Spring 2017

We had students from Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and the Humanities this semester – the most students we have had participate so far.

Student: Nicole Ross

Instructor: Ms. Amy Snow

BIO 299 Research in the Biological Sciences

Beginning of semester
My name is Nicole Ross.  The focus for my Creative Inquiry project revolves around bacteria within the human intestine that produce vitamin K.  Initially my interest was with kidney stones because my husband is in frequent battle with the issue.  As a result, I started to look into causes and how he can get some relief or avoid getting stones all together.  My preliminary search led me to a recommendation to avoid foods high in vitamin K, which I thought was interesting at the time.

I couldn’t understand why a person who forms calcium containing kidney stones would decrease a vitamin that aides in the binding of calcium away from the filtration of the kidneys.   nicole-rossI began to look into methods in which we satisfy our vitamin K requirements, and the types of vitamin K.  One potential area of vitamin K contribution may come from bacteria   The type of vitamin K that bacteria produce has a special role in the function of the human body that may be separate from contribution to blood clotting.  I was first introduced to the thought of bacterial contribution to the human body in Anatomy and Physiology class.  Well, my interest in bacteria only grew further once I got involved with Microbiology.   I then started to think about the impact antibiotics have on the bacteria that produce Vitamin K.  As well as the consequences, if any, on bacteria’s diminished contribution to the human body due to antibiotics.  We use all sorts of antibiotics for many different reasons.  More often than naught we kill off the good bacteria with the bad.  I intend to focus on the susceptibility of different vitamin K producing bacteria to commonly prescribed antibiotics.

UPDATE – mid semester
At this point in the project I am half way through the semester. I have compiled a literature review pertaining to the topic of interest. I don’t think the literature review could really ever truly be complete, which I find is the most intriguing part of the process. There frequently seemed to be more areas to investigate concerning my subject that would ultimately lead me astray from the matter at hand. I loved and hated the twists and turns the literature took me toward new discoveries and ideas. I found myself roaming from my main topic more than once and I discovered this was because my area of interest was too broad. I learned to narrow my scope of interest. Once I did this, the literature, as it turned out has helped me fine tune my topic. The affects antibiotics on vitamin K producing bacteria are not the sole area being explored. The topic has evolved into considering a mixed population within my cultured bacterial community when determining antibiotic susceptibility. So, next on the agenda is the actual lab work. Now the real fun starts!

Student: Andrew Sexton

Instructor: Mr. Brad Caldwell

BIO 299 Research in the Biological Sciences

andrew-sextonMy name is Andrew Sexton, I am 24 years old and this course piqued my interest because working with the human anatomy is something I have wanted to do since my junior year in high school. In viewing this course, I figured there was no better way to accomplish that ultimate end goal without fully understanding the osteological aspect of human life. Forensic Osteology will not only give me a more comprehensive understanding of the human skeleton, but it will also offer me insight into a field that will help explain the connections that humans have had with each other for millennia and show the differences that have developed along the way. I am extremely excited to begin this course and embark on a new adventure in my life that could potentially influence my path towards my future career.

Students: Ellis Wheeler, Hannah Aiken, Stephen Mayes

Instructor: Dr. Poonam Shores

BIO 299 Research in the Biological Sciences

Ellis Wheeler

While I embark on my journey into the medical profession, I am thrilled with the opportunity that has been placed in front of me; specifically, the chance to be a part ofellis-wheeler Creative Inquiry. This semester in Bio 299 I will investigate how blood glucose levels change with exercise and how these levels can be stabilized during exercise.  I will be researching previous work that has been done on this topic, as well as collect my own data through weekly experiments and modifications. I am also looking forward to be part of Student Show Case this year and will be presenting a poster for the same. Ultimately, my goal is to have a better understanding of the importance of regulating blood sugar and how our bodies react to different factors. I believe this project will be a great challenge and learning experience for me.  This course will serve as a preparation for my future education in addition to informing other students who might also be interested in research. I am very fascinated by the human body and even more excited to dive in further as a student.

Hannah Aiken

My name is Hannah Aiken, nursing student here at Greenville Tech.  I’m originally from Milwaukee, WI.  I went to college in Wisconsin straight out of high school, but took a break after 3 years and 5 changes of major.  I took a two and half years off from school to move to new places, travel the world, and discover what I was passionate about.

hannah-aikenMost of that self-discovery was found while solo-traveling around the United States and Europe.  One fateful day during a hike through Yellowstone National Park, I decided to go back to school.  I’ve always been fascinated by the human body, so I knew I wanted to study something in biology and medicine.  I decided on nursing, with the end-goal of nurse practitioner.

During my first semester back in school, I was offered the opportunity by my anatomy professor, Dr. Poonam Shores, to partake in a research course focusing on the changes of blood glucose levels during exercise.  I’m a bit of a health nerd; I pay special attention to my diet and workout regimen… So naturally, I excitedly accepted.   This is my first in-depth research project, and I look forward to learning the process of research and experimentation.  I always get pumped to learn about physiological processes of the body, because they directly apply to myself and the world around me!

