Forty-nine KU students receive Undergraduate Research Awards for spring

LAWRENCE — This spring, 49 KU students will receive an Undergraduate Research Awards (UGRA). UGRA recipients are awarded a $1,000 scholarship as they work on research and creative projects with mentors from KU.

Students apply for UGRAs by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a mentor. Faculty reviewers evaluate the applications based on the merit of the applicant's proposal and a recommendation from the mentor.

“These students explore innovative ideas through projects in different disciplines at KU,” said Alison Olcott, director of the Center for Undergraduate Research and associate professor of geology. “With the support of their mentors, these students are learning the skills and tools of their disciplines to make important contributions to their fields of study.”

The Center for Undergraduate Research will soon be taking applications for the summer and fall 2022 UGRA competition. The deadline for student proposals will be March 24. Online guidance and individual advising appointments are available to help students prepare strong applications. More information can be found at the Center for Undergraduate Research website here:

Students receiving awards for the spring of 2022 are listed below in alphabetical order along with year in school, hometown, project title, mentor and mentor’s department:

Chris Acker, a senior from Lawrence: “Do Higher Incarceration Rates Increase Unemployment?,” mentored by Dietrich Earnhart, economics.

Yasmine Adrian, a senior from Arlington, Virgina: “Refugee Stories: The Challenges of Integration in Germany,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Emalee Andrews, a senior from Lawrence: “Identification of CRH Dense Brain Regions in the Fore- and Mid- brain of Pair Bonded Male and Female Prairie Voles,” mentored by Adam Smith, pharmacology & toxicology.

Liz Arends, a senior from Edwards, Illinois: “Developing Activity Assays for Cholesterol Ester Regulatory Enzymes in Primary Microglial Cell Culture Using Mass Spectrometry,” mentored by Meredith Hartley, chemistry.

Sofia Berrospi Fernandez, a senior from Lima, Peru: “The U.S.-China Trade War and Brazil: Trade Diversion Effects?” mentored by Jack Zhang, political science.

Cory Bestwick, a senior from Lawrence: “Vancomycin vs. Probiotic Prophylaxis in Patients at Risk for Clostridium Difficile,” mentored by Brittany Melton, pharmacy practice.

Ashlee Brown, a senior from Lawrence: “Impact of Perceiver’s Race, Diversity Statements, and Resume Presentation on Applicant Evaluations,” mentored by Monica Biernat, psychology.

Monica Can, a senior from Lawrence: “How Cultural Differences Influence The Design Of Mobile Apps: A Case Study Between Unites States (U.S.) And Vietnamese Mobile Apps,” mentored by Hannah Park, design.

Morgan Cassidy, a senior from Columbus, Kansas: “Investigation of CP-Violation via the Top-Higgs Yukawa Interaction for High-Energy Muon Collisions,” mentored by Kyoungchul Kong, physics & astronomy.

Samuel Clark, a senior from Manhattan: “How Permanent are Sexual Identity Labels? Is Label Permanency Related to Changes in Sexual Attraction?,” mentored by Michael Vitevitch, psychology.

Marilyn Curtis, a senior from Olathe: “How Cultural Differences Influence the Design Of Mobile Apps: A Case Study Between Unites States (U.S.) And Vietnamese Mobile Apps,” mentored by Robert Fiorentino, linguistics.

Julianne Dillon, a senior from Lawrence: “Politically Motivated Self-Censorship in French Universities,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Abbey Doyle, a senior from Lawrence: “Establishing a Culture of Writing: Bridging the Gap between Professor and Multilingual Student Misconceptions about Writing Centers,” mentored by John Poggio, educational psychology.

Abigail Driggers, a senior from Hillsboro: “Prediction Versus Integration in Listening Comprehension: Autism Spectrum Disorder,” mentored by Meghan Davidson, speech-language-hearing.

Rachel Hall, a senior from Lenexa: “Palestinians' Right to Water: Impact of Israeli Settlements on Palestinians' Water Access,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Kailene Hamilton, a senior from Hesston: “Evictions in Lawrence,” Melinda Lewis, social welfare.

Joseph Hartung, a senior from Saint Louis, MO: “US Security Assistance to Kenya: A Double-Edged Sword?” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Megan Heeney, a senior from Lenexa: “The Interaction of Labor Market Demands and Automation Processes: A Task-Based Analysis of Automation in the Japanese Transportation Industry,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Charles Herro, a junior from Lawrence: “Far-Right Online Forums in a Post-Trump Era: Internet Culture and Memes,” Tracey LaPierre, sociology.

Amanda Hertel, a senior from Shawnee: “Tau Protein and Lipid Dysregulation: Potential Role in Alzheimer’s Disease Progression,” mentored by Prajnaparamita Dhar, chemical & petroleum engineering.

Madison Holloway, a senior from Overland Park: “Web Dream,” mentored by Megan Kaminski, English.

Logan Honeycutt, a senior from Overland Park: “First-principles Calculations of Multivalent Ions in Vanadium Oxide for High-performing Battery Cathodes,” mentored by Hartwin Peelaers, physics & astronomy.

Renee Kang, a junior from Lawrence: “Effects of Time Pressure in Probability Judgments and Choice under Context Effects,” mentored by Tim Pleskac, psychology.

