Undergraduate Research

One of the advantages of attending Ohio State Marion is that you can work closely with professors on various research projects. All full-time tenure track faculty on the Marion campus are engaged in some sort of research, creative expression or scholarship. Faculty in a variety of disciplines are often looking for research assistants and they are also open to students conducting their own research or investigations under supervision. Participation in undergraduate research benefits students educationally, professionally, and personally.

Undergraduate research requires an educational collaboration between students and faculty members. Research experiences may be initiated by students who seek out faculty supervision for their projects or by faculty members who involve undergraduate students in their research teams.Research can culminate in a written or oral presentation as a means of making the body of academic knowledge or creative exploration accessible to other investigators in the field, as well as to the general public.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

a student discusses his research poster with a staff member

Dr. Renee Bouley

Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry 

Recent Student Researchers:

Lauren Frank, Pelotonia Fellow 2021-22
Shayaan Rasheed, Pelotonia Fellow 2022-23

The Bouley lab is primarily focused on understanding mechanisms involved in antibiotic resistance. We are a biochemistry lab that uses techniques such as PCR (polymerase chain reaction), protein expression and purification, X-ray crystallography, chromogenic biochemical assays, and structure-based drug design. Research in the Bouley lab will provide experience that is applicable for Biology, Chemistry, and Medical-related majors.


Head and shoulder photo of young man in blue button up shirt

Donna Bobbitt-Zeher

Associate Professor, Sociology

Recent Student Researchers:

Aidan Dobyns is working on a senior thesis titled Unemployment policy and the economic recovery of 2021

Bobbitt-Zeher's research agenda primarily concerns gender and inequality, how gender inequality changes over time, and the consequences of these changes.  They use both quantitative and qualitative methods in my work, and draw on a race/class/gender perspective as well.   Bobbitt-Zeher's scholarship focuses on three veins of gender inequality:  educational inequalities and labor market outcomes, workplace discrimination, and intimate partner violence. 


Head and shoulder of young woman in red dress

Dr. Jonathan Calede

Associate Professor,
Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Recent Student Researchers:

Lily Noftz, Summer Research Assistant 2021
Chris Roscoe, Senior Thesis 2019
Comparative Anatomy of the Digestive System of Rural and Urban Raccoons (Procyon lotor) in Central Ohio

Studying vertebrate paleontology at the Calede lab integrates comparative anatomy, morphometrics, phylogenetics, and biostatistics to reconstruct the ecology and evolution of fossil mammals.  The research focuses on deciphering the pattern of changes in mammalian communities 30 to 5 million years ago and the processes that drove them.


two college students, girl in green tee and boy in red tee in lab with equipment

Dr. Susan Gershman

Associate Professor,
Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Gershman's research focuses on the evolution of animal behavior. Interested in sexual selection, differences in reproduction caused by heritable differences in the ability to reproduce. Using insects, including crickets and flies, as her study subjects.

Computer Science

Woman assisting two male students in computer lab

Dr. Golrokh Mirzaei

Assistant Professor, Computer Science Engineering 

Recent Student Researchers:

Matt McManamon, Summer Research Assistant 2021

Ruksana Kabealo, Senior Thesis 2019 "Development of an Artificial Backpropagation Neural Network for Classification of Irises"

Dr. Mirzaei's research focuses on pattern recognition, machine learning, image/signal processing, biomedical imaging/neuroscience


Woman in lab jacket shares information with father and son

Dr. Nikole Patson

Associate Professor, Psychology

Recent Student Researchers:

Nathan Baker, current Ph.D. student at Michigan State

Dr. Patson's research focuses on adult language comprehension. She is particularly interested in how language comprehenders compute meaning from linguistic content. Her research has focused on the conceptual representation of plurals. 

Molecular Genetics

Young woman in lab coat in front of a microscope in a lab

Dr. Ruben Petreaca

Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics

Recent Student Researchers:

Bailey Lucas, an undergraduate Pelotonia scholar who majored in zoology at Ohio State Marion, took part in reseearch focused on, DNA damage repair through homologous recombination. 

Dr. Petreaca's research aims to understand how DNA damage is repaired in eukaryotic cells. Loss of efficient DNA damage repair causes accumulation of mutations which is a hallmark of cancer cells. He is using yeast for these studies which is a great eukaryotic model system.


Woman holding two certificates in front of flag reading Denman

Dr. Frances Sivakoff

Assistant Professor
Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

At the Sivakoff Lab, we explore the factors that regulate arthropod abundance and distribution, from common agricultural pests to rare endangered butterflies, across agricultural, natural and urban landscapes.


Woman pointing at iPad screen teaching another woman, chalk board background

Dr. Margaret Sumner

Associate Professor, History

Recent Student Researchers:

Keily Cunningham, Fellowship to Historic Deerfield in Massachusetts 2020

Dallas White, Research assistantship 2022

Students in Dr. Sumner’s research group work in the archives of the Marion Women’s Club documenting and curating original documents covering the history and impact of Women in Marion from the 1880’s through the present.


Two men standing in front of projected computer screen

Dr. Chris Orban

Associate Professor, Physics

The STEMcoding project involves three things: (1) fun, interactive coding activities designed for high-school physics, and eventually math and chemistry, (2) we offer professional development to science & math teachers, especially in Ohio, (3) we partner with existing camps to offer “Physics of Video Games” activities for high school students in Columbus and eventually in other parts of Ohio.