BETHANY, W.Va. – Eight Bethany College undergraduates and two faculty members have received research awards through the college’s affiliation with NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

Dr. Jeff Janovetz and Dr. Karen Kormuth, assistant professors of biology, will receive Faculty Research Enhancement Awards that total $6,000 from the consortium.

With the grant, Janovetz will research direct force measurements of prey capture in scale-feeding fishes and in ballistic tongued lizards. Kormuth will model the airborne spread of infectious disease.

In addition, eight students will share $11,000 in funding for NASA Undergraduate Fellowships:

  • Antonio Caputo, a sophomore biochemistry major from Elmont, N.Y., will study how temperature and humidity effect the spread of viruses similar to influenza. Kormuth will advise Caputo’s research.
  • Geoffrey Foster, a sophomore mathematics major from Kalispell, Mont., will study the mathematical prediction of volcanic eruptions. Adam Fletcher, associate professor of mathematics, will advise Foster’s research.
  • Rachel Gantzer, a senior dual major in mathematics and chemistry from Morgantown, W.Va., will study the synthesis and degradation of various azo dyes. Dr. Scott Brothers, associate professor of chemistry, will advise Gantzer’s research.
  • Lena Grogan, a junior chemistry major from Pittsburgh, will study composing a PAD to help those in developing countries. Dr. Lisa Reilly, associate professor of chemistry and chair of physical and computational sciences, will advise Grogan’s research.
  • Marcus Kozloff, a junior dual major in chemistry and biology from McKean, Pa., will study microbiome variation across populations of eastern hellbenders in northern West Virginia and southeastern Pennsylvania waterways. Reilly will advise Kozloff’s research.
  • Jennifer Oberthur, a sophomore biochemistry major from Indianapolis, will study the efficiency of locomotion in legless lizards. Janovetz will advise Oberthur’s research.
  • Jacob Thornburg, a sophomore dual major in computer science and mathematics from Bellaire, Ohio, will study mathematics and forces behind the architecture of domes. Fletcher will advise Thornburg’s research.
  • Courtney Walker, a sophomore biochemistry major from Moundsville, W.Va., will study locomotion in alligator lizards. Janovetz will advise Walker’s research.

Their research is made possible by NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, Training Grant #NNX15AI01H.

Established in 1991, the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium is a NASA-sponsored organization that comprises 12 West Virginia academic institutions and nine corporate and scientific partners. The consortium is dedicated to building infrastructure for research and promoting science, technology, engineering, and math education across the state.

Awards from the consortium must be matched dollar for dollar from other non-federal sources.


Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.