Category » Student Research

Threshold for Thriving
July 1, 2013

Threshold for Thriving

How much forest management is too much for northern house wrens?

Kristin Jones’ research aims to discover whether intensive forestry practices, such as herbicide use, interfere with wrens’ habitat.


Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep
June 28, 2013

Purrs, Moans and Shrieks from the Deep

“Rapunzel Project” studies humpback vocalizations in Alaska

In their foraging grounds of the dark, frigid waters in southeast Alaska’s Fredrick Sound, humpback whales are calling to one another with “purrs,” “shrieks,” “wops” and “moans.” To find out why they speak and what they might be saying, Oregon State University graduate student Michelle Fournet is listening.


Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”
June 18, 2013

Jake Tepper: “Coral reefs are dying.”

When Jacob (Jake) Tepper was an eighth-grader, he and his dad traded in their 20-gallon saltwater aquarium and transferred its inhabitants — an anemone and a pair of clownfish — to a spacious 50-gallon reef tank. They added corals and a porcupine pufferfish who begged for food by squirting water at passersby. And then there […]


Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”
June 18, 2013

Katlyn Taylor: “OMG, so much science!”

Katlyn Taylor’s life has bumped into practically every phylum of the Animal Kingdom. Ask her how she got into science, and she’ll spin a narrative that spans sea lemons, orphaned chickens, 4-H rabbits, endangered Asian elephants, gray whale migration, sea lion pups, the genetics of microbacterial phages and the coloration of sea stars. And she’s […]


Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”
June 18, 2013

Elliott Finn: “Blanket solutions aren’t the answer.”

What runs through the life of author Norman McLean is a river. In the life of Elliott Finn, it’s a plant. Vegetation, wild and domestic, wends through every childhood memory: playing hide-and-seek among fruit trees in his parents’ sprawling Soap Creek garden near Corvallis. Dashing through botanical gardens and greenhouses with his little brother Ian. […]


Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”
June 18, 2013

Allison Stringer: “There’s still hope.”

Siberia seldom tempts Western travelers to explore its vast taiga forests and endless permafrost  — unless that traveler happens to be Allison Stringer. For the OSU biology student, nothing could be more enticing than spending a summer month “out in the middle of nowhere”— living on a barge at the Northeast Science Station near a […]


Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”
June 18, 2013

Justin Conner: “Amphibians are crashing.”

When manatees and alligators are members of your backyard ecosystem, it’s like living with a ready-made science project. Justin Conner took full advantage of the biodiversity bursting in and around the Florida canal that linked his childhood home to the ocean. There were peacock bass and cichlids to hook. There were frogs and toads to […]


An Evolutionary Tale
June 11, 2013

An Evolutionary Tale

Stress leads to genetic changes in laboratory worms

A tiny worm is wiggling its way toward our understanding of evolution and the genetics of aging. We know that mutations in DNA enable organisms to evolve. But how? Jeremy Northway, an undergraduate in the Oregon State University Honors College, is intent on using this worm, known as C. elegans, to find answers. Few animals […]


Nomads No More
May 21, 2013

Nomads No More

Anthropology student listens to the voices of Mongolian herders

Pressure from encroaching modernization threatens traditional patterns of migration and collaboration in Inner Mongolia. Tom Conte, master’s student in anthropology, traveled there to learn about impacts on the grasslands and Mongolian culture.


Biochar video
May 3, 2013

Biochar video

Learn how biochar is made, sequesters carbon and protects water quality

Perry Morrow, student in the Oregon State University Water Resources Graduate Program, produced this video on biochar, the carbonized remains of plants. Turning low-value wood and other biomass into biochar sequesters carbon from the atmosphere for hundreds of years. The resulting material may also benefit water quality by absorbing pollutants such as copper, lead, zinc […]


Learning to Fly
May 3, 2013

Learning to Fly

More parents provide support for their adult children

For many first-year college students, going to a new school represents “leaving the nest.” They are now responsible for housing, bills and their own education. But according to Heidi Igarashi , a research assistant at Oregon State University, most are still in their parents’ nest and will be for several more years. “Parents used to […]


Four Oregon State students honored by Barry M. Goldwater Foundation
April 11, 2013

Four Oregon State students honored by Barry M. Goldwater Foundation

Three Oregon State University students have been awarded the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, an annual award given for the nation’s top undergraduate student research scholars in science, math and engineering by the federally endowed Goldwater Foundation. A fourth student has received an honorable mention, making this OSU’s most successful year ever in the annual […]


Roots of Relationship
February 26, 2013

Roots of Relationship

Under the pine needles lies one of the secrets to forest health

The summer is warm and sunny in Corvallis, but my travels draw me east. Over and past the Cascades is an open land where the cold sparkling waters of a river flow north, and the sweet smell of Ponderosa pine blends with the fresh scent of lodgepole — the Deschutes National Forest. My one-person tent […]


SimCity for Your Greenhouse
February 8, 2013

SimCity for Your Greenhouse

USDA Gives Technology Award to Forestry Student

When Lee Buckingham’s dad brought home a broken HP computer, Lee took it apart and fixed it. He was 15 years old. Through high school and college, the Oregon State graduate student in Forest Engineering, Resources and Management fed his appetite for technology (“I like to build them from parts”) and taught himself to write […]


The Glove Goes Wireless
January 23, 2013

The Glove Goes Wireless

Student team wins national award for innovative design

A student-designed “wireless hand sensor” may not only help reduce hand and wrist injuries associated with repetitive motion but may have applications in robotics, medicine and computer gaming.


Ice Core Diaries
January 23, 2013

Ice Core Diaries

Records from the past carry warnings for our future

We are slowly beginning to understand the anatomy of global climate and how it changes, its geographic fingerprint and its tempo. Ice cores paint a complex and sometimes surprising picture, one that generations of scientists will spend decades trying to fully understand.


