WSU Tri-Cities presents Chancellor’s Summer Scholars

RICHLAND, Wash. — Three undergraduate students were awarded research grants from Washington River Protection Solutions this summer as part of the Chancellor’s Summer Scholars Program at Washington State University Tri-Cities.

The Summer Scholars Program offers students the opportunity to work collaboratively with a faculty mentor, developing skills to prepare them for a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) or STEM-related fields.

The 2015 Summer Scholars include:

• Demi Galindo, who is co-mentored by assistant clinical professor Elly Sweet and assistant professor Jim Cooper in the School of Biological Sciences, received $3,000 for a developmental genetics project. Galindo is a pre-med student and her project is part of a larger group effort to achieve a better understanding of human developmental disorders that result in skull deformities.

• Joseph Traverso, mentored by assistant professor Changki Mo in the department of mechanical engineering, received $3,000 to pursue his interest in robotics and prosthetics. Traverso will build a robotic arm and explore different functionalities of the device in preparation for a graduate career in human machine interfaces.

• Christopher Smith, a biological sciences major, is being mentored in an interdisciplinary project by associate professor Bin Yang in the department of biosystems engineering. Smith received $3,000 to develop an efficient method for aerobic bacterial breakdown of industrial waste produced from biomass conversion processes.

Two additional undergraduates were also named Chancellor Summer Scholars and are being supported by grants from the National Science Foundation.

• Logan Wickham just completed his freshman year and is mentored by assistant professor Nikos Voulgarakis in the department of mathematics. Logan is exploring his interest in computer science and mathematics in a project that models nanoscale fluid-solid interfaces.
• Jesus Madrigal, biological sciences, is mentored by associate professor Xiao Zhang in a project to investigate why some biomass is resistant to enzymes used to break it down.


Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities, public relations specialist, 509-372-7333,