2018 Course Descriptions

This is Science Do Mathematicians Even Count?

Amie Bray

When I tell people I study math, and conduct research in the field, most of them are shocked. The traditional impression of mathematics from the outside world is that it's a closed field; perhaps it provides useful techniques for actual scientists, but nothing interesting really happens! The purpose of this course is to expel this myth, to demonstrate the vibrancy and breadth of mathematics, through different kinds of counting questions, starting with the most accessible– How many ways can a seven footed monster choose a set of socks? This simple idea will be used to generate proof techniques, an extremely valuable skill in math and science. We will then transition to a more algebraic kind of counting; how do you determine the number of roots pf a polynomial? While this question seems like a well understood staple of your high school math curriculum, this question is extremely mathematically deep. We will spend the remainder of the course exploring how one simple counting question led to the discovery of several active fields of mathematics.  

Will You Make the Cut? Introduction to Cellular & Molecular Biology and Research Applications

Viva Rase

This course is designed to introduce you to current laboratory techniques and biological technology. By the end of the course you will have the knowledge needed to apply these techniques in a research setting. You will get the opportunity to work with cancer cells in the lab doing things such as cell counts, live dead stains, practicing serial technique and experimental design. We will also be learning the basic biology behind lab methods such as CRISPR and Polymerase chain reactions (PCR). We will also explore various lecture topics needed to gain the background knowledge to understand these techniques,  which includes the study of bacteria, viruses, DNA repair mechanisms, and DNA mutations. You will get the opportunity to dive into current literature to discover where these techniques can be applied in research and have lecture discussions about the bioethics of cloning technology. 

You've Got a Friend In Me: The Surprising Relationship Between Mathematics & Physics

Taylor McMillan

It is hard to believe, as the story goes, that a simple apple falling from a tree was enough to inspire Isaac Newton to invent Calculus. Yet, ever since his initial development, it has been analogous to that of studying Physics. In this course, students will see the interconnections of Physics and Mathematics. Students will develop an understanding of kinematics and basic mechanics principles, and will become familiar with the computation engine MatLab, a scientific tool that is used throughout industry and academia. Moreover, students will participate in various physics activities like experimenting with dropping an egg three stories high so that it survives the impact.  

2017 Course Descriptions

Don’t trust atoms.  They make up everything!

Matthew DeSelm

Chemistry is a part of everything around us.  From the food we eat, to the products we use, chemistry is woven into the fabric of our everyday lives.  In this course, we began by exploring the fundamentals of chemistry, including atomic structure, bonding, and chemical reactions.  The course involved activities such as creating 3D models of molecules, and gaining hands-on experience with instruments that chemists use in the laboratory.  After covering the basics, we then focused mainly on organic chemistry, which involves many types of compounds such as pharmaceuticals and petroleum-based products; however, we briefly explored other areas of chemistry as well.  By the end of the course, students developed a greater understanding of chemical processes, as well as the science behind some common products we encounter in our daily lives.

Data Diva & Statistics Nerd

Zabedah Saad

When I introduce myself as a doctoral student in statistics, people often reply with, “I hate Statistics”, “I was never good in math”, “I barely passed my stats class in college”, etc.  What is interesting about being a statistician is that I am able to critically analyze numerous types of data. This course was designed to enrich student knowledge in terms of data collection, management, and analysis.  Furthermore, students learned all about descriptive and inferential statistics.  I’m sure that many were familiar with some statistical analysis such as t-test, ANOVA, chi-square, correlation, and regression, but in this class, they also learned the purpose of performing each analysis, as well as hands-on activities using the statistical program available.  Most importantly, students learned how to interpret the results once they were available.  Interpreting the results is an essential component in research and is a valuable skill to master.  Thus, be proud to call yourself a Nerd or Geek…even better, a “Data Diva/Master”!

Humerus Physics: Newton, Puns, and Human Movement

Shane Murphy

This course aimed to explore human movement through Newtonian physics, and how to analyze movement utilizing clinical and laboratory techniques. We dove into the foundations of anatomy and algebra-based biomechanics, applying these concepts in and out of the lab. We even strove to improve Nerf-gun skills. This class provided opportunities in the basics of research, Excel and the of use various clinical tools. Trust me, it’s going tibia ok.  ;)

2016 Course Descriptions

The Human Body: How Do We Move; How Do We Improve?

