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The Oka’ Institute is pleased to announce it has selected five East Central University professors – Dr. Randall Maples, Kevin W. Blackwood, Dr. Christine Pappas, Dr. Terrie Becerra and Dr. Leah S. Dudley - to lead summer research projects.

For the second straight year, the Oka’ Institute is investing in research that incentivizes undergraduate research and meets the institute’s goals and objectives. This year’s summer research projects will create insight about the socioeconomic relationships of water usage, will delve into ecosystem function and will collect data to support the study of groundwater and surface water interactions.

Maples’ proposal, entitled “Tracking the movement of iron oxide nanoparticles through water from the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer,” will evaluate the use of iron nanoparticles as ground water tracers and study their interactions with the limestone which makes up the matrix of the Arbuckle–Simpson Aquifer.

Blackwood’s proposal, entitled “Biogeographical Investigations of Lotic Environments in the Arbuckle Mountains Eco-Region,” will investigate effects of waterfalls on the chemistry and biology of streams in the Arbuckle Mountain ecoregions.

Pappas’ and Becerra’s proposal, entitled “The Role of Water as a Cultural Resource among Federally Recognized Native American Tribes in Oklahoma,” will investigate the extent to which Oklahoma tribes consider water to be a cultural resource and how each tribe seeks to manage this resource.

proposal, entitled “Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer Ecosystem Resilience,” will assess ecosystem resiliency through an evaluation of plant diversity within the Arbuckle-Simpson watersheds by collecting pollen from hymenoptera in multiple locations.

Interim reports on the projects will be submitted July 16, 2018. Final reports will be completed by Nov. 1, 2018. Each project requires the professor to select 1-2 undergraduates to help with research. Student researchers will prepare a summary of their work and what they

learned as a result of this research experience as a part of the final report. The Oka’ Institute’s Summer 2018 Research opportunity is expected to continue the progress launched last year by collecting foundational data that will support resilient and sustainable water resource management.


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