Summer Enrichment & Outreach Programs:
Are you a high school senior interesting in majoring in engineering, computer science, mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics, or marine biology? We offer a summer enrichment program to better prepare students in science & mathematics disciplines for medical school, post baccalaureate study, teaching, and science and technology industry.
- Math Behind the Science (MBS) Summer Program – Calculus course preparation to enter calculus and provide a foundation for success in other studies. Applicants for this summer bridge program may be high school seniors who have taken appropriate pre-calculus courses in high school. UVI freshmen are also eligible for this bridge program if they have successfully completed MAT 024 and if they have had a precalculus course in either high school or college.
This program is funded by University of the Virgin Islands; National Science Foundation; National Institute of Health; and Jones, Holloway & Bryan Foundation. We hope to increase the number of students majoring in science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
To be considered, students must be admitted to UVI, earn a “C” or higher in Advanced Algebra and Trigonometry, or Precalulus; complete an online application form; submit two letters of recommendations, and submit an official high school transcript. Applications for ECS summer enrichment programs are due on
May 15th. For the applications, brochure, and other information related to the programs, call the College of Science & Mathematics’ Emerging Caribbean Scientists Program at (340) 693-1249, or email email@example.com.
Summer Undergraduate Research Programs:
- Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) - Provides summer stipends (and housing assistance, if needed) while researching with a faculty mentor, and attending weekly research meetings and presentations.
- Summer Sophomore Research Institute (SSRI) – Provides summer stipends and housing for Biology, Chemistry, Marine Biology, Physics, Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science sophomores & juniors to research and attend research methods workshops within their disciplines.
We also encourage students to apply to other summer research programs. Applications for ECS summer research programs are typically due on February 28th each year. To be considered, students must be admitted to UVI, complete an application form, have a minimum grade point average of 2.0 to 3.0 depending on the program. For more information related to our programs, call the College of Science & Mathematics - Emerging Caribbean Scientists Programs at (340) 693-1249, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
HBCU UP Summer 2010 Research Topics
Dr. Kostas Alexandridis
Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) of St. Thomas Fishing Community
Dr. Kostas Alexandridis
Human Dimensions in Environmental and Natural Resource Resilience and Sustainability
Dr. Alice Stanford
Banana DNA Fingerprinting
Dr. Alice Stanford
Population Genetics and Genetic Diversity of Cock’s-spur
Dr. Steve Ratchford
Fireworm Food Location
Dr. Steven Case
Mobile Robotics and Sensor Networks
Dr. Steven Case
Real-time Control Systems
Dr. Steven Case
Dr. Steven Case
Digital Media Distribution
Dr. Steven Case
Visualization of Geospatial Data
Dr. LaVerne Brown
Shelter Choice of Lobsters
Dr. LaVerne Brown
Traditional Botanical Remedies
Dr. Angela Dikou
Mechanisms of Coral-Algal Interactions
Dr. Douglas Iannucci
Odd Triperfect Number Problem
Dr. Marc Boumedine
Mr. Eric Douglas
|Mr. Eric Douglas ||[Hovensa engineering] |
Dr. Teresa Turner
Project #1: Dr. Kostas Alexandridis - Local Ecological Knowledge
This research includes investigating how Local Ecological Knowledge (LEK) of St. Thomas fishing community contributes to our understanding and management of fisheries and spawning aggregations in the Eastern Caribbean region. The work involves in-depth interviews, focus groups and structured observational study of fishing community members and their families, including participatory observations. The research is already funded by VI-EPSCoR and core qualitative and quantitative data gathering and assessment will begin this summer. We would like to request two HBCU-UP undergraduate research assistants to work under Dr. Alexandridis’ supervision and in assistance to the MS student involved in the project during the summer. The tasks for which we request the undergraduate research assistance involve researching historical text, newspapers and photographic archives in libraries and collections in Charlotte Amalie and UVI, assisting in recording and transcribing interview qualitative data, and assisting in archiving and managing bibliographic information. The students will have an opportunity to get familiarized with qualitative methods and data collection techniques, will learn about the fisheries history of the region, and will understand how co-research participatory settings contribute to collective social and societal cohesion. Preferably, we are seeking students with interest and/or background in social sciences.
