Summer 2015 Burnett Research Scholars Grant Recipients

Daniel Batista

Major: Physics and Photonics

Faculty mentor: Dr. Stephen Kuebler

Project title: The optimization of multi-photon direct-laser-writing (DLW) material and development process for spatially-variant photonic crystals (SVPC)

Project summary:

My research consists of the optimization of the multi-photon direct laser writing material and development process for spatially-variant photonic crystals (SVPC). A SVPC is a three dimensional nanostructure that exhibits the phenomena of self-collimation to bend the direction of light into a ninety-degree turn without scattering. Different photosensitive materials will be tested and compared in fabricating SVPC using direct laser writing. Furthermore, solvents will be analyzed after laser exposure to test which combination will be used to remove unexposed materials. A SVPC’s ability to manipulate light into a ninety-degree bend has a potential for practical use in applied photonics.

What is your area of research interest?

The study of Micro-fabrication. I am engaged in optimizing the development process of a photonic crystal that is spatially varied in the micro scale.

How did you get started in undergraduate research?

I was always intrigued in the research that is going on in the world and as soon as I was accepted into UCF I began to search what UCF was developing. I narrowed down my interests and contacted all the principle investigators that oversaw that research. I chose to go with Dr. Kuebler's group since I was given a much deeper insight in the investigation of what is Micro-fabrication. Dr. Kuebler propounded that I study under one of the undergraduates Jennifer Digaum to further my understanding of optics and his 3D laser printing.  

How will the Burnett Research Scholars grant help you to achieve the goals of your research project?

The grant shows my research group that I am motivated and ready to contribute to the group to help further this project. It will also lessen the burden on the group's budget on expensive materials that I will be using to further my own research project. I am also very thankful towards the Burnett's Research Scholars grant given how expensive school can be.

What are your future academic and professional goals?

I plan to continue to be affiliated in research for many years to come and further my own profession in the future as an optical physicists. This research is helping me further understand the necessities for a higher education and enroll in graduate school.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?

Understanding what is going on behind the scenes in research. I see it expanding my world and helps me relate it to undergraduate classes and understanding why it is required. It is helping me shape my own future.

 

Robert Bauer

Major: Mathematics and Physics

Faculty mentor: Dr. Costas Efthimiou

Project title: The Cayley-Klein Geometrics of n Dimensions

Project summary:

My project is concerned with the so-called Cayley-Klein Geometries. In particular, I seek to generalize the Cayley-Klein Geometries to any dimension n utilizing useful algebras. Moreover, I will focus on a popular partial differential equation, the Schrödinger Equation for the Hydrogen Atom, in the settings of the 2-dimensional Cayley-Klein Geometries.

What is your area of research interest?

Currently, my research interest includes non-Euclidean Geometry, Generalized Complex Number Systems, and Partial Differential Equations. 

How did you get started in undergraduate research?

I first got involved in undergraduate research in the Summer of 2014 when I was approached by my mentor, Dr. Costas Efthimiou, and given a research topic. I first met Dr. Efthimiou in the Spring 2014 when I took a Matrix and Linear Algebra course from him. I had performed very well in the class, and I enjoyed the material thoroughly. In the proceeding Summer, I decided to take a Techniques in Problem Solving course from Dr. Efthimiou, and that is when he told me that he saw potential in me. From then on, Dr. Efthimiou has given me invaluable guidance throughout my undergraduate career. In the Fall of 2014, I applied to the Research and Mentoring Program and was accepted into the program in October under the supervision of Dr. Efthimiou.

How will the Burnett Research Scholars grant help you to achieve the goals of your research project?

As a Burnett Research Scholar, I have been given one of the best opportunities for attaining some of my most cherished goals; namely, to publish and present my work as an undergraduate researcher. Funding aside, the Burnett Research Scholars program gives me a structured way to pursue my research interest by requiring me to submit progress reports and to present at Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. Also, as Burnett Research Scholar, I have strengthened my efforts towards my long term goal of becoming a professional mathematician by adding invaluable weight to my curriculum vitae.

What are your future academic and professional goals?

I plan to attend graduate school so that I may achieve my goal of attaining a doctorate in mathematics. In the process of obtaining a Ph.D., I also plan to become involved in teaching so that I may become a professor at an academic institution.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?

In my opinion, the experience is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher. Becoming involved in undergraduate research was the one of the most important and life changing decisions I have ever made. For one, I now dedicate all of my efforts towards my education and my self-development. Before, I was not only a full-time student, but also a part-time employee in a company that didn't support my interest. For two, my mathematical skills have become broadened and more refined. I have become a better student because I engage in an environment that nurtures my academic development. Lastly, by engaging in undergraduate research, I am preparing myself for a career in academia as a mathematician.

 

Amanda Hornberger

Major:  Musical Theatre

Faculty mentor: Ms. Tara Snyder

Project title: How-To For American Musical Theatre Artists Looking to Work in Europe

Project summary:

My goal is to write a how-to manual for musical theatre students wishing to work abroad, particularly in Germany. For my project, I will interview professionals in the musical theatre industry in Germany. This research will help to prepare me for the International Performing Arts Institute, a three-week intensive for musical theatre students in Kiefersfelden, Germany. While attending the institute, I will keep a journal of insights and experiences I have while I'm there. When I return, I will work with my faculty mentor, Professor Tara Snyder, to develop a culminating bilingual cabaret performance. I will also present my research at the IUGTE Conference for musical theatre professionals in Austria in December 2015.

What is your area of research interest?

My areas of research are musical theatre and the German language and culture.

How did you get started in undergraduate research?

I realized that there are not many resources out there to help American musical theatre students like me make a career in Germany. In looking to discover ways to achieve my dream, I wanted to be able to assist fellow students in their journeys abroad, and so I decided to research and write a piece that could fill the current void in regards to this topic.

How will the Burnett Research Scholars grant help you to achieve the goals of your research project?

Traveling abroad and participating in the International Performing Arts Institute are both expensive propositions. This grant will help to make the travel and tuition expenses more affordable.

What are your future academic and professional goals?

My future professional goal is to work in Germany as a German-speaking performer. Germany is a hot market for American performers right now, especially those who speak the languge, and I want to create a career that I can support myself on that is creatively stimulating and a positive force in my community. Academically, I would like to become fluent in the German language and achieve excellence in acting, singing and dancing.

In your opinion, what is the best thing about being an undergraduate researcher?

The best thing about being an undergraduate researcher is getting to explore a topic that I am passionate about alongside a supportive faculty member. It gives me the chance to learn more about my craft, myself and the beautiful people in Germany.