Bethlehem Kelecha, a junior from Olathe: “Chinese Economic Influence in Africa: Does Trade Dependency Create Political Dependency?,” mentored by Jack Zhang, political science.

Danielle Kunz, a senior from St. Louis: “How do United States Refugee Policies Affect the Mental Health of Refugees from Venezuela?,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Natalie Lamb, a senior from Lenexa: “Perceptions of Deserved Parental Leave for Adoptive and Birth Parents,” mentored by Monica Biernat, psychology.

Elizabeth Lee, a senior from Blue Springs, Missoui: “Measuring Sustainability and Resilience Tradeoffs for Tornado-Resistant Design Approaches for Single-Family Residential Buildings,” mentored by Elaina Sutley, civil, environmental & architectural engineering.

Käte-Marie Legler, a senior from Norman, Oklahoma: “Mental Illness and its Associations with Statutorily Defined Sentencing Aggravators among Persons Recently Convicted of Capital Murder,” mentored by Jason Matejkowski, social welfare.

Wanheng Li, a senior from Beijing, China: “Evaluating the Evidence on the Duchenne Smile and Felt Positive Emotion,” mentored by Jeffrey Girard, psychology.

Margaret Lockwood, a senior from Lawrence: “Illuminating the Unseen: Microbial Exploration through Mixed Media Expression,” mentored by Ben Sikes, ecology & evolutionary biology.

Logan Longacre, a senior from Lawrence: “Are Low-Latitude Cloud Properties Changing with Tropical Expansion?,” mentored by Justin Stachnik, atmospheric science.

Camryn Lowe, a senior from Horton: “The Development of Complex Syntax in Children Who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing,” mentored by Jena McDaniel, Life Span Institute.

Laura Malagon-Palacios, a senior from Garden City: “TRIO Parental School Involvement During Online School and Their Mental Health Status,” mentored by Sabrina Gregersen, Center for Educational Opportunity Programs.

Alex Manley, a junior from Allen, Texas: “Crossing the Gap of Gem5: The Future of Memory Processing,” Mohammad Alian, electrical engineering & computer science.

Alyssa Morrell, a junior from Topeka: “Investigating Female Predisposition to Musculoskeletal Disease Through in Vitro Spheroid Models of Meniscal Fibrocartilage,” mentored by Jennifer Robinson, chemical & petroleum engineering.

Lena Mose, a junior from Lawrence: “Kansas Latina Legacies,” mentored by Elizabeth Esch, American studies.

Gavin Mullin, a senior from Overland Park: “Constructing a Performance-based Model Using Cognitive Network and Affective Science,” mentored by Michael Vitevitch, psychology.

Austin Nguyen, a senior from Overland Park: “Campanian Cornus Fossil Fruits: A Look into the Cretaceous Diversification of Cornaceae,” mentored by Brian Atkinson, ecology & evolutionary biology and Biodiversity Institute.

Natalie Nickels, a junior from Lenexa: “Researching How to Catalogue and Store 3D Scans in Archaeology and its Applications,” mentored by Frederic Sellet, anthropology.

Greta Olsen, a senior from Bartlesville, Oklahoma: “Physical Property Characterization of Ionic Liquids Using a High-Pressure View Cell: Phase II,” mentored by Mark Shiflett,  chemical & petroleum engineering.

Sophia Perniciaro, a senior from St. Louis: “Can We Affect Cigarette Demand Using Improved Graphic Warning Labels That Include Oral Health?,” mentored by Derek Reed, applied behavioral science.

Harrison Polen, a senior from Overland Park: “Export Abilities in Landlocked African Countries: How Does Political Stability, Natural Resource Access, and the Economic Freedom Index Score Play a Role?,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Lauren Prehn, a junior from Overland Park: “A Comparison of Parent-Report Social Communication Assessments in School-Age Children with ASD,” mentored by Meghan Davidson, speech-language-hearing: sciences & disorders.

Miguel Rivera, a senior from Overland Park: “Depression Severity as Indicated by Vocal Pitch, Word Choice, and Response Latency in Gastrointestinal Patients,” mentored by Jeffrey Girard, psychology.

Hannah Rose, a senior from Wichita: “History of the Kansas Industrial School for Girls,” mentored by Jonathan Hagel, history.

Emma Scott, a senior from Topeka: “Native Korean Speakers' Acquisition of the English Progressive,” mentored by Alison Gabriele, linguistics.

Margo Stokebrand, a senior from Lawrence: “Pollution in China,” mentored by Brian Lagotte, global & international studies.

Kate Woods, a senior from Prairie Village: “Discovery of Aspergillus nidulans Secondary Metabolites That Block Quorum Sensing in the Pathogenic Bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa,” mentored by Josephine Chandler, molecular biosciences.

Jenny Zhang, a senior from Xiangxi Tujia And Miao Autonomous Prefecture, China: ”Top-Higgs Interactive Simulations through MadGraph5_aMC@NLO and Future Investigations of Muon Colliders,” mentored by Ian Lewis, physics & astronomy.

Thu, 02/10/2022


Matt Downen

Media Contacts

Matt Downen

Center for Undergraduate Research