Research Revelations

PLU students explain what they are researching and why it matters
Kimberly Belmes '18, adjusts the telescope on Saturn for viewers during the Tacoma Astronomical Society and the Physics Dept. opening the Keck observatory for guest to look at the night sky after the Jazz Under the Stars concert at PLU, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016.
Kimberly Belmes ’18

Major: Physics

“Last summer I conducted an observational astronomy research project investigating sunspots. Working in partnership with two PLU physics professors, I investigated sunspot decay rate factors, as well as whether or not we could obtain accurate umbra-to-photosphere temperature ratios. Sunspot activity is highly related to solar activity, and the more active the sun is the more solar wind it emits. The more solar wind that is emitted, the more likely that these charged particles can interfere with earthly technologies, such as our GPS systems, satellite systems and power grids.”

Reza Refaei ’17 at the PLU Bike Co-op
Reza Refaei ’17

Major: Environmental studies

“I’m working on research exploring how to increase biking and usage of the bike co-op at PLU. This research has also included the creation of a free eight-week bike maintenance class at the bike co-op and online resources that help cyclists navigate through the Tacoma area in the safest and fastest way. During this research process I have enjoyed the freedom to individually research a topic that I am passionate about, while also having a faculty and a staff advisor to guide me through the process.”

Students working on their student-faculty research projects in various Rieke labs at pluPLU, Tuesday, June 28, 2016.
Darick Chai ’18

Major: Chemistry

“I am currently working on growing nanocrystals for use in a luminescent solar concentrator with several collaborators. Hopefully, we will be able to use them to collect diffuse light from the sun and make use of energy that otherwise would simply be wasted!”

PLU student Thomas Horn performs with Jazz Ensemble in the Karen Hille Phillips.
Thomas Horn ’17

Major: Sociology

“My capstone research project explores the subculture of high school band kids and how they experience deviance. The term ‘band geek’ is quite stereotypical and the assumption of being a band geek is normally depicted in a negative light. I want to try and redefine the term, as I want to explore the realm of high school band through qualitative in-depth interviews with people who have experienced the high school band subculture.”

Jessica Stenberg ’17 (pictured left)

Major: Kinesiology

“My research looks at the effects of cold water immersion on recovery in collegiate-level swimmers. Research has been conducted on several different sports but not much has been studied on swimmers. As a member of the PLU swim team, it seemed natural to look to my teammates and involve them in research that could benefit them.”

Morgan Commander ’17 (pictured right)

Major: Kinesiology

“I worked with a group of students investigating how imagery can be used as a mental tool for collegiate swimmers. Imagery is an amazingly effective mental skill, and our project made information about how to effectively apply that skill easily accessible, by sharing research in a video exploring how imagery works and how it can be applied to our sport.”