Summer 2019 devoted to research for six Olivet students

Recipients of Pence-Boyce research grants pursue intensive projects

April 18, 2019 Academics, Research

This summer, six Olivet Nazarene University students and their faculty mentors will pursue intensive research projects funded by grants from the University’s Pence-Boyce Research Committee and ONU Catalyst. 

Students and faculty will receive generous stipends to support their research over a ten-week period during the summer of 2019. The Pence-Boyce scholarship allows students to focus their summer exclusively on experiments and other hands-on research, which supplements the lecture-based learning during the school year.


The Pence-Boyce grants give undergraduate students robust research opportunities to go deep on a particular area of interest. Earlier this spring, 2018 Pence-Boyce grant recipient, Tim Mayotte and his faculty mentor Dr. Ryan Himes, were offered the opportunity to present their findings at the 2019 Experimental Biology Conference in Orland, Florida. The research was also featured by Science Daily, giving their findings further national exposure. 

Recipients of the 2019 Pence-Boyce summer research experience are:   

Hannah Cataldo and Prof. Scott Ragan, Walker School of Engineering: “Hail the Not So Perfect Sphere.” Hannah is a junior architectural engineering major.

Barbara Krupa and Dr. Derek Rosenberger, Department of Biological Sciences: “Assessing the stability and distribution of a newly discovered endangered bumble bee population in Northeastern Illinois.” Barbara is a senior zoology major.

Brianna Munnich and Dr. Willa Harper, Department of Chemistry and Geosciences: “Controlling Blood Viscosity using Temperature and Chemical Additives.” Brianna is a junior chemistry major with a concentration in biochemistry.

Erin Olson and Dr. Dan Sharda, Department of Biological Sciences: “Protective Effects of Lignite Extract Against Tight Junction Disruption in an in Vitro Model of Acute and Chronic Intestinal Inflammation.” Erin is a junior biology major.

Tanner Senti and Dr. Derek Rosenberger, Department of Biological Sciences: “The Community Composition of Bark and Ambrosia Beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) Across Ecosystem Boundaries in the American Midwest.” Tanner is a sophomore zoology major.

Chris Stone and Dr. Steve Case, Department of Chemistry and Geoscience: “Prospects of an Astrotourism Site in Namibia.” Chris is a sophomore mechanical engineering major.


 “The quality of the submitted research proposals remains high, and I am excited that we have several students and dedicated faculty from several departments who are interested in an independent research project, says Dr. Bruce Heyen, chair of the Pence-Boyce Research Committee and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Geosciences at Olivet. “In addition, we are blessed to have generous donors that underwrite the expenses for this program, and we are also grateful for support from the ONU Catalyst initiative.”

An alumni couple, dedicated to STEM excellence at Olivet, has financially underwritten Pence-Boyce for many years. When asked if this support could be publicly acknowledged, they responded with graceful modesty, “We would rather put God’s faithfulness, the altruistic mentoring by faculty, and the good work of students in the ONU spotlight.”  

Through Pence-Boyce grants, the couple wishes to honor two outstanding former faculty members who exemplified integrity, dedication and spirit in pursuit of academic excellence in STEM industries.

Elbert Pence was a professor of physics at Olivet from 1962 to 1969. His extensive experience with the U.S. Navy provided valuable background for his students. His energy and enthusiasm were driving forces in developing the physics major at Olivet. He exemplified excellence in higher education in physics and engineering. Professor Pence passed away in 2016.

Fanny Boyce was a professor of mathematics at Olivet from 1963 to 1970. She came to Olivet after many years of service at Wheaton College. Her high standards and teaching performance served as inspiration to those she taught. Dr. Boyce passed away in 1986.

To learn more about Olivet’s areas of study in the sciences and engineering, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Published 4/18/2019

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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