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13 students receive Undergraduate Research Awards

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

LAWRENCE — This fall, 13 KU students will receive Undergraduate Research Awards (UGRAs). UGRA recipients receive a $1,000 scholarship for support as they work on mentored research and creative projects. 

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

The Center for Undergraduate Research coordinates the UGRA competition.  More information is available on the Center’s website. The center is currently taking applications for the Spring 2018 competition, which has a deadline of Nov. 2.

Students receiving awards for fall 2017 are listed below:

McKenzie Butcher, senior from Topeka majoring in speech-language-hearing: “Phonetic Convergence during Language Interactions between Bilinguals and English Monolinguals,” mentored by Navin Viswanathan, associate professor of speech-language-hearing.

Brooks Danahy, senior from Shawnee majoring in chemical engineering: “Characterization of Melting Point Depression and Phase Change Behavior in Ionic Liquid + Compressed Gas Systems,” mentored by Mark Shiflett, Foundation Distinguished Professor, chemical engineering.

Joseph Denning, junior from Overland Park majoring in behavioral neuroscience: “Using Phonographic Networks to Examine Spoken and Visual Word Recognition,” mentored by Michael Vitevitch, professor of psychology.

Meg Fowler, senior from Bonner Springs majoring in social welfare: “Transgender Youth and their Communities: A Qualitative Exploration of the Relationship between Community Climate, Shame, Internalized Transphobia and Wellbeing,” mentored by Megan Paceley, assistant professor of social welfare.

Jeremy Katz, senior from Overland Park majoring in aerospace engineering: “Distributed Pressure Sensing for Small Unmanned Aircraft,” mentored by Haiyang Chao, assistant professor of aerospace engineering.

Deven Knapp, senior from Overland Park majoring in photo media: “Oswego Then and Now,” mentored by Elise Kirk, assistant professor of photo media.

Zoe Lai, junior from Wichita majoring in biochemistry: “Test of an iPad Application for Home-Based Therapy of Chronic Low Back Pain,” mentored by Brittany Melton, assistant professor of pharmacy practice.

Kayla Lawson, junior from Ozawkie majoring in psychology and political science, classical antiquities minor: “Aphrodite: Where did the War Go?,” mentored by Craig Jendza, assistant professor of classics.

Erick Oduniyi, senior from Wichita majoring in computer engineering: “Modeling Child Language Acquisition through Hidden Markov Model-Based Speech Recognition,” mentored by Nicole Beckage, assistant professor of electrical engineering & computer science.

Hannah Stohr, junior from Lenexa majoring in chemical engineering: “Aiding Algae Growth in Recovered Product,” mentored by Belinda Sturm, associate professor of civil, environmental & architectural engineering.

Emma Tuschhoff, senior from Bellevue, Washington, majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology: “Vocalization and Microhabitat Phylogenetic Analysis in Malagasy Frogs,” mentored by Richard Glor, associate professor of ecology & evolutionary biology.

Cecilia Villanueva, senior from Hutchinson majoring in microbiology: “Serum Bactericidal Activity of Animals Immunized against Salmonella,” mentored by Wendy Picking, professor of pharmaceutical chemistry.

Niall Whalen, a senior from Wescosville, Pennsylvania, majoring in geology and ecology & evolutionary biology: “Analysis of Dinosaur Coprolites for Amoebic Cyst Material,” mentored by Alison Olcott Marshall, associate professor of geology.


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Research teaches critical thinking and problem solving — top skills sought by employers
The Research Experience Program has certified more than 2,000 students since 2005
KU is a member of the Council on Undergraduate Research
More than 1,200 students have received Undergraduate Research Awards since 1986
More than 150 mentors sponsored undergraduate projects through the Center for Undergraduate Research each year
KU's first valedictorian, Flora Richardson, conducted research as an undergraduate before graduating in 1873
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Use research to apply what you learned in the classroom to a real problem
Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
Research is a hands-on way to explore career options
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