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!

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The ARC/ORNL 2018 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute participants include 13 high school teachers and 36 high school students. These 49 participants are from 10 states within the Appalachian region. Four Resident Teachers chaperone the participants. The 2018 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.

2018 ARC High School Summer Institute Participants

Student Name, Home City and State

Maegan Adolph, Jefferson, North Carolina

Noah Aiken, Accident, Maryland

Shane Bays, Gallipolis, Ohio

Noelle Beswick, Maryville, Tennessee

Mariah Bolden, Oakland, Maryland

Alexander Bowman, Maynardville, Tennessee

Colton Briand, Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Nicholas Craven, Corinth, Mississippi

Roger Dixon, Oakland, Maryland

Lia Evans, Tionesta, Pennsylvania

Andrew Gatesman, Lucinda, Pennsylvania

Tiana Gold, Youngstown, Ohio

Baxter Hostetler, Port Matilda, Pennsylvania

A'shauna Howell, Starkville, Mississippi

Destiny Hughes, Knox, Pennsylvania

Allyssa Ippolito, Columbiana, Ohio

Anna Lee, Taylorsville, North Carolina

Hannah Little, Pounding Mill, Virginia

Jacob Lord, Owego, New York

Eirinn Mangan, Arcade, New York

Cierah Manross, Fryburg, Pennsylvania

Samuel Mccullah, Williamsburg, Kentucky

Reilly McDowell, Enon Valley, PA

Kameron Mcgriff, Holly Pond, Alabama

James Meyers, Franklin Furnace, Ohio

Autumn Peck, Campbell, New York

Zackery Reynolds, Cullman, Alabama

Mercedes Snyder, McAlisterville, Pennsylvania

Shay Snyder, Bluff City, Tennessee

Trenton Teague, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Dakota Tiller, Edmonton, KY

Tyler Wade, Zanesville, Ohio

Ashley Walker, Spring City, Tennessee

Mabry Watson, Fleetwood, North Carolina

Kara Williams, New Vienna, Ohio

Elyssa Yonta, Cortland, New York

Teacher Name, City and State

Michael Adam, Starkville, Mississippi

Mary Coulter, Knoxville, Tennessee

John Fisher, Bristolville, Ohio

Kristy Garlitz, Aften, New York

Christy Hall, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina

Dana Hallyburton, Connelly Spg, North Carolina

Karan Linkous, Edmonton, Kentucky

Raymona Pedigo, White Pine, Tennessee

Michelle Polcaro, Binghamton, New York

Kristina Rogers, Muncy, Pennsylvania

Paul Scott, Peebles, Ohio

Adam Steininger Jr., Paxtonville, Pennsylvania

John Swanson, Cherry Creek, New York

Barbi Vena, Summerhill, Pennsylvania

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2018 Projects

View Student Projects | View Teacher Projects

Student Projects

Introduction to data visualization

data visualization teamA simple hand-on and walk through to build a visual analytic based interface using some existing computing packages. Hopefully we get to develop a dashboard to visual/analyze U.S. Census / ACS data. This is for several reasons.

  1. Census data is something that the students would already know a little bit about, so I think it is interesting to them
  2. All of the pieces that are needed already exist; we will use Shiny Widgets and R programming language for this

PAS input person for your Division: Lisa Gorman

ORNL Division: Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

Mentor: Dr Dalton D. Lunga

Facilitator: Loftin Gerberding

Students: Maegan Adolph, Mariah Bolden, Colton Briand, Shay Snyder

Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

Robotics teamRobots 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.

PAS Input Person: Kishia Boyd

ORNL Division: Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

Mentors: Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

Facilitators: Andy Rayfield and James Burns

Students: Alexander Bowman, Roger Dixon, Andrew Gatesman, Tiana Gold, Baxter Hostetler, Allyssa Ippolito, Kameron McGriff, Mabry Watson

Climate Systems Science, Modeling, and Communication

Climate teamClimate systems science (CSS), holds unique challenges in both formal and informal educational settings. CSS is a multi-science at the crossroads of numerous fundamental sciences such as chemistry and physics, thus requiring special skills of its scientists, educators, and communicators. Furthermore, CSS is a socio-scientific topic and is therefore more than a science issue, precipitating vastly different social framings.