Project #2: Dr. Kostas Alexandridis - Environmental Conservation Education
This research includes investigating human dimensions in environmental and natural resource resilience and sustainability. Specifically, the research proposes an experimental pilot study investigating how experiential social learning can help achieve semantic social transformations in attitudes, beliefs and behaviors in relation to coral reef conservation efforts. The research aspires to develop advanced techniques and methodologies that would help address the multifaceted nature of environmental and natural resource challenges that the Caribbean region is facing. Upon funding, we would like to request two HBCU-UP undergraduate research assistants to work with the research team (under Dr. Alexandridis’ supervision) during the summer. The tasks to be undertaken by the undergraduate research assistants include assisting in contact and selection of participants in the research experiments, assisting in preparing and conducting an experimental boat trip to a local reef, and retrieving, archiving and organizing online journal articles and references. The students will be learning the basics of an applied participatory research project, will be introduced to the principles of experimental design involving human subjects, and will have a chance to be exposed to human dimensions in environmental and natural resource management. We are seeking students that like to work in social settings, enjoy teamwork settings, and have an interest in environmental conservation.
Project #3: Dr. Alice Stanford - Banana DNA Fingerprinting
Musa acuminata (banana) is widely grown in the Caribbean and in other tropical areas. Over 1000 varieties of bananas are currently in cultivation worldwide. In addition exhibiting morphological diversity, different varieties of banana vary in their susceptibility to disease. Caribbean growers are not always aware of which variety is under cultivation. Identification of varieties currently being grown will allow better planning for emerging diseases, and may encourage growth of a wider number of varieties. Our goal is to create a PCR-based method that will identify a unique DNA fingerprint for each banana variety grown in the Caribbean area. This study tests the usefulness of the Inter Simple Sequence Repeat (ISSR) technique to in developing simple, inexpensive means of identification. Our current results suggest that ISSR markers may lack sufficient variation to create a unique fingerprint for each variety.
Project #4: Dr. Alice Stanford - Population Genetics and Genetic Diversity of Cock’s-spur
Erythrina eggersii (Cock’s-spur) is a native plant of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands; it is currently listed as threatened by IUCN. Habitat destruction (for quarrying and development) has contributed to the plant’s rarity. In order to develop a conservation plan, this study investigates the population genetics and genetic diversity of this plant species. We collected leaf samples from all populations present on the island of Saint John, USVI. DNA samples were amplified using ISSR PCR and separated on 1.5 % agarose gels. We calculated the several molecular diversity indices including proportion of polymorphic genes (P), heterozygosity (H), and genetic distance between populations (Fst). Saint John populations of E. eggersii showed low genetic diversity as well as low genetic distance both within and between populations. This suggests that Saint John populations have experienced a bottleneck effect. The introduction of individuals from Saint Thomas and Puerto Rico may increase the diversity of these populations.
Project #5: Dr. Steve Ratchford – Fireworm Food Location
Hermodice carunculata (Fireworms) appear to be scavengers and opportunistic feeders. A dead fish or crushed sea urchin will quickly be covered by the worms. The means by which fireworms locate dead prey are unknown, but are presumably through chemoreception. Preliminary studies from spring 2010 by the Animal Behavior class failed to show any behavior to support that presumption. Students participating in this study had several critiques of the methodology used in their study and have interest in pursing the question of fireworm food location.
Project #6: Dr. Steven Case - Mobile Robotics and Sensor Networks
In this project, students will assist with the research and development of software tools to facilitate undergraduate research involving mobile robots and wireless sensor networks. Students should have a reasonable background in programming. Strong candidates will also have completed some coursework in networking. This project can accept up to two students.
Project #7: Dr. Steven Case - Real-time Control Systems
In this project, students will assist with the research and development of software tools to facilitate undergraduate research in real-time control systems. Students will be involved in the development of software tools to use digital computer controlled model railroading for undergraduate research and education in real-time control systems. Students should have a reasonable background in programming. Strong candidates will also have an interest in engineering. This project can accept up to two students. Students must be located on St. Croix to participate in this project.
