2020 Butler Fellows to Conduct Research

Jun 9, 2020 | University Relations staff

DUBUQUE, Iowa – In its third year, the John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship continues to empower University of Dubuque students from all majors to conduct research, prepare for graduate examinations, and visit graduate schools in preparation for their post-university professional lives.

This summer, seven fellows will research a variety of topics including Dubuque’s microclimate changes; transitional justice, racial violence, and memorializing Nathaniel Morgan; and butterfly diversity in remnant and restored prairies in Dubuque County.

“The John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship program provides students with the opportunity to do tailored scholarly work with University faculty and build professional relationships through activities such as mock interviews and networking that will enhance their post-graduate employment,” said Mark Sinton, PhD, director of the John and Alice Butler Summer Research Fellowship.

Fellows will commit 400 hours of work on their research over a 10 week period during the summer. They will each receive a stipend of $4,500 and an additional $500 for research-associated supplies or travel costs. Fellows are required to present their research results during the following academic year at a local, regional, or national conference.

“I’m grateful to Alice and John Butler for their decades-long commitment to the University and their investment in, and care for, UD students. This incredible investment in direct support of student research and scholarship is a testimony to their belief in our Mission and its direct impact on students,” said Jeffrey F. Bullock, president of the University.

The following students were named 2020 Butler Fellows:

Taiana Butler - BF20
Taiana Butler
, a senior environmental science major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: Dubuque’s Microclimate Changes

Advisor: Dale Easley, PhD, professor of geology

Quotable: “It is an honor to be named a Butler Fellow. I am thankful for the opportunity. Through my project, I hope to find microclimate changes in Dubuque by analyzing weather data from the Dubuque Regional Airport and Lock and Dam 11.”

Natalie Dienstbach - BF20
Natalie Dienstbach
, a senior biology major from St. Louis, Missouri

Project: Evaluating Carbamide Peroxide and Vitamin D Effects of Teeth and Restorative Materials

Advisor: Adam Hoffman, PhD, associate professor of environmental chemistry and head of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences

Quotable: “I feel incredibly honored to be named a Butler Fellow. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be part of something that will truly diversify my undergraduate experience and prepare me for life after graduation. Not only do I look forward to expanding my own knowledge toward the risks of teeth whitening, but I also hope to help others approach teeth whitening in a way that is safe for his or her own health. I am excited to be able to contribute to dental research.”

Emily Highnam - BF20
Emily Highnam
, a senior elementary education major from Cedar Falls, Iowa

Project: Dubuque School of the Wild: Curriculum Development and Implementation

Advisor: Angela Brandel, EdD, professor of teacher education

Quotable: “To be given the opportunity to extend my learning in a tangible, applicable project is a gift. I feel my Butler fellowship will make me more prepared and employable as I explore the job market next spring. This summer, I will develop curriculum for Dubuque community fifth-graders, creating a week’s worth of interdisciplinary instruction to be taught in Dubuque’s outdoor public spaces such as the Mines of Spain State Recreation Area and Swiss Valley Nature Center. I believe that when implemented, students will not only be enriched and engaged in the state-required content but will find a sense of place in the natural world as well.”

Savannah Jones - BF20
Savannah Jones
, a senior criminal justice and sociology double major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: Transitional Justice, Racial Violence, and Memorializing Nathaniel Morgan

Advisors: Henry Grubb, PhD, professor of psychology, and Brian Hallstoos, PhD, associate professor of history

Quotable: “This fellowship helps fulfill the calling in my life that seeks out social justice and reconciliation. To be named a fellow is to do the work of God. My hopes for this project are to shed light on the lynching that took place in Dubuque, Iowa, and to bring forth honest dialogue upon the events that took place while finding room for healing and reflection.”

Aubrey Manders - BF20
Aubrey Manders
, a junior human health science major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: A Survey of the Compounds Generated During Vaping

Advisor: Mark Sinton, PhD, assistant professor of natural and applied sciences

Quotable: “Being named a fellow is an incredible honor, and it gives me the opportunity to learn and teach others. I hope my research will teach others and society about the harmful chemicals found within electronic cigarette juices.”

Jenna Meyes - BF20
Jenna Meyers
, a senior biology major from Rockford, Illinois

Project: Butterfly Diversity in Remnant and Restored Prairies in Dubuque County

Advisors: Gerald Zuercher, PhD, professor of biology and vertebrate ecology, and Michele Zuercher, teaching specialist

Quotable: “Being a fellow gives me the opportunity to grow in responsibility and independence while exploring interests in the research field of biology, which will ultimately help me gain a new strength necessary for my career. I hope my research will find the best land management practices performed by the Dubuque County Conservation District that will optimize butterfly diversity and abundance as butterflies are an important pollinator source.”

Samuel Zebarth - BF20
Samuel Zebarth
, a senior environmental science, biology, and philosophy and ethics triple major from Dubuque, Iowa

Project: Connecting Dubuque: Developing Software to Analyze Local Climate Data

Advisor: Dale Easley, PhD, professor of geology

Quotable: “To earn a fellowship with the University of Dubuque is an achievement that will develop my skills as I prepare for graduate school. I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am ready to work hard. My project will create a powerful tool to observe climate variation in the Dubuque area. Essentially, it will teach the public what has happened locally regarding climate change and can be useful in predicting the future of Dubuque’s climate.”