Welcome to the

ARC/ORNL 2017 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!

  • ARC logo
  • ORNL logo
  • ORAU logo
Read More

ARC Region Map


The ARC/ORNL 2017 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute participants include 16 high school teachers and 32 high school students. These 48 participants are from 10 states within the Appalachian region. Four Resident Teachers chaperone the participants. The 2017 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.

2017 ARC High School Summer Institute Participants

Student Name, Home City and State

Daniel Bohl, Lynchburg, OH

Marissa Brown, Dandridge, TN

Molly Campbell, Whitley County, KY

Jared Clemons, Nelsonville, OH

Joseph Coffey, Mount Vernon, KY

Lily Cope, New Tazewell, TN

Anna Cristini, Ridgway, PA

Ben Culp, Midland, PA

Isaac Fugate, New Tazewell, TN

Gabby Fye, Saint Marys, PA

Kaitlyn Griffin, Holly Pond, AL

Martuise Hansbury, Welch, WV

Donald Hansbury, Welch, WV

Caegan Huffman, Millers Creek, NC

Dexton Jones, Holly Pond, AL

Eliza Krizmanich, Edinboro, PA

Tay Lathan, Okolona, MS

Molly Mallicoat, Tazewell, TN

Kiarra McCloud, Hawley, PA

Langdon Messer, Williamsburg, KY

Victoria Mitchem, Bassett, VA

Haythi Myint, Ithaca, NY

Sharee Riggs, Wetumpka, AL

Lydia Sexton, Sunbright, TN

Shaun Sexton, Holly Pond, AL

Carter Smith, Valley, AL

Blaize Stumbo, Nelsonville, OH

Laramie Toliver, Sparta, NC

Christopher Towery, Morganton, NC

LeeAnne Williams, Stamford, NY

Jared Wilson, Williamsburg, KY

Joseph Woods, Winona, MS

Teacher Name, City and State

Tracy Barnett, Tremont, MS

Lisa Bircher, East Palestine, OH

Anthony Canestaro, Cortland, NY

James Colbert, Winona, MS

Larry Cook, Yorkshire, NY

Ken Craig, Sparta, TN

Bridget Kennedy, Franklin, PA

Don Kress, Yorkshire, NY

Paul McIntyre, Wyalusing, PA

Barb Melby, Owego, NY

Freddie Napier, Pikeville, KY

Debbie Potter, Bradshaw, WV

Kelly Russo, Cortland, NY

Bonnie Sansenbaugher, East Palestine, OH

Jim Taylor, Manchester, KY

Scott Wilson, Sparta, TN

Read More

2018 Projects

View Student Projects | View Teacher Projects

Student Projects

KBase: Systems Biology Knowledgebase – Bioenergy Crops

Kbase groupKBase is an integrated software and data platform designed to meet the grand challenge of systems biology – predicting and designing biological function on a range of scales, from the biomolecular to the ecological. Users can perform large-scale analyses and combine multiple lines of evidence to model plant and microbial physiology and community dynamics.

The students will study a set of microbes that have been sequenced and uploaded into KBase. The idea will be to map out particular pathways of interest, document all of the pathways, and map which exist in which microbe. We will then see what is possibly predicted and could be validated by inspection. In particular Poplar trees will be studied which is a focused Bioenergy crop.

The students will use KBase to accomplish the objective, learn biology and the use of KBase and provide feedback on the use of KBase to the mentors. The students will also tour a Greenhouse where a Poplar tree is growing and visit a microscopy lab.

ORNL Division: Biosciences Division

Mentors: Bob Cottingham and Ben Allen

Facilitator: Brian Hingerty

Assistants: Meghan Drake, Dan Jacobson, Jenny Morrell-Falvey, Dale Pelletier

Students: Molly Mallicoat, Haythi Myint, Victoria Mitchem, Sharee Riggs, Lydia Sexton, Blaize Stumbo

Smart thermochromic Windows

Smart thermochromic Windows groupThis project will explore the principle of smart windows via thermochromic effect, which dynamically control the amount of light transmission in response to outdoor temperature and solar radiation. A simple photodetector will be fabricated to measure the change in transmittance through a smart window upon exposed to a heat source. Vanadium dioxide thin film coated glass, which undergoes an insulator-to-metal transition (IMT) upon heating near room temperature will be used as a smart window. The IMT behavior will be utilized to adjust tinting with window surface temperature, and the photodetector fabricated will be used to measure the light transmittance change upon IMT.

