Benjamin Boe ’15 and Kathryn Ginsberg ’14 Honored at National Science Conference

December 11, 2013

Murdock College Science Research names 2013 awardees

TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound students Benjamin Boe ’15 and Kathryn Ginsberg ’14 have been recognized for their excellence in science research at the prestigious 2013 Murdock College Science Research Program Conference (MCSRP).

Boe was named the winner of the John Van Zytveld Award in the physical sciences for his presentation “Coupled vibrations between musical drumheads.” Ginsberg was selected as the winner of the Murdock Poster Prize in Environmental Science/Geology for her presentation “Method development for wastewater epidemiology.”

“Benjamin and Kathryn excelled in every way,” wrote Moses Lee, program director of science and research for the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust in a letter to Puget Sound. “In fact both contributed significantly toward the theme of this year’s MCSRP conference and that was, ‘Celebrating and Engaging Scientific Discoveries.’”

The winning projects were selected by a panel of judges and fellow undergraduate researchers. The judges assessed criteria including the students’ communication abilities, their knowledge and careful analysis of the material, and the creativity, organization, and clarity of their project.

Benjamin Boe, who is majoring in physics and minoring in mathematics at Puget Sound, was advised on his research by Rand Worland, associate professor of physics. Ginsberg, a biochemistry major with minors in computer science and mathematics, was advised by Daniel Burgard, associate professor of chemistry.

Both students received financial awards for their projects. Boe’s recognition came with a $1,500 award to be applied toward his educational costs and toward the university’s promotion of undergraduate research. Ginsberg was awarded a $50 gift card.

Boe and Worland’s research investigated the tendency for sound waves from two-headed drums to couple. Specifically Boe looked at how the distance (depth) between the two drumheads affects the degree of coupling that occurs. By modifying the depth of a tom-tom drum and using optical interferometry, Boe determined that coupling occurs across a wide range of drum depths and sound frequencies.

The research project run by Ginsberg and Burgard examined the potential abuse of prescription and non-prescription drugs on college campuses at specific periods during the academic calendar. Using a new wastewater sampling system, the research could help inform practical ways in which college campuses can minimize and deal with such issues.

The award for Boe’s physical sciences presentation is granted by the Murdock Trust in recognition of John Van Zytveld, a champion of undergraduate research and a longtime program director at the trust. The new award for Ginsberg’s environmental science and geology research aims to recognize the talents of undergraduate research students and to enable future growth in the professionalism of poster presentations at the conference.

Press photos of Benjamin Boe and Kathryn Ginsberg are available upon request.
Photos on page: Top right: Benjamin Boe with his science research poster. Above left: Kathyn Ginsberg samples wastewater for her project.

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