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15 Eberly undergraduate students awarded Erickson Discovery Grants

17 June 2021

Fifteen undergraduate students from the Eberly College of Science have been awarded Erickson Discovery Grants to cover costs related to undergraduate research.

The Erickson Grant program is administered by the Office of Undergraduate Education and helps cover the costs of research such as supplies, materials, books, software and travel for the purposes of data collection. The grant can be used for all facets of scholarship and the creative process, including conceptualization, proposal writing, identification and implementation of methods and communication of results. All projects are conducted under the supervision of faculty. While the project should be primarily the student’s own work, it can be a part of a larger faculty member’s research.

The program is named in honor of Rodney A. Erickson, the 17th president of Penn State.

This year’s Erickson Grant recipients in the college are:

  • Shravan Asthana, “Investigating the Role of RBM8a in Synapse Formation — A Glial Lens,” biology
  • Harshraj Bandyopadhyay, “Study of localized cooling of Photomultiplier Tubes using Thermoelectric Cooling devices,” physics
  • Eilene B. Deng, “Identification of Regions of DSIF Involved in NELF Recruitment,” biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Molly Ehrig, “Effect of Signaling Molecules on Strain Diversity of the Euprymna-Vibrio Symbiosis,” biology
  • Geneva Flarend, “Examining the Effects of Stress on Opioid Use Behaviors,” biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Anna Foltz, “Gene Trapping in Drosophila melanogaster,” biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Sindy Liu, “Impact of pH on Phase-Separated Droplets as RNA Compartments,” chemistry
  • Jacob Moyer, “Somatostatin Neuropeptide, A Potential Therapeutic for Binge Drinking Behavior and Anxiety,” biochemistry and molecular biology
  • Jack Piazza, “Investigating the Relationship Between Algorithmic Randomness and Uniform Distribution Modulo One," mathematics
  • Maria Smereka, “Optimizing the AggTag Fluorogenic Detection Method with SNAP- and Sortase-tags,” neurobiology
  • Olivia Tancredi, “Investigating the Effects of Nanoparticle Surface Chemistry on Charge Transfer and Photocatalytic Reactivity ,” chemistry
  • Zhijie Wang, “Effect of Hofmeister Ions on Optical Properties of Rhodamine 6G,” chemistry
  • Lauren Willett, “Interpreting Young Stellar Object Accretion Signatures from the VIRUS Spectrograph,” astronomy and astrophysics
  • Tanner Wolf, “Ring Opening Metathesis Polymerization of Sterically-Hindered Cyclophanes,” chemistry
  • Grant Zemanek, “Can Habitat Management Help Non-Target Species?” biology

Applying for an Erickson Discovery Grant

Details on the Erickson Discovery Grant can be found at the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring website. Applications typically open in October and close in February. Grant awardees are notified late in the spring semester.

The Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education is the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at