Hundreds attend to celebrate award-winning undergraduate research

Wed, 04/30/2014


Nicole Perry
Center for Undergraduate Research

LAWRENCE — More than 325 people attended the University of Kansas' 17th annual Undergraduate Research Symposium to hear student presenters share the results of their research and creative projects. The event took place April 26 in the Kansas Union; 107 students presented their projects, representing 25 departments across campus. 

“We had the largest event in the 17-year history of the Symposium,” said John Augusto, assistant vice provost. “We are thankful for the instructors that encouraged their students to attend and find out more about research, as well as for the high number of faculty members who attended to support their students.”

Student presenters prepared for the Symposium by attending workshops with staff from the Center for Undergraduate Research and working with their research mentors to refine their oral presentations, poster presentations and performances. Faculty and graduate student judges selected 20 presentations to receive Outstanding Presentation Awards, listed below. Individual recipients of the Outstanding Presentation Awards were recognized at the Symposium Banquet on Saturday night and will receive a $50 award.

KU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium is sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Research.  The full list of student presenters can be found on the Center’s website.

The 2014 Outstanding Presentation Award winners:

Mackenzie Bloom, “Improving Transfection Efficiency via Nucleofection with Umbilical Cord Stem Cell Concentration”; mentor: Michael Detamore, chemical engineering. Bloom is from Superior, Colo.

Joel Bonner, “Bringing the Intellectual and Personal Benefits of Epic Literature to Children”; mentor: Giselle Anatol, English. Bonner is from Lawrence.

Maggie Boyles, “Women of the Yiddish Stage”; mentor: Renee Perelmutter, Slavic languages & literature. Boyles is from Les Brouzils, France.

Mugabi Byenkya, “No Man’s Land: An analysis of the sustainability of Uganda’s national parks system”; mentor: Byron Caminero-Santangelo, English, environmental studies. Byenkya is from Kampala, Uganda.

Nicholas Colbert, “First Texans Museum - Dancing Informs Design”; mentor: Kapila Silva, architecture. Colbert is from Overland Park.

Jeffery Durbin, “The Role of Morphemes in Novel Compound Recognition”; mentor: Robert Fiorentino, linguistics. Durbin is from Fort Scott.

Cori Fain, “Effects of ethynylestradiol on sea urchin embryonic development: adverse effects at relevant oceanic concentrations”; mentor: Paulyn Cartwright, ecology & evolutionary biology. Fain is from Roeland Park.

Ashley Farris, "A Comparison of Two Polymers for Application in 3D-Printed TMJ Implants"; mentor: Michael Detamore, chemical and petroleum engineering. Farris is from Wichita.

Jamie Fuller, "Exploring Discrepancies between Development Discourse and Social Realities in Dakar, Senegal"; mentor: Kathryn Rhine, anthropology. Fuller is from Wichita.

Hannah Jayne, “Sex Education of the U.S. Military: A Rhetorical Analysis of WWII Propaganda”; mentor: Rachel Vaughn, women, gender & sexuality studies. Jayne is from New Prague, Minn.

Clint Jensen, “Considering the Impact of Analogical Associations on Learning”; mentor: Evangelia Chrysikou, psychology. Jensen is from Gladstone, Mo.

Ruben Medina, “Youngsters' Perceptions of the Motivational Climate in Their Recreational Exercise Classes”; mentor: Mary Fry, health, sport & exercise sciences. Medina is from Osage City.

Adam Miltner, “How MAB-5 Drives Posterior Migration of the Q Neuroblasts in the Model Organism Caenorhabditis elegans”; mentor: Erik Lundquist, molecular biosciences. Miltner is from Lawrence.

Seth Polsley, “Control System Based on Electromyography”; mentor: James Rowland, electrical engineering & computer science. Polsley is from Ottawa.

Elisa Rombold, “First Texans Museum”; mentor: Kapila Silva, architecture. Rombold is from Junction City.

Kayla Sale, “Evolutionary History Underlies Plant Physiological Responses to Global Change since the Last Glacial Maximum”; mentors: Joy Ward, ecology & evolutionary Biology, Perry Alexander, electrical engineering & computer science. Sale is from Olathe.

Merritt Schenk, “Behavioral Science Goes to the Arcade: A Translation of the Generalized Matching Law to Predict and Analyze Human Performance in a Simulated Environment”; mentor: Derek Reed, applied behavioral science. Schenk is from Great Bend.

Bryce Tappan, “Reactivity and Photoluminescence Studies of Mercaptoazulenes and Their Complexes with Gold (I)”; mentor: Mikhail V. Barybin, chemistry. Tappan is from Brookings, S.D.

Christina Baker, Joseph Keusenkothen, Sam Oberkrom, Will Penner, & Reuben Worthington, “Where We’re Going We Don't Need Roads... We Need Bike Paths!”; mentors: Johannes Feddema & Shannon O'Lear, geography. Baker is from Coppell, Texas. Keusenkothen is from St. Louis. Oberkrom is from Shawnee. Penner is from Prairie Village.

KU in the news
Christian Science MonitorThu, 08/21/2014
Columbia Journalism ReviewThu, 08/21/2014
This past week, new Jayhawks moved in and started their first semester at KU. Madisen Pool, a freshman in computer engineering, captured one of his first sunrises on the Hill. With a fresh start, and a feeling of accomplishment for starting college, Pool thought this view was a great reminder to enjoy life. We asked Pool what his advice would be to his fellow new Jayhawks and he said, "make your time here at the university memorable. Have fun, do something you’ve always wanted to do, meet new people, and most importantly get the most out of your experience and shape your life the way you want it to be. Rock Chalk!" We couldn't agree more. Rock Chalk, Madisen! Show us your new experiences with the hashtag, #exploreKU.

How will you #exploreKU on your day off?
KU student tricks monkey flower into growing protective ‘hair’ Thanks to a KU Undergraduate Research Award (see more at, Sukhindervir Sandhu, a KU junior in biochemistry, figured out which genetic button to push to get a monkey flower, or Mimulus guttatus, to grow protective trichomes, or plant hair. Sandhu was able to track it down to a gene called SKP-1. By silencing SKP-1, he discovered that gene regulates plant hair growth in monkey flowers.

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