FIVE students accepted to prestigious Physics Research Summer programs!

Sarah Rambo and Alexa Beyer

Pictured from left: Sarah (Abby) Rambo, B.S. Physics & Mathematics ’23; Alexa Beyer, B.S. Astronomy & Physics ‘24


Each year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) funds research opportunities for undergraduate students through the REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program at universities nationwide. Each site typically hosts approximately 10 students each summer to participate in full-time research with a faculty mentor and often participate in seminars and present their work at the end of the summer. REUs are extremely competitive and prestigious. 

We are thrilled to share that five students majoring in Physics have been accepted to participate in an REU this summer. Some of our students will be close to home while others will be across the nation, but all of them will receive world class research experiences. Our students will be at the following universities: 
•    Alexa Beyer – Michigan State University
•    Jonathon George – Miami University of Ohio
•    Patricia McMillin – University of Wisconsin – Madison
•    Sarah Rambo – University of Pittsburgh (READ MORE about Sarah in our Student Spotlight)
•    Aaron Weiser – Florida State University

We caught up with Sarah & Alexa to hear more about the experience and how it will impact their future goals!

What will you be working on this summer?
Sarah: I will be working under Dr. Angela Gronenborn. Her research combines nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy with Biophysics, Biochemistry, and Chemistry to investigate cellular processes at the molecular and atomic levels in relation to human disease. I believe we will specifically be doing F-Paramagnetic work on proteins and relaxation measurements.

Alexa: I do not yet know the specifics of which project I will be working on or who I will be working under. 

What are you hoping to gain from this experience?
Sarah: I am hoping to solidify my interests in medical physics and gain clarity on where I want to attend graduate school.

Alexa:   I am hoping to gain experience in research and hopefully gain insight into which career paths I may want to pursue in the future. Additionally, I am just hoping to have fun, gain new friends and form new relationships all while learning more about physics.

How does this REU align with your future career goals?
Sarah: My current career goal is to become a medical physicist. This REU program is for biophysics and will relate to research I would be conducting as a medical physicist.

Alexa: Right now, I am looking towards a career in research once I earn my PhD in Astrophysics and I am hoping this REU will help guide me in a direction I may want to pursue.

What have you done at YSU to help you prepare for this opportunity?
Sarah: I have done some biophysics research with Dr. Sturrus which has taught me so much about what research is like and is what made me interested in medical physics in the first place.

Alexa: I have had great professors in all my classes leading up to know. All my previous physics teachers have inspired me to want to learn more and pursue the field further.

What aspect about this REU are you most excited about?
Sarah: I am most excited to be working and learning alongside peers and mentors with similar career goals and interests as me.

Alexa: I am most excited to apply the knowledge I have so far learned in my classes into real research.

What is your advice to future students interested in REUs?
Sarah: Apply to more programs than you think you need to. The applications are long to fill out but try not to get discouraged because it is worth it to apply to as many programs as possible. I also think it is important to keep your options and interests open when looking into the different programs.

Alexa: Just do it. Apply to as many as you can. It never hurts to put yourself out there and hopefully you end up somewhere you can learn and grow.

At YSU, who has helped you become successful?
Sarah: Dr. Sturrus, Dr. Crescimanno, Dr. Priour, Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Madsen were all super helpful and gave me so much advice towards REU applications, and just planning for my future in general. I appreciate them all so much and they all have a large part in my academic success and getting accepted.

Alexa: Dr. Crescimanno and Dr. Sturrus have been very helpful to me in finding opportunities for this summer in research. I am very grateful in the guidance and support they have given me this year.