Welcome to the

ARC/ORNL 2016 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute!

Here you can learn about the students and teachers in this summer’s program, review information about the projects and find pictures of participants “in action.” Information will be updated frequently, so check back often for more!

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ARC Region Map


The ARC/ORNL 2016 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute participants include 17 high school teachers and 35 high school students. These 52 participants are from 13 states within the Appalachian region. Four Resident Teachers chaperone the participants. The 2016 participants are distributed into 10 research teams: four of the research teams are comprised of teachers, and six teams are comprised of students. Team members generally do not know each other initially, but friendships become established over the two-week research experience.

2016 ARC High School Summer Institute Participants

Student Name, Home City and State

Tanner Bailey, Wilkesboro, NC


Jarrett Bostic, Richlands, VA

Corey Bray, Holly Pond, AL


Cole Brewer, Richmond, KY

Caleb Cantrell, Columbus, NC


Bryan Epperson, Whitesburg, KY

Larry Herman, Millers Creek, NC


Derek Hutchinson, Tazewell, VA

Aniah Ingram, Tuscaloosa, AL


Amber Johnson, Welch, WV

Andrea Jordan, Rockford, AL


Jared Klemm, Cumberland, MD

William Lawson, Maryville, TN


Patrick Lawson, Richlands, VA

Nichole Moore, Ridgway, PA


Andrea Morgan, Rockford, AL

Rodney Musick Welch WV


Gavin Nelson Hawley PA

Jade Noah, New Tazewell, TN


Garett Nunley, Tazewell, VA

Joseph Palmateer, Yorkshire, NY


Alexia Paxton, Lexington, VA

Robert Perry, Williamsburg, KY


Jennifer Salazar-Sanchez, West Jefferson, NC

Daisy Sawyer, Asheville, NC


Alaric Scott, Knoxville, TN

Bethany Sears, Burkesville, KY


Austin Selman, Holly Pond, AL

Christian Sharpe, Williamsburg, KY


Winter Sparacin, Schoharie, NY

Uriah Weeks, Nelsonville, OH


Christian York, Holly Pond, AL


Teacher Name, City and State

Julie Asiello, Campbell, NY


Laura Banks, Stanford, NY

Jamie Bartholomew, Hawley, PA


Leah Carmichael, Rockford, AL

Telia Gillespie, Loretto, TN


Ashley Gilomen, Valley, AL

Christopher Hudson, Welch, WV


Sarah Johnson, Kingston, TN

Alaina Kilpatrick, Lisbon, OH


Stephanie Kimberlin, Milford, OH

Danielle Lee, Welch, WV


Jeremy Pease, Jim Thorpe, PA

Amy Raught, Port Allegany, PA


Darlene Rutledge, Smithvill, MS

Neil Snedeker, Roxbury, NY


Kathleen Zakrzewski, Salamanca, NY

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View Student Projects | View Teacher Projects

Student Projects

Measuring the force and energy imparted by a high heat flux plasma

Biewer groupThe Prototype Material Plasma Exposure Experiment (Proto-MPEX) is a linear, magnetically confined plasma production device, utilizing a helicon antenna. The plasma column interacts with a material target at the end of the device, creating plasma-material interaction conditions that are relevant to the conditions that are expected in future fusion reactors. Moreover, helicon antenna plasma sources have been proposed as propulsion devices for spacecraft.

It has been observed that in some circumstances the Proto-MPEX plasma exerts sufficient force on the target plate to cause the target to move/recoil. The ARC students will help devise and implement a ballistic target/probe which will be inserted into the plasma. The probe response will be calibrated by the students prior to insertion, using scales, thermocouples, accelerometers, and fast camera imaging. The project will culminate by inserting the ballistic probe into Proto-MPEX plasmas and measuring the force that is exerted on it, as a function of the helicon power of the plasma.

ORNL Division: Fusion & Materials for Nuclear Systems

Mentor: Theodore Biewer

Assistants: Guin Shaw, Holly Ray, and Missy Showers

Students: Caleb Cantrell, Jared Klemm, Alex Musick, Garett Nunley, Jennifer Salazar Sanchez, Daisy Sawyer

Magnetic levitation

Lee groupThis project will explore the principle of magnetic levitation, which utilizes magnetic fields to suspend an object in the air supporting materials to withstand the gravitational force. Assembly of a magnetic rail will be conducted to explore the magnetic levitation phenomenon with an oxide-based high Tc superconductor.

ORNL Division: Materials Science and Technology Division

Mentor: Ho Nyung Lee

Assistants: Zac Ward, Tony Wong, John Nichols, and Ryan Desautels

Students: Cole Brewer, Patrick Lawson, Jade Noah, Lexie Paxton

Introduction to Visualization

Lunga groupA simple hand-on and walk through to build a visual analytic based interface using some existing computing packages. We will develop a dashboard to visual/analyze U.S. Census / ACS data.

ORNL Division: Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

Mentor: Dalton D. Lunga

Students: Austin Herman, Derek Hutchinson, Austin Selman, Christian Sharpe

Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

Varma groupRobots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot. The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory. Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing. The students will also program an actual FANUC Robot arm used in Manufacturing.