Student Researcher Aims to Give Kids a Boost in School
January 18, 2013

Student Researcher Aims to Give Kids a Boost in School

Sara says, "jump!"

Playing games may be fun and exciting for young children, but researchers have found they also can be academically beneficial. Human Development and Family Studies Ph.D. student Sara Schmitt is finding out just how much. “One of the primary studies I’ve been involved in here at Oregon State is trying to develop a screening tool […]


Long Life and Naked Mole Rats
January 18, 2013

Long Life and Naked Mole Rats

An undergraduate researcher searches for the key to long life

At 7 a.m., Minhazur Sarker is the first person to arrive in Tory Hagen’s lab on the third floor of the Linus Pauling Science Center. Hagen, a renowned researcher with the Linus Pauling Institute, studies the human healthspan. The research that takes place in his lab is focused toward a lofty goal: promoting healthy, less […]


Octo-Enchantment
November 6, 2012

Octo-Enchantment

Finding solace and stress relief in an elusive cephalopod

A volunteer told me later that the nocturnal octopus rarely comes out during the day.


Far and Away
October 12, 2012

Far and Away

Oregon State students make discoveries from French Polynesia to the African savannah

When you play fetch with a killer whale, it makes an impression. When you play fetch with a killer whale and you’re only 7 years old, it can change your life. For Renee Albertson, the change was a long time in the making. But as she tried first one career and then another, she never […]


Risk Assessment
September 17, 2012

Risk Assessment

When Annika Swanson arrived as a freshman at Oregon State in 2010, she already had a life purpose: join the ranks of research faculty studying the causes and effects of environmental pollution. “I’ve always had a deep interest in the environment and in environmental toxins and pollution. This began when I was younger and my […]


Horns of Africa
July 11, 2012

Horns of Africa

Dylan McDowell studies endangered rhinos in Tanzanian reserves

In the place where Dylan McDowell grew up, wildlife meant sea lions, sandpipers, salmon and passing pods of spouting whales. Where he’s going this summer, wildlife means something else entirely, something reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are, exotic and fearsome: wildebeests, jackals, baboons, leopards, warthogs. And rhinos that have been poached nearly […]


Sea Urchin
July 11, 2012

Sea Urchin

Caitlyn Clark takes her love of ecology to Ireland's first marine reserve

On her first-ever research trip, Caitlyn Clark trudged up and down hundreds of spongy hummocks spanning miles of arctic tundra, all the while swatting at giant mosquitoes and scanning for hungry polar bears. She was in Manitoba to collect data about the habitats of boreal frogs and stickleback fish for Earthwatch Institute Student Challenge Awards […]


The Milky Way
July 11, 2012

The Milky Way

Mais oui! Rachel Miller puts French ice cream to the taste and texture test.

When Rachel Miller was shadowing a pie scientist in her hometown of Spokane, Washington, no one — not her teachers, not her parents, and certainly not she herself — could have predicted that her high school job shadow would lead to possibly the coolest summer internship in the universe: tasting ice cream in France. OK, […]


The Earth Burps and Burns
July 11, 2012

The Earth Burps and Burns

WeiLi Hong measures methane emissions in Korean ocean waters

When the Earth burps, WeiLi Hong listens. Whether Earth’s gaseous emissions bubble up from “mud volcanoes” on the planet’s surface or seep out of fissures on the ocean floor, the Oregon State University Ph.D. student has his monitoring gear to the ground. And sometimes, he’s actually in the ground. “I fell in twice,” Hong admits, […]


Legacy of a Whale
July 11, 2012

Legacy of a Whale

Renee Albertson’s childhood encounter led her, decades later, to French Polynesia

Rain was pouring hard the day Renee Albertson first connected, face-to-face, with a marine mammal. She was a 7-year-old visiting British Columbia’s Sealand aquarium (Canada’s now-defunct answer to California’s SeaWorld) with her mom and dad. The daily show had been cancelled because of the downpour. The usual crowds were absent. As the soggy trio from […]


Dolphin Defender
July 3, 2012

Dolphin Defender

Rebecca Hamner boats New Zealand’s coastline collecting DNA from endangered dolphins

A dolphin’s dorsal fin can be as distinctive as a human fingerprint. As the fin slices through the sea, its unique pattern of pigments, nicks and scars relays the animal’s personal story to observers on the surface. Often, scientists can use these markings to ID individual dolphins. But for some species, fin IDs are not […]


Labor of Love
June 27, 2012

Labor of Love

Master's student aims to solve health-care puzzle

The resilience of the women was surprising, as was their appreciation for just being heard. After all, they are at the bottom of the social hierarchy in one of the world’s poorest countries. No one had shown much interest in their stories until an Oregon State University student showed up last winter. Bonnie Ruder, a […]


Fisher of Rivers
June 6, 2012

Fisher of Rivers

Haley Ohms wades into Dolly Varden research in Japanese streams

A river runs through Haley Ohms’ life. Actually, a whole bunch of rivers. So spending the summer hip-deep in fast-moving water will feel familiar to the Oregon State University graduate student — even if those cold, tumbling waters flow on the other side of the Pacific Rim. The fish will seem familiar, too. The Dolly […]


Pumped Up
June 5, 2012

Pumped Up

Zachary Dunn helps bring clean water to Kenyan farmers

How far would you go to help someone get a glass of clean water? Zachary Dunn knows exactly how far he’d go: 9,000 miles. And that’s just one trip, one way. By summer’s end, Dunn and fellow Oregon State University students had traveled almost 36,000 miles — greater than the Earth’s circumference — to help […]