When the physics and astronomy professors presented their summer research projects to students last spring, Joel Rogers’ interest was immediately piqued by the work of Shirvel Stanislaus, associate professor of physics, involving radon testing. Rogers, a junior physics major from Chesterton, Ind., applied for the research position and was selected to take part. As part of the research, Rogers monitored continuous radon detectors at select homes in the Valparaiso area.
“The reason for the study is to understand why the levels are changing over time, but it's also to warn people of a potential threat,” Rogers said. “If a home has high radon levels and people are constantly inhaling the gas, perhaps for 20 or more years, they could potentially develop lung cancer.”
With experts and resources available within the Undergraduate Research program, students are able to experience events that can further help the community. These experiences will help them decide if graduate studies should be part of their future plans and further their learning outside of the classroom.
“My current plan is to go to graduate school for medical physics, in which I might become a radiologist or something of the sort,” Rogers said. “This is my plan as of now, which relates to what I did for summer research in the sense of people’s health.”