Physics Student Participates in National Science Foundation Research Program

Walla Walla College junior Stephanie Hatten, physics major, spent the summer of 2003 doing research at North Carolina State University through a National Science Foundation program called Research Experience for Undergraduates. Through this program, she was able to work in an optics laboratory, where research was being done in the subject of near field scanning optical microscopy.

The researcher with whom she worked was using a microscope to examine plant cells. It was necessary to coat the fiber optic tip of the microscope with a substance to make it hydrophobic, so that water and cellular tissue would not stick to it, destroying the cell. She worked with this researcher to test how well this substance coated and how easily it was cleaned off.

All undergraduate researchers participated in a final presentation for which they made posters about their work. Though her lab flooded two weeks before the project was due, causing her to lose all her data, Hatten won an award for the best poster.

Hatten’s main interest lies in quantum effects, and she plans to go to graduate school to study a combination of physics and philosophy. She says of her experience, “It made me more confident about going after my goals.”

January 01, 2004 / Walla Walla University