Nicole Wood

Physical activity is a part of our daily lives. Whether it’s a sport that we play, a weekend hike in the mountains, or a simple walk in the park, our bodies respond to this activity by changing for the better. Kinesiology and Exercise Science programs are growing in attendance in Universities across the U.S. and often provide a stepping stone for Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, Research Physiologists, and the like. With the prevalence of obesity and disease in the U.S., learning how we can improve quality of life through movement is necessary. We explored brief lessons of the physiological principles of human movement and then dove into how it all relates to the physiological responses to exercise training, sport nutrition, ergogenic aids, etc. Students had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and examined how these concepts are applied in a laboratory or real-world settings. Students learned how to assess basic overall health and fitness and understand how to use this information to improve human movement. Topics included cardiorespiratory health and fitness, the importance of muscular strength and endurance, and basic neurological functioning as it relates to reflexes.


Creativity Abounds: Mathematics, Programming, and Science

Dean Zeller

In this class, students learned a combination of mathematics and computer programming, and their relation to science, through engaging hands-on activities. Students learned the Python programming language, applying the skills in real world science applications.  We also discussed the world of engineering through geometric shape design starting with polyhedrons and working our way to the rhombicuboctahedron using everyday materials. And when hand-created models weren’t enough, we created complex three-dimensional scenes with Google SketchUp.  We even explored the world of DNA and bioinformatics.  These topics represented only a few of the possible projects students could select.  Other available topics were:  artificial intelligence, computer circuit design, binary arithmetic, software engineering, graph theory, floorplan design, and numerical analysis.  


Medical Mysteries! Becoming a Health Detective

Alissa Mathias

This class explored basic human anatomy by discussing the structure and functions of the heart, muscle, brain, and other systems. After covering the normal function of these systems, we then dove into medical disorders dealing with each of the systems and become detectives working on case studies. We also discussed various autoimmune disorders and touched base on cancer pathology as well. By the end of the summer, students learned how to unveil certain “medical mysteries” and left FSI with a stronger understanding of anatomical systems of the human body.

2015 Course Descriptions

Atoms: They Are All That Matter

Sean Hoskins

Summary: Everything in our lives is a product of fundamental chemistry and physical properties.  From apparently simple technologies, such as AA batteries, to more complicated technologies such as MRI scans, to immensely complicated procedures such as thought—every aspect of our world is just some combination of elements on the Periodic Table.  In this course, we explored the enormous and dense information contained in the Periodic Table, created 3D models of molecules, navigated and received hands on experience with the technologies chemists use on a daily basis, investigated the secrets contained in genetics, delved into how energy is stored in food, and how medicines are engineered to help save lives.  By the end of this course, students received a deeper understanding and appreciation for chemistry and now understand the theories behind some exciting innovations in solar energy, pharmaceutics, genetic engineering, and much more.


Earth, Wind and Fire: The Forces that Shape our World

Rebecca Kipf

Summary: This course took us through time and space as we looked at the creative and destructive forces that have shaped our world. We looked at past and present natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, and droughts as well as their impact on human populations. We also explored the science behind our understanding and the challenges brought on by these forces of nature. Participants in this course were challenged to increase their Earth Science knowledge, communicate scientific ideas, and use STEM principles to explore solutions to challenges offered by the world we live in.


The Human Body: How We Move and How We Improve

Nicole Wood

Course Summary: Physical activity is a part of our daily lives. Whether it’s a sport that we play, a weekend hike in the mountains, or a simple walk in the park, our bodies respond to this activity by changing for the better. Kinesiology and Exercise Science programs are growing in attendance in Universities across the U.S. and often provide a stepping stone for Athletic Trainers, Physical Therapists, and the like. With the prevalence of obesity and disease in the U.S., learning how we can improve quality of life through movement is necessary. But first…we discovered where it all starts…structure and function of body systems! We learned basic concepts as they apply to the Skeletal, Muscular, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory Systems, and discovered how physical activity provides positive physiological adaptations to each system. Students had the opportunity to get hands-on experience and examine how these concepts can be applied in a laboratory or real-world setting.