 75 undergraduate students attending a northeastern state university who completed an Organizational Assessment Survey. The survey consisted of several scales that were hypothesized to correlate with organizational trust culture. The sample of trust culture significantly correlated with organizational citizen behavior, affective and normative commitment, global job satisfaction, and emotional exhaustion.  All three forms of emotional labor (surface acting, deep acting, and display of naturally felt emotions) linked as well.

Amanda Shultz

Amanda Schultz, a Marine Science/Biology major with a minor in Geography, sought out to find the minimum O2 threshold of the different size classes of Grass Shrimp larvae (Palaemonetes spp.). This will allow for a better understanding of how the population may change - should the Bay continue to become more hypoxic. Palaemonetes spp. were caught and allowed to respire in sealed vials fitted with optical DO sensors until they reached a minimum O2 level and the survivorship was recorded and correlated to their respective size classes according to wet weight. This research will begin to bridge the gap between the novelty of hypoxic and anoxic phenomena in marine habitats, because there is little research on its effects, particularly across life stages of a single organism.

Kristyn Rohrer

Kristyn Rohrer, a Sociology major, conducted a study that expands the limited documentation of Amish Hospital Aida, an Amish health insurance program that covers major medical costs. She also provides interview data from 11 Amish adults in Lancaster County which includes what they think about this aid program and how it supplements traditional congregational alms coverage of medical expenses. The interview data delineates the structure of the program, its operation, and how it encourages cost containment and community interdependence. The manner in which the Amish collaborate to pay for medical expenses provides a thought-provoking paradigm for managing health care costs.

Samita Kafle

Samita Kafle, a Biochemistry major, came up with a proposal for a travel grant to present biochemistry research results on apoptosis at the 2017 Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) in Hershey. Samita used Drosophila melanogaster proteins to study regions within the IAP (DIAP1) proteins, one containing an active site inhibiting region and one without. These were tested both separately and together for their effectiveness in reducing caspase function. When the two versions of DIAP1 were added together with the caspase, the smaller fragment without the active site inhibiting region, interfered with the caspase inhibition by the larger fragment. This shows that the smaller fragment still contains a functionally important region for caspase regulation. Samita believes that this is very likely a region that binds to the caspase to help anchor the active site inhibiting region. This is being tested separately in DIAP1-caspase binding assays.

Haley D'Agostino

Haley D'Agostino, a Biology major, conducted a study that collected data based on population size, nesting area, nesting frequency, clutch size, and tides of Diamondback Terrapins. To gain a better understanding of population size and nesting behavior, a capture, mark, and release method was used. The information gained from this study was used as an indication of the effect that tidal levels have on the nesting behavior of Diamondback Terrapins. Haley considers the fact that traveling during high tides can offer terrapins protection against predators, prevent desiccation, and provide a way of traveling with a lower energy cost.

Emily Coghlan, a Biology major, composed a study that compared seeds from a native population of plants with at least one garden population, all while controlling length of the stratification period. In the second year of this study, she examined seeds from commercially acquired plants of Pennsylvania ecotypes, and from a second garden with milkweed of unknown provenance. Throughout the duration of this study, over two years to be exact, she examined differences in seed mass, germination, and early growth of seedlings of swamp milkweed, using seeds collected from plants growing in wild populations and gardens.

Lindsay Fernandez

Lindsay Fernandez, a Social Work major, sought out to distinguish certain barriers of substance abuse treatment that can be defined as obstacles. These obstacles could stand between a person suffering from substance abuse and easy access to treatment facilities that offer life-saving care. Barriers such as these create a treatment gap that has been researched from various perspectives, but rarely from the viewpoints of both substance abuse counselors and substance abuse clients. Little is known about the people at the heart of the heroin epidemic, so Lindsay initiated eight qualitative, in-depth, and face-to-face interviews that concentrate on the lived experiences of counselors and clients and their navigation through the obstacles that make up the substance abuse treatment gap.

Emily Schallmo, a Biology major, conducted this study to determine the effects of increased or decreased precipitation and soil moisture on the number of nesting Diamondback Terrapins. Historical precipitation data, as well as data on nesting numbers in previous years, were compared to data that was collected during the 2017 nesting season. Precipitation and soil moisture could affect the length and onset of the nesting season, the sex ratio of the population, the number of nesting females per day, and the location of where nests are laid. The effects of precipitation and soil moisture were measured using local weather station data and recorded the soil moisture surrounding nesting sites.