Project #8: Dr. Steven Case - Wireless Networking
In this project, students will participate in a collaboration with Broadband VI to perform research and modeling of emerging wireless network standards to evaluate the performance and stability for application within the U.S. Virgin Islands. Students should have completed some coursework in networking. This project includes potential field work and some physical rigor. This project can accept up to two students. Preference should be given to students located on St. Croix.
Project #9: Dr. Steven Case - Digital Media Distribution
In this project, students will participate in a collaboration with the Research Technology Park to assist with the development of a prototype software infrastructure to evaluate the potential for electronic distribution of regional and cultural multimedia content, such as music and video. Students should have a reasonable background in programming. Strong candidates will also have an interest in either business or music. This project can accept up to two students. Preference should be given to students located on St. Croix.
Project #10: Dr. Steven Case - Visualization of Geospatial Data
In this project, students will perform research and modeling of visualization techniques for geospatial data and related information that is not typically associated with a grid-based coordinate system, such as residential and business addresses in the Virgin Islands. Visualization on mobile devices such as smart phone and tablets is the primary goal. Students should have a reasonable background in programming and strong math skills. This project can accept up to two students.
Project #11: Dr. LaVerne Brown - Shelter Choice of Lobsters
The specific aim of this study is to determine the chemical structure of the chemical cue(s) emitted by spiny lobster that may lead other lobsters to a den. Dr. Steve Ratchford’s previous work determined that, near dawn, spiny lobsters emit a chemical cue that strongly influences shelter choice by other lobsters. A series of spectroscopic analyses led by Brown will identify and characterize chemicals emitted by spiny lobsters only during pre-dawn hours. Student researchers, recruited through and funded by UVI’s Emerging Caribbean Scientists programs, will participate in chemical characterizations.
Project #12: Dr. LaVerne Brown - Traditional Botanical Remedies
Ethnomedical preparations of botanical products are believed to exhibit enhanced therapeutic value and reduced toxicities. In efforts to provide more conclusive evidence of the advantages (or disadvantages) of multi-component traditional preparations over single drug therapies, a systematic phytochemical investigation of the potential synergistic effects assumed in select traditional botanical remedies on the island of St. Thomas in the USVI is planned. Melicoccus bijugatus, Sapindaceae (Genip or Kenip) is commonly used by natives of the USVI for the relief of cough, fever, sore throat, thrush, and tonsillitis. A methanol extract of the leaves of Genip showed moderate antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, and moderate-weak antimicrobial activity against A. faecalis, P. vulgaris, A. globiformis, B. subtilis, M. luteus, M. Phlei. However, the antimicrobial activity of the actual ethnomedical preparations of Genip (decoctions of the roasted seeds, leaves, and pulp) remain unreported in literature. Each of the three commonly used Genip decoctions will be evaluated in this study.
Project #13: Dr. Angela Dikou – Mechanisms of Coral-Algal Interactions
There is currently an on-going debate on whether algal overgrowth of corals is the cause or the consequence of coral mortality; an interaction, which either way, has led to the transition from coral reefs to algal reefs throughout the Caribbean. We will offer the experimental evidence needed to either “convict” or “acquit” algae. We will work on different functional groups of algae and their ability to overgrow live and dead Caribbean coral species. This experiment aims to (i) document the outcome of the direct interaction between different types of functional groups of algae (turf, coralline, fleshy) and selected species of reef corals and (ii) test a few of the proposed mechanisms of direct interaction between algae and reef corals at Brewers Bay, St. Thomas Island.
Project #14: Dr. Douglas Iannucci – Odd Triperfect Number Problem
This research project will answer the question, are there any odd triperfect number? None are known, yet no proof of their nonexistence is known. This research is related to the odd perfect number problem. The odd perfect number problem is most likely the oldest open problem in mathematics today; it dates back to antiquity. Over the years, many conditions necessary for the existence of odd perfect numbers have been proved. For example, it is known today that an odd perfect number, if it exists, must contain at least nine distinct prime divisors. The students will learn more about elementary number theory (and programming) that they thought possible.
Project #15: Dr. Marc Boumedine
Project #16: Mr. Eric Douglas
Project #17: Mr. Eric Douglas
Project #18: Dr. Teresa Turner