31st Annual Undergraduate Research Day Saturday, APril 6, 2019

From Anthropology to STEM... we have it all! The annual Undergraduate Research Day is hosted by the Honors College for University of Oklahoma undergraduate students to share their research or accounts of their work in progress. Through the presentations, students and faculty from across the University discover the benefits of these hands-on research opportunities in laboratories, studios, libraries and field sites.

Multiple judges, skilled in evaluating student work and presentations, ensure that the process is fair for all students.

L-R: Assoc. Prof. Amanda Minks, Assoc. Prof. Sarah Tracy, Assoc. Dean Rich Hamerla and Assoc. Prof. Marie Dallam.

Participants include students whose work has been funded through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, which offers financial assistance for scholarly and creative projects under the mentorship of a faculty member. To date, more than $240,000 has been awarded to more than 400 participants through the program.

Students reviewing their research materials before the presentations.
L: Kelly Bye presented "Celazole PBI Membranes." R: Matthew Bray presented "The Relationship Between Tropopause Polar Vortices and Mid-Latitude Severe Weather Outbreaks."

Dozens of research projects are funded each year so that undergraduates may undertake ambitious and exciting research endeavors. This competitive program is open to all OU main campus and Health Sciences Center students, who compete for research grants of up to $1,000 each semester. Award recipients are required to present at Undergraduate Research Day.

L: Thomas Cain presented "Modeling, Characterizing, and Testing a Simple Negative Stiffness Device to Achieve Apparent Weakening." C: Dillon Bruer presented "Identification of Possible Synergies between US EPA Superfund Needs and OU CREW Research Capabilities." R: Delcio Teixeira, Civil Engineering / Architecture moderator.

The Honors College extended the historically half-day conference to a full-day this year as the number of student participants swelled. A record 120 students presented across 24 different disciplines: Biology; Biochemistry; Civil Engineering; Architecture; Biomedical Engineering; Anthropology; Russian Languages and Literature; Petroleum / Aerospace / Industrial Engineering; Psychology; Religious Studies; Women and Gender Studies; Ancient and Modern Languages; Linguistics; Electrical Engineering; Computer Science; Political Science; Economics; Microbiology; Geology; Meteorology; Physics; and Health and Exercise Science.

Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall

Held in the heart of OU main campus at Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall friends, family, and faculty came to watch undergraduates present the results of their research. Approximately 235 attended.

Students rehearsing and reviewing their presentations in Lissa and Cy Wagner Hall.
L: Scott Cady, Counselor, Project Threshold C: Karina Flores presented "Metabolic Screening of the Effects of Carnitine During in vitro T. cruzi Parasite Infection" with Sophia Morren, Program Director, McNair Scholars.

Following Undergraduate Research Day, the Honors College hosted the Spring Awards Ceremony April 18. A total of $7,000 in cash awards were presented to 31 students in six disciplinary categories.

Ten Grand Prize winners received $500 respectively. Ten Distinguished Presenter Award recipients received $250 respectively. Eleven students received Honorable Mention Awards.

Honors College Awards Ceremony, April 18. L-R: Sara Kelley, Lisa Ratliff, Garrett Eakers, Albert Musaelian and Emily Huff.


Grand Prize Winners

Emily Huff with Prof. Ari Berkowitz, "Effects of Serotonin on Spinally-Generated Motor Patterns in Turtles."

Albert Musaelian with Prof. Douglas Gaffin, "Computational Exploration of the Feasibility of the Navigation-By-Scene-Familiarity Hypothesis."

Distinguished Presenter Awards

Garrett Eakers with Prof. David Hambright, "A Molecular-Genetic Approach to Enumerating Cyanobacteria."

Biological Sciences Distinguished Presenter Award recipient Garrett Eakers and family.

Lisa Ratliff with Prof. Hayley Lanier, "Establishing a Historical foundation for White Nose Syndrome in the Tri Colored Bat Species of Oklahoma."

Honorable Mention Awards

Sara Kelley with Prof. Douglas Gaffin, "Do Inhibitory Neurons Function as Governors in Scorpion Peg sensilla?"

Biological Sciences Honorable Mention Award