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Bethel students scatter for research and internship experiences

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – For 22 Bethel College students, summer will be a time to delve into their subject matter even more, as they complete research and internships in areas related to their majors.

Junior biology majors Chelsea Robertson, Newton, and Blaire Mayhue, North Newton, will continue their work on the prairie restoration project adjacent to campus.

Robertson, who has been working on this project since her freshman year, says she feels the project is a good match for her area of study. Although she’s not sure what the exact focus of her study will be this summer, she says she expects it to include “looking at what species composition is best for prairie restoration.”

While the results will be used in her senior seminar, the study’s implications go much further. “Ecological restoration of ecosystems all over the world is going to be necessary to preserve the biodiversity of our world,” explains Robertson. “I greatly value the chance to work with this.”

The business department has nine students completing internships at the senior level this summer.

Evan Fast, senior from Goessel, will learn about advertising while working at Sullivan, Hidgon & Sink, a Wichita advertising agency.

Fast chose SHS because of the agency’s strong reputation. “I wanted to work for a company that would give me a broad range of marketing and advertising experience, and SHS seems like a great fit,” he says, adding, “Working on a client-based team, I will also be able to see an advertising campaign developed from the ground up.”

Kristina Graber, junior from Sioux Falls, S.D., is working at Sanford Health Plan in Sioux Falls. She will be focusing on insurance management.

Graber says she hopes this internship will help her determine her specific areas of interest within the business profession and that she is interested in seeing the connection between theory and practice.

“Along with my business major, I am working on a psychology minor and a conflict resolution certificate,” says Graber. “I am looking forward to observing how these areas of study interact in the workplace.”

Tyler Schroeder, senior from Goessel, is interning in event management and marketing at Hartman Arena in Park City.

Brittany Voth, junior from Goessel, is interning at South Dakota Achieve in Sioux Falls, a non-profit organization that finds innovative ways for people with disabilities to achieve their dreams, with a focus on human resource management.

Calvin Wenger, junior from Hesston, will complete an internship at the Ottawa Cooperative, with a focus on marketing, accounting and technology.

Wenger is looking forward to gaining “a ton of experience and knowledge from this upcoming experience,” he says. While working at the Ottawa Coop, he expects to be doing “everything from payroll to updating employee flyers to day-to-day management and accounting activities.”

Other business majors completing internships include Krista Hostetler, junior from West Liberty, Ohio, at Habitat for Humanity in Anchorage, Alaska; Jeremy Voth, senior from Hillsboro, at First Bank of Newton; and Kaitlin Claassen, junior from Elmira, Ore. Claassen is at West Lane Technical Learning Center in Elmira, an online charter school for high school students, working with the marketing consultant to design a marketing plan and assist with budget planning and advertising.

Dana Daugharthy, senior from Iola, will conduct research in chemistry in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) with the University of Kansas Department of Chemistry.

“I will be working with Dr. Jon Tunge,” explains Daugharthy, “and will be looking to develop a new and more efficient pathway to develop various products.” He also sees this as a good opportunity to check out KU as a possible graduate school option for after he finishes his degree at Bethel next year.

From the physics/astronomy department, Matthew Hershberger, senior from Clay Center, will complete research in the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network summer REU program at the University of Colorado, Boulder, while David Daugharthy, senior from Iola, will research variable stars using differential photometry techniques, investigating the light curves of cataclysmic variable and other short period variable stars.

“My summer research topic is Fabricating Mechanically Adjustable Single-Molecule Electrical Contacts,” says Hershberger. “In lay terms this means ‘making wires that are one molecule big that can be switched between touching and not touching by using a machine to adjust the position of the wire.’

“My specific part of the project will be using electron beam lithography to make the wires. Electron beam lithography is similar to the artistic lithography, but on a smaller scale and using electrons to make the design.”

Through this program, Hershberger says he hopes to learn about more advanced research procedures and experience what graduate-level research is like.