ORNL Division: Materials Science and Technology Division

Mentor: Honyung Lee

Assistants: Zac Ward, Amanda Huon, Changhee Sohn, Ryan Destales, Yogesh Sharma, John Nichols

Students: Molly Campbell, Martuise Hansbury, Carter Smith, Christopher Towery

Introduction to Visualization

Visualization GroupThis project is a hands-on 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. We will use Shiny Widgets and R programming language for this.

ORNL Division: Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

Mentor: Dr. Dalton D. Lunga

Facilitator: Loftin Gerberding

Students: Jared Clemons, Caegan Huffman, Dexton Jones, Carltavion Lathan

Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

Robotic Systems 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: Andy Rayfield and James Burns

Students: Daniel Bohl, Joseph Coffey, Gabriella Fye, Kaitlyn Griffin, Elizabeth Krizmanich, Kiarra McCloud

Introduction to High Altitude Ballooning

Ballooning Group ShotStudents will learn about High Altitude Ballooning! In this class, we will learn why we send balloons into the stratosphere and what we can learn from them. Students will learn what a payload is and how to build one along with the necessary tools involved. In the second week, students will be launching a balloon at Pellissippi State Community College where they will learn to setup and launch a balloon into the stratosphere! We will also learn how to run simulations determining where the balloon lands and how to retrieve them. Lastly, we will go over how the students can start their own balloon project or club in their local school and communities.

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

Mentor: Robert Whitten

Facilitator: Nick Csercsevitz

Assistants: Sarah Graham and Seth Giles

Students: Marissa Brown, Ben Culp, Isaac Fugate, Jared Wilson, Joseph Woods

Build a Supercomputer

Build a Supercomputer Group shotStudents 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

Students will be required to answer the research question: "In what year would the supercomputer we build be considered the world's fastest supercomputer?"

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

Mentor: Robert Whitten

Facilitator: Jerry Sherrod

Assistants: Paul Davis and Jessica Boyd

Students: Lilyanna Cope, Anna Cristini, Donald Hansbury, Langdon Messer, Shawn Sexton, Laramie Toliver, Leeanne Williams

Teacher Projects

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

Molecular group shotExposure 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: Lisa Bircher, James Colbert, Bridget Kennedy, Barb Melby, Debbie Potter

Investigation of Biomass Structure to Improve Biofuels

Biofuels 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

Mentor: Barbara R. Evans

Teachers: Freddie Napier, Kelly Russo, Bonnie Sansenbaugher

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

group shotThis 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

Mentor: M. Parans Paranthaman

Facilitator: Jim Davis

Teachers: Tracy Barnett, Don Kress, Paul McIntyre, Scott Wilson

Introduction to Molecular Dynamics Simulations for Proteins and Protein Folding/Unfolding

group shotIn the time frame available the group will visualize crystal structure of the Ubiquitin protein and run molecular dynamics simulations (MD) to relax the structure. Following brief introduction, two additional simulations will be performed. These additional simulations will include: 1) a short steered-MD simulation of the folding and unfolding of the de novo peptide Chignolin, and 2) a high-temperature unfolding simulation of Chignolin and/or Ubiquitin. Analysis of the MD trajectories generated from the unfolding/folding simulations of Chignolin will then be performed using a special interface to the VMD software package, specifically designed for high-school students (VMDlite), and simple python scripts. This project, while previously computationally demanding, can now be performed on desktop and laptop computers at the high school level due to advances in MD simulation software implementation and computer power, and as such the work performed here can be directly transferable to the classroom.

ORNL Division: Biosciences

Mentor: Jeremy Smith

Assistants: Adam Green, John Eblen, Rupesh Agarwal, and Micholas Smith

Teachers: Anthony Canestaro, Larry Cook, Ken Craig, Jim Taylor

Read More


Scheduled Activities for the ARC/ORNL 2017 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute

Cades Cove Heritage Tours
Navitat Knoxville
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

2017 Closing Event Video

Watch the 2017 Institute Recap Video!

Visit the 2016 ARC Institute Website to see what exciting projects and activities transpired last year!


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Tyrell