The mentors for this workshop will guide participants in activities that will improve their understanding of the components and complexities of climate systems; the roles of experimentation, data collection, and modelling in CSS research; and design of effective public CSS communication.


ORNL Division: Computational Science and Engineering Division; Communications Office

Mentors: Melissa Allen, Bill Cabage

Facilitator: Ross J. Toedte

Students: Noah Aiken, Noelle Beswick, Jacob Lord, Kara Williams

Build a Supercomputer

Supercomputer teamFun with Supercomputers! The Supercomputer Team will learn about computer hardware, network architecture, and network hardware, and building a PC to use as a server. After constructing their own private network, the team will learn about Windows and Linux operating systems and then connect their computers to a real supercomputer housed at ORNL. Each team member will be able to write and run a script program on the supercomputer.

Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

Mentor: Bobby Whitten

Facilitator: Jerry Sherrod

Assistants: Paul Davis and Jessica Boyd

Students: Lia Evans, Anna Lee, Hannah Little, Eirinn Mangan, Samuel McCullah, James Meyers, Dakota Tiller, Ashley Walker

Fiber-Optic Interferometer and its Application to Sensing

Fiber optic teamIn this project, the participants will study the principle of optical interferometer and build a Mach-Zehnder interferometer using optical fibers. Experiments on light interference with different type of light sources will be conducted. As an example of sensing applications, the fiber-optic interferometer will be used to measure the amplitude and frequency of a vibrating object. Through the project, the participants are expected to gain the basic knowledge of light interference, light transmission through optical fibers, light detection, property of laser, as well as the skill of data acquisition and data processing in a computer.

ORNL Division: Research Accelerator Division

Mentor: Yun Liu

Assistants: Dylan Smith, Bing Qi

Students: Nicholas Craven, Reilly McDowell, Autumn Peck, Elyssa Yonta

Designing Experimental Automation for Extreme Environments

Experimental systems teamExperimental condensed matter physics and materials engineering often require the development of new methods of measuring fundamental properties of matter under extreme environments. Since it is often impossible to buy equipment capable of making the precise measurements needed under these conditions, the researcher must design and build his/her own experimental systems.  This project will explore the development of parameter controlling systems (temperature, gas flow rate, resistivity, etc.) for fundamental science experiments (e.g., thin film deposition, physical property measurement) based on low-cost, open-source microcontrollers. Students will have hands-on experience in programming microcontrollers to monitor experimental parameters and to control these parameters using feedback loops. The devices built during this process will then be used in real experiments observing electron conduction characteristics of single crystal correlated oxide films in varied environments.

PAS input person for your Division: Teresa Roe

ORNL Division: Materials Science and Technology Division

Mentor: Zac Ward

Assistants: Qiyang Lu, Liz Skoropata, Changhee Sohn, Yogesh Sharma

Students: A’Shauna Howell, Destiny Hughes, Trenton Teague, Tyler Wade

Printed Electronics for low-cost Sensors and Electronic Systems

printed electronics teamRoll-to-roll (R2R) processing technology development efforts at ORNL are focused on next generation technologies that are scalable, economical, and practical. The opportunities enabled by low-cost R2R manufacturing of full-featured electronics range from medicine and biology to energy technology and space science. The project will expose students to a unique suite of capabilities and expertise at ORNL that are being utilized to accelerate low cost roll-to-roll processing into the production stream. With focus on flexible and printed electronics technology, the students will learn about a) the role of ink-based printing techniques for the fabrication of light-weight and low-cost sensors on flexible substrates, b) advanced thermal processing techniques to realize printed sensors on low temperature substrates, and c) how to take an idea from concept to manufacturing.

