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Undergraduate Research Symposium to celebrate outstanding research, mentoring

Friday, April 25, 2014

LAWRENCE — The 17th Annual Undergraduate Research Symposium will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday, April 26, in the Kansas Union.

"The Symposium is KU's celebration of the excellent research, scholarship and creative works completed by KU undergraduates each year," said John Augusto, assistant vice provost. "We will celebrate these students and the mentors that have guided them throughout the year."

The Undergraduate Research Symposium is sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research and the Office of Research. Undergraduate students, faculty and the general public are invited to attend the Symposium to learn about the breadth of undergraduate research at KU. A full list of student presenters is available on the Center’s website.

One way that excellence in undergraduate research and mentoring will be celebrated is by recognizing a select group of students and mentors with awards. 

Student awards: The ACE Research Talks will feature six undergraduate researchers, listed below. These awards are designed to showcase students who can present their research and creative projects in an (A)ccesible, (C)reative, and (E)ngaging way. Students applied for the awards by submitting a short video of themselves talking about their research. Award winners will each receive $500, co-sponsored by the James K. Hitt Award through the University Honors Program and the Center for Undergraduate Research.

The 2014 ACE Research Talk winners:

  • Rachel Cross, Wichita, “Ecopoetics and the Academic Ecosystem: A Step-by-Step Guide for the Anti-Colonialist”; research mentors: Megan Kaminski, English; Mary Klayder, English.
  • Gavin Hanson, Salina, “The Role of Attention in Goal-Directed Semantic Retrieval: Evidence from Multi-Voxel Pattern Analysis”; research mentor: Evangelia G. Chrysikou, psychology.
  • Alex Kong, Lawrence, “Evaluating Derivatives of Vitamin E as Therapeutic Agents for Alleviating Lysosomal Trafficking Defects Associated with Neurodegenerative Diseases”; research mentor: Jeff Krise, pharmaceutical chemistry.
  • Megan Nelson, Manhattan, “Tipping: An Economic Anomaly”; research mentor: Neal Becker, economics.
  • Mitchell Newton, Overland Park, “Utilizing Microdialysis and Electrocortiography to Understand Seizure Activity in the Brain”; research mentor: Craig Lunte, chemistry.
  • Josh Russell, Lawrence, “Resources and Educational Outcomes: A Look at Kansas and Missouri Public Schools”; research mentor: Donna Ginther, economics.

Along with the ACE Research Talks, more than 100 undergraduate presenters will be giving presentations of their research and creative projects. All students will receive feedback on their presentations from graduate students and faculty judges. They also are eligible for Outstanding Presentation Awards. These $50 awards will be given to student presenters at the Symposium Banquet at the end of the day.

Mentor Awards: In addition to the student awards, two undergraduate research mentoring awards, one for faculty and one for graduate students or staff, will be given at the Symposium. The mentor awards honor the contribution of outstanding undergraduate research mentors to their students' development and to their own discipline.  Mentors are nominated through a two-part process: students, faculty, or staff submit recommendations for a mentor to be considered for the award, then home departments and supervisors submit full application packets.

The 2014 mentor award winners:

Barbara Schowen Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (faculty):

  • 2014 Award Winner: Kostas Kokkinakis, speech-language-hearing
  • Honorable Mention: Renee Perelmutter, Slavic languages & literatures

Undergraduate Research Mentor Award (graduate student/staff):

  • 2014 Award Winner: Rachel Bowes, ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Honorable Mention: Jacob Carter, ecology and evolutionary biology

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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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Students who perform research develop strong relationships with KU faculty
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