In psychology, Sonia Barrera, junior from Newton, Jose Rojas, senior from Newton, and Aimee Siebert, senior from Topeka, are all working with Dwight Krehbiel, Bethel professor of psychology, studying human responses to music chosen by a music search engine.

Barrera explains that through their research, they “hope to learn how liking a piece of music influences our familiarity with that type of music and vice versa. We also hope to learn how specific familiarity with a piece of music impacts liking.”

They will also test the effectiveness of the music search engine, which is unique, Barrera says, “because it uses characteristics of the music itself, such as melody and timbre, to find other pieces of music we might like.”

Laura Stevens, junior from McPherson, will be completing a social work placement with Horizons Mental Health Center in Hutchinson. Part of the organization’s camp schedule includes visits to Reins of Hope, which works with children and animal-assisted therapy.

“Horizons works closely with Reins of Hope,” says Stevens, “taking kids there to ride horses during the summer, and they also have their own therapy dog which they use in group settings.

“I’m really excited about learning [about] the interaction between kids and animals and the effects that that interaction has on the kids. I know from growing up and having pets around that they are often a source of comfort and can have a calming effect when kids get upset or angry or sad.”

Five students received Undergraduate Research, Innovation and Creative Activity awards for research to be conducted over the summer: Benjamin Harder, senior from Hesston, in music; Kayla Hiebert, junior from Newton, in social work; Victoria Janzen, senior from Wichita, in history; Meredith Lehman, senior from Bluffton, Ohio, also in history; and Kelsie Miller, junior from Goshen, Ind., in art.

Harder, with mentorship from Bethel Director of Instrumental Music Timothy Shade, will transcribe and analyze some of jazz trombonist Carl Fontana’s improvised solos.

“I really love the style and ideas of Carl Fontana,” says Harder. “His sound is one that I would like to emulate as I continue to improve my jazz playing, so it makes sense that I need to study it closely in order to truly understand it.”

Hiebert, with help from faculty mentor Ada Schmidt-Tieszen, professor of social work, will study the process of being a “foster-to-adopt” foster parent. Since this is a relatively new role, she will be looking at how this affects both child and foster parent.

“I would like to learn about the relationships that foster to adopt parents form with the children,” Hiebert explains her in research proposal. “This is a difficult relationship to form because there is a constant state of uncertainty of whether or not the child will return home.”

Through interviewing foster-to-adopt parents, she hopes to learn “how foster to adopt parents cope with the uncertain situation.”

Faulty mentor Penelope Moon, associate professor of history, will aid Janzen in her research of the national Peace Ribbon Project, which served as a protest against nuclear armament in the 1980s.

“In [the project’s] final form,” says Janzen, “a giant ribbon united thousands of smaller ribbon segments from around the country, which were placed around the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C.

“I will explore how and why Kansans responded to this project.”

Lehman, with the assistance of Mark Jantzen, associate professor of history, will explore the example and legacy established when the Mennonite World Conference (MWC) of 1972 was held in Curitiba, Brazil.

“The ninth World Conference [assembly] in Curitiba was the first held outside of Europe or North America,” explains Lehman, “and it generated controversy for a number of reasons, both theological and political.

“The timing for this research is especially apt, since this summer’s MWC in Paraguay – which I am excited to be attending – is the first to return to South America since Brazil in 1972.”

Miller, under the guidance of Gail Lutsch, professor of art, will be researching and experimenting with image transfer techniques to use in conjunction with her acrylic painting.

“Transferring images takes a printed image off of the page and puts it onto another surface – anything you want, really – and, in my case, canvas and acrylic paint,” says Miller. “I’m going to try different techniques for the first couple of weeks and then start to use them in medium-large scale paintings.”

She adds, “[It] should be a fun and busy summer.”

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and was the only Kansas private college to be ranked in’s listing of “America’s Best Colleges” for 2008 and one of only two Kansas colleges listed in Colleges of Distinction 2008-09. For more information, see the Bethel Web site at

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