Meet Our Science Students

Through the study of science, students become more engaged and aware of the world in which they live. At Cal Lutheran, the number of students majoring in the sciences is larger than any other area of study on campus.

We place a priority on student-driven research, strong faculty mentor relationships, and experiential learning in the classroom. What’s more, we encourage students to apply their research and learning in ways that allow them to be of service to the greater community.

Tristen Burt '16

Tristen Burt

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, Music Minor
Fellowship: Swenson Science Summer Research Fellowship
Research Mentor: Dr. Chad Barber, Assistant Professor of Biology

What was the focus of your research?

My research was focused on identifying mutations in common canine cancers and examining how they relate to human cancers. An additional focus of mine is on screening these canine cancers to an array of anti-tumor drugs to determine their response and suitability for use in other mammalian models.

How was your research experience?

The fellowship granted me the opportunity to see where I’m going and what I want to be doing in 10 years. The experience really solidified a passion in me for biological and biomedical research. Hopefully one day I will get the opportunity to work just as hard with patients in this same manner.

What’s next?

A graduate program in medicine. My goal is to become a physician, and this program gave me a glimpse into what a medical career could be like.

Danielle Renee Montoya '15

Danielle Renee Montoya

Biology and Global Studies Double Major
Fellowship: Swenson Science Summer Research Fellowship
Research Mentor: Dr. Theresa Rogers, Assistant Professor of Biology

What was the focus of your research?

The level of antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens has increased dramatically due to the misuse and overuse of antibiotics in medicine and agriculture. My research was on antibiotic resistance in bacteria found in the Hill Canyon Wastewater Treatment Plant and surrounding waterways. Using molecular and genetic methods, I investigated how some bacteria can transfer genes conferring antibiotic resistance to other bacteria.

How was your research experience?

The Swenson Science Summer Fellowship helped me to learn more about what to expect out of the trial and error process and how to encounter the unexpected in a lab setting. It taught me patience and allowed me to express creativity with my ideas.

What’s next?

I’m applying to medical schools and plan to specialize in emergency medicine with a focus on natural disaster relief.

Jacob Burman ‘15

Jacob Burman

Chemistry Major, Mathematics Minor
John Stauffer Research Fellowship in the Chemical Sciences
Research Mentor: Dr. Jason Kingsbury, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

What was the focus of your research?

The goal of my project was to optimize the Diazoalkane-Carbonyl Homologation process. These compounds have donor-acceptor properties that are synthetically useful because many biologically active compounds can be created more easily via this transformation.

Once the process is optimized, we’ll see these compounds being developed on a broad scale for their practical uses in industrial applications.

How was your research experience?

Working this summer with Dr. Kingsbury was eye-opening to say the least. Every day was an adventure in learning all the advanced techniques that professional chemists use to expertly manipulate materials. I’ve gained so much experience, but the most valuable thing for me is knowing that I still have so much  to learn.

What’s next?

I hope to enter a Ph.D. program in synthetic organic chemistry and go on to a career in academia or in industry.