ORNL Division: Materials Science & Technology Division

Mentor: Pooran Joshi

Assistant: Yongchao Yu

Students: Shane Bays, Cierah Manross, Zackery Reynolds, Mercedes Snyder

Teacher Projects

3D Printing of High Performance Magnets

3d PrintingThis project is focused on the additive manufacturing techniques to print magnets with complex size and shape. Big Area Additively Manufactured (BAAM) NdFeB bonded magnets with performance comparable to, or better than, magnets of the same composition made using traditional injection molding. Magnetic properties will be measured. Additive manufacturing can now be applied for a wide range of magnetic materials and assemblies. We will review all the additive printing techniques that are suitable for fabricating bonded magnets. This work is supported by the Critical Materials Institute, an Energy Innovation Hub funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.

ORNL Division:

Mentor: Parans Paranthaman

Facilitator: Jim Davis

Teachers: Dana Hallyburton, John Swanson, Paul Scott

Introduction to homology modeling of small peptides and observation of their folding/unfolding behavior using molecular dynamics simulations

homology modeling teamThe visiting group will be introduced to predicting 3D structures of small peptides via template- based homology modeling which will be followed by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to observe the predicted structure evolve over time. To demonstrate the folding/unfolding structure of peptides, MD simulations will be performed at ambient conditions and at a very high temperature, where thermally induced quick unfolding can be achieved. The fundamentals of homology modeling and MD simulations will be discussed in brief. As a case study, we will utilize two small peptides –  a beta hairpin having a known crystal structure and (AAQAA)3 - a disordered peptide. The homology modeling will be performed using graphical interface-based web-server, SWISSMODEL and MD simulations will be carried out using QwikMD plugin that is implemented in Visual Molecular dynamics (VMD) program package and can be run on personal laptops. The MD simulation trajectories will be visualized and analyzed in VMD with the calculation of structure-based quantities such as radius of gyration and dynamical properties such as the making and breaking of hydrogen bonds to allow for a physical interpretation of the peptide structure and its folding/unfolding behavior. 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 as well as processor speed, and as such, the work performed here is directly transferable to the classroom.

ORNL Division: Bioscience

Mentor: Jeremy Smith

Assistants: Michelle Aranha, Utsab Shrestha, Deepa Devarajan, and Sarah Cooper

Teachers: Karan Linkous, Raymona Pedigo, Adam Steininger

Use of molecular cytogenetic tools for the assessment of absorbed radiation dose in humans

Cytogenetic team
  • Dicentric chromosome analysis for ionizing radiation dose assessment
  • Use of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for retrospective biodosimetry
  • Micronuclei analysis for radiation dose assessment and for prediction of inherent genomic instability in humans
  • Analysis of neutrophil alterations for detecting in vivo radiation exposure
  • G2-PCC assay for estimating radiation dose after acute exposure

Summary description of project

Human exposure to either natural or occupational sources of ionizing radiation (IR) has become inevitable since IR is being used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications. Exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions in human cells including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most lethal lesion, which when mis-rejoined, results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) chromosomal aberrations. Since the frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, they serve as biodosimeters for estimating 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 different chromosomal aberrations 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 educate and train people in dicentric chromosome scoring which will increase the surge capacity of potential scorers in case a large number of samples are to be analyzed after radiological or nuclear mass casualty incidents where hundreds and thousands of people are likely to get radiation exposure.



Mentor: Adayabalam S. Balajee

Assistants: Maria Escalona and Terry Ryan

Teachers: Michael Adam, Kristy Garlitz, Christy Hall, Michelle Polcaro

Investigation of lignocellulosic biomass structure

biomass teamTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants 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. 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, 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: Mary Coulter, John Fisher, Barbi Vena, Kristina Rogers

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Scheduled Activities for the ARC/ORNL 2018 High School Summer Math-Science-Technology Institute

Breakout knoxville
Clingman's Dome
Clark Center Park, Oak Ridge, TN
Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo
Smokies Baseball
East Tennessee Historical Society
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Tennessee Riverboat Company
McClung museum
Navitat Knoxville

2018 Closing Event Video

Watch the 2018 Institute Recap Video!

Visit the 2017 ARC Institute Website to see what exciting projects and activities transpired last year!


For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Tyrell

Applications are open for the 2019 Institute! For more information or to apply, click here.

For general inquiries please use form below: