Biology: Phage Genomics Research
Contact: Prof. Deborah Tobiason
All freshman biology students at Carthage receive authentic research experience as part of their introductory biology course, so they gain insight into the process of science from their first semester. In the course Molecules, Cells, and Organisms, each student isolates a bacterial virus called a bacteriophage from soil or water samples, then prepares bacteriophage DNA for sequencing, and examines the virus using an electron microscope. Students get to name the phage they discover and register them in an actinobacteriophage registry.
“Most colleges aren’t even considering doing biology this way. The National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and other science education policy places have been calling for real reforms in the way we teach biology to undergraduates. I would say we are on the cutting edge for how we should be teaching biology.” — Prof. Temple Burling
Space Sciences: Rocket Payloads
Contact: Prof. Kevin Crosby
The space sciences program at Carthage is a nationally recognized undergraduate program that provides students hands-on opportunities in technology development and atmospheric sciences through partnerships with NASA and academic researchers around the world. Students and faculty regularly conduct research aboard NASA’s zero-gravity aircraft, build payloads for NASA sounding rockets, and are currently working to build a new CubeSat for launch in 2018.
“CubeSats provide the entire life cycle experience for space mission design and construction, from concept design, engineering, and reviews, to launch and post-launch operations management. That’s a huge experience that, because of the incredible growth of the space sciences industry, is very valuable to employers.” — Prof. Kevin Crosby
Biology: Bat Ecology
Contact: Prof. Deanna Byrnes
Prof. Deanna Byrnes is currently leading a long-term study of the local bat population. She and her students gather acoustic data using a “bat detector” to identify which species are most abundant in different types of local habitats. They also share their data with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources as part of a citizen-monitoring program to help define the ecological needs of Wisconsin bat species.
Chemistry: Road Salt and the Pike River Watershed
Contact: Prof. Christine Blaine
Prof. Christine Blaine currently involves Carthage students in her study on the impact of road salting on the Pike River Watershed. Her research specifically examines chloride concentrations in water and soil samples due to water runoff from roadways and sidewalks. Students performing research with Prof. Blaine gain experience with environmental sampling techniques, spectroscopic instrumentation, and quantification of trace contaminants in the water. Research results have been presented at the Midstates Consortium and regional and national American Chemistry Society Meetings.
Sociology: Congregations Study
Contact: Prof. Wayne Thompson
Through the Carthage Office for Research and Evaluation Services (CORES), students gain experience in applied research by interviewing pastors of churches nationwide that have separated from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA) since those denominations voted to allow ordination of gay and lesbian clergy. Students assist in analyzing the results to find patterns, with the ability to present findings at regional professional conferences.