Evan Riggs
Office of the Provost

Annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit highlights research benefits

Mon, 03/20/2023

LAWRENCE — Eight University of Kansas graduate students from the Lawrence campus and five from KU Medical Center are putting their groundbreaking research on public display. Legislators and the public are invited to learn about the influence of research underway at KU during the 20th annual Capitol Graduate Research Summit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 22 on the first-floor rotunda in the Kansas Capitol. Gov. Laura Kelly has proclaimed March 22 Graduate Research Day to recognize crucial contributions to the state’s economic development and quality of life through research conducted by graduate students at Kansas Board of Regents universities. 

KU graduate students are working to develop solutions to societal questions and challenges. The findings and possible commercialization of these innovations can affect Kansans’ lives and potentially elevate the state’s economic status. Their research covers a broad range of topics, including:

  • Second-life battery energy storage for sustainable power grids
  • Accessibility of written medication information for patients with visual impairment
  • Use of novel blood biomarkers to evaluate Alzheimer’s disease risk and burden.

“The graduate students representing KU at the Capitol Graduate Research Summit are at the forefront of groundbreaking research,” said Jennifer Roberts, vice provost for graduate studies and academic affairs. “They are wonderful examples of how essential graduate students are to advancing the university’s commitment to conducting impactful research that addresses key challenges faced by the state, nation and the world. The students presenting their work continue highlighting the impact and importance of high-profile and interdisciplinary research in KU’s five strategic research areas of the Research Rising initiative.

“As the research skills of these students are honed and advanced, their work drives innovations to secure our digital and social worlds, improves our understanding and how we approach intellectual and developmental disabilities research, and creates healthier and more sustainable communities and environments.”

KU graduate students will join peers from Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University and Wichita State University at the summit.

The top two presenters from KU will each receive a $500 award and recognition on the Office of Graduate Studies Twitter and Facebook pages during Graduate-Professional Student Appreciation Week.

Founded by graduate students 20 years ago, the summit brings attention to the innovative research conducted by students at state universities with an emphasis on the public benefits of graduate students’ research. This free event provides an opportunity for the public — as well as Paul Hughes, Department of Commerce deputy secretary of business development, and state senators and representatives – to learn more about the important work of graduate students across the state.

KU’s participants are listed below by name, area of study and title of their research presentations.

From KU Lawrence

  • Kalin Baca, doctoral student in chemical engineering, “Recycling Refrigerants to Reduce Global Warming.”
  • Kara Bamberger, doctoral student in pharmacy, “Accessibility of Written Medication Information for Patients with Visual Impairment.”
  • Kelly Beym, graduate student in geography, “Cultivating Equity Through 638: How Tribal Self-Determination Projects Impact Economies Through Food Procurement Preferences.”
  • Grant Downes, doctoral student in bioengineering, “Engineering a Novel Insulin Compound as a Type 1 Diabetes Therapy.”
  • Amir Farakhor, doctoral student in mechanical engineering, “Second-Life Battery Energy Storage for Sustainable Power Grids.”
  • Samantha Ghali, doctoral student in child language, “Building Early Literacy Skills at Home: Insights from Bilingual Families.”
  • Ryan Lemasters, doctoral student in philosophy, “Carebots Don’t Care: An Ethical Analysis of Socially Assistive Robots in Kansas’ Elderly Care Industry.”
  • Tanvir Hossain, doctoral student in electrical engineering, “Peek Inside the Box: Gamified Learning of Computing Hardware Fundamentals.”

From KU Medical Center

  • Samantha Cintron, doctoral student in nursing, “Natural Killer Cell Changes in Patients with Post-COVID-19 Syndrome Treated with a Mushroom Supplement.”
  • Zachary Green, doctoral and medical student with the KU Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, “Use of Novel Blood Biomarkers to Evaluate Alzheimer’s Disease Risk and Burden.”
  • Paige Pearson, medical student in pediatric orthopedic surgery, “Risk Factors for Failure of Cast Immobilization in Pediatric Scaphoid Fracture Presenting Greater than 28 Days After Injury.”
  • Makenna Snyder, doctoral student in therapeutic science, “Falls in Individuals Using Wheelchairs: An Observational Study.”
  • Griffin Welfer, doctoral student in biochemistry and molecular biology, Telomeric Ribonucleotides Cause Rapid Telomere Shortening and Telomere Instability.

One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
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