When I’m not studying, you can find me bartending, dancing (lindy hop), hiking, playing with my dogs, or daydreaming about my next big trip (Samoa!!).

Stephen Mayes

My name is Stephen Mayes. I am a 40 year old starting a second career in nursing.  I’ve spent over 25 years in the restaurant business where I started as a cook and ended my last as the General Manager of a fine dining, farm to table, million dollar restaurant.  During my last job, I was at the peak of my career but still felt unfulfilled.  I knew I loved takingstephen-mayes care of people as I’ve been doing it all my life but there felt like there should be more.  I turned to nursing as sort of a calling.  I started my college career at the University of Alabama with a major in Music Performance but the restaurant business came calling as there isn’t a lot of money in my field.  Even then I loved Chemistry and Biology but didn’t think I wanted to be a doctor.  Nursing didn’t even cross my mind… till I turned 40.  Now I realize that this is what I am meant to do.  Applying for the nursing program in March, this project will help fill out my transcript to be that last push into getting into the nursing school at GTC.

As an endurance athlete and a nursing student, the action of sugar and how it relates to the body’s performance has always been intriguing. Most every nutrition product aimed at an endurance athlete, has sugar, in some form, as its main fuel source.  By joining this creative inquiry research project on glucose and exercise, it will be most interesting to see how the body reacts to sugar and how an athlete can manipulate the findings to their benefit. That way I can use it to my advantage in my racing career moving forward.

Students: Shaheer Hakim and Caleb Wright

Instructor: Mr. Carl Riedl

CHM 299 Research in Chemistry

Our names are Shaheer and Caleb and we met at Greenville Tech during our first semester. shaheer-and-calebSince we both had many of the same classes, and interests, we became friends instantly. After hearing about creative inquiry through a friend, we decided to try it out and see what we can accomplish. Because of our common interest of the outdoors we quickly started to brain storm ideas that could aid us on long hikes or backpacking trips. Typically, when we are hiking we run into a shortage of water, and the existing products are inefficient and hard to use. Being two passionate engineering students, we decided to invent a water filter which will be more efficient than the ones bought in store yet small enough to save space in our backpacks. With the help of the creative inquiry organizers, we were able to receive a lab to work in, a teacher to aid us, and funding to support us in creating our product.

Student: Sean Wechsler

Instructor: Mr. Wes Adams

CHM 299 Research in Chemistry

This semester I have been given the opportunity to work on an extracurricular research project for the Creative Inquiry program. For my research, I am going to run experiments to determine why the pool water at the Rio 2016 Olympics turned green in the diving pool and water polo pool. I hope to unshroud the mystery and debate surrounding the true cause of the green pool water and determine if the water was as safe as Olympics officials wanted everybody to believe.

sean-wechslerI will work with chemistry department head, Mr. Adams in the organic chemistry labs to attempt to recreate several possible scenarios that could result in green pool water. The green water could be the cause of careless pool maintenance workers adding the wrong chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide to the pool and deactivating the chlorine. This addition could not only cause an algae bloom in the water due to the high number of athletes in the water. Also, in the presence of a common algaecide known as copper sulfate, the hydrogen peroxide will react and cause a green coloration of the water as well as releasing poisonous hydrogen sulfide gas. Using small pool replicas and different chemical ratios, the source of the green water will be discovered in the chemistry lab and any unknowns involving health risks posed to the athletes will be revealed.

This semester ahead of me will be full of new knowledge and application of chemistry principles that I have learned through my trek through Greenville Technical College. Through the Creative Inquiry program, I hope to learn from my own research and that of my peers, become a better public speaker by presenting at research symposiums, and network with teachers and other interested researchers.

Student: Jarod Wright

Instructor: Dr. Kathryn Hix

HSS 298 Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences


Hi, everyone! My name is Jarod Wright. I will be concentrating my CI project toward creative writing, specifically the art of poetry.  I have been writing poetry since middle school, where I competed in poetry slams. It wasn’t until my eighth-grade year until I won my first one.

When I went to Woodmont High School, I met a special mentor, Glenis Redmond. She is a


phenomenal woman who took me under her wing as the poet-in residence of the Peace Voices program at the Peace Center in 2012, and she has coached me how to go from the page to the stage, and I think that’s when I really learned what being a poet was about.

I’ve just been very curious for a long time how to get my stories out there from all the years of poetry I’ve shared, and I know it’s just beginning, so for this course, it is my goal to complete a small poetry chapbook, which basically would serve as a sampling of some of my works. I plan to gather 20 poems to complete and publish it by the spring, while researching the publication process along the way. Hopefully, by going on this journey, I will learn what my strengths are, and what areas I could improve in as I become a better writer and poet!