ORNL Division: Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

Mentors: Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

Facilitators: Carl Mallette and Andy Rayfield

Students: Tanner Bailey, Jarrett Bostic, Corey Bray, Tristin Brewer, Bryan Epperson, Niah Ingram, Amber Johnson, Alijah Lawson, Andrea Morgan, Gavin Nelson, Joe Palmateer, Ally Will

Build a Supercomputer

whitten groupStudents will build a supercomputer! Well, almost. Supercomputers typically use thousands of processors running in parallel to solve problems in science, finance, and other areas. They will build a smaller supercomputer to gain insight and understanding in how supercomputers are organized and then how to program them. Students will build and use software to configure a Beowulf cluster using ordinary computers. Areas that will be covered during this project are:

  • Computing basics
  • Computer networking
  • Linux operating system
  • Computer programming

Project review and summary

Students will be required to answer the research question: "In what year would the supercomputer we build be considered the world's fastest supercomputer?" Students will be given classroom-style lectures in addition to hands-on assignment to enforce topics discussed.

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

Mentor: Robert Whitten

Facilitator: Jerry Sherrod

Assistants: Nick Csercsevits and Clinton Carbonell

Students: Andrea Jordan, Nichole Moore, Rob Perry, II, Alaric Scott, Winter Sparacin, Chaz Weeks, Rachel Yoe, Christian York

Teacher Projects

Use of cytogenetic tools for the assessment of ionizing radiation induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes

Balajee groupExposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most critical lesion, which when mis-repaired or mis-rejoined results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) aberrations. Since the frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, these aberrations are being used to predict the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory at Oak Ridge, micronucleus and dicentric chromosome assays are being routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of dicentric chromosomes in blinded lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to analyze genome-wide distribution of IR induced symmetrical chromosomal aberrations (translocations) using the state of the art technique, multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH). Translocations are stable exchanges between different chromosomes that have the potential to drive cancer development processes. Our main goal is to increase the surge capacity of cytogenetic scorers to meet the requirements of radiation/nuclear mass casualty events where tens and thousands of blood samples need to be analyzed for radiation dose assessment.


Mentor: Adayabalam S. Balajee

Assistant: Maria Escalona

Teachers: Julie Asiello, Laura Banks, Leah Carmichael, Chris Hudson, Amy Raught

Investigation of Biomass Structure to Improve Biofuels

Evans groupTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls. The project goal is to find better, faster ways to obtain biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthetic biomass. Algae and plants are produced under controlled lab conditions to obtain deuterium-labeled biomass samples for neutron scattering and NMR experiments. Labeling with deuterium, the naturally occurring, stable heavy isotope of hydrogen, is a standard method for neutron scattering, NMR, and kinetic research. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of trees, algae, duckweed, and grasses for these structural studies. Light microscopy will be used to examine cellular structure at the micrometer level. Photosynthetic activity will be evaluated by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences Division

Mentors: Barbara R. Evans

Teachers: Jamie Bartholomew, Danielle Lee, Jeremy Pease, Kate Zakrzewski

Synthesis of Novel Lithium Fluoride- Europium - doped: Calcium Fluoride Scintillators for Neutron Detection

Parans groupThis research project will be conducted in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Materials Chemistry Group and is designed to allow participants to better understand processes required to conduct a research project on scintillators for neutron detection. The teachers will experience the multifaceted levels of conducting research. They will be given a research assignment and work with a research scientist to understand the required background, processes, and safety procedures. Along with learning to apply many scientific concepts to a real-world problem, they will learn laboratory skills which will enrich and enhance their teaching when they return to their classrooms. In addition, during the two-week program, the teachers will meet other researchers within the Group and Laboratory community and learn about other ORNL projects.

ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences Division

Mentor: M. Parans Paranthaman

Facilitator: James R. Davis

Teachers: Annette Gillespie, Ashley Gilomen, Sarah Johnson, Stephanie Kimberlin

Crystal Structure of the Protein Lysozyme followed by a Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Smith and Meilleur groupThe group will crystallize the protein lysozyme, collect x-ray diffraction data, solve the crystal structure and run a molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulation. Crystallography gives a static picture while MD reveals the protein dynamics. We will use off the shelf grocery store products to crystallize lysozyme. The UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics will assist our group in setting up an MDS or molecular dynamics simulation. Our group will then be able to take the experiment back to their classrooms. This project, while very advanced a short time ago, can now be performed at the high school level due to advances in current technologies and computer power.

ORNL Division: Neutron Sciences Directorate and UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics

Mentors: Flora Meilleur and Jeremy Smith

Facilitator:Brian Hingerty

Assistants: Hector Velazquez, John Eblen and Adam Green

Teachers: Rebekah Durham, Alaina Kilpatrick, Darlene Rutledge, Neil Snedeker

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Scheduled Activities for the ARC/ORNL 2016 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute

Cades Cove Heritage Tours
Life Development Center Ropes Course
Clark Center Park, Oak Ridge, TN
Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo
East Tennessee Historical Society
Smokies Baseball
American Museum of Science and Energy
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Tennessee Riverboat Company
McClung museum

2016 Closing Event Video

Visit the 2015 ARC Institute Website to see what exciting projects and activities transpired last year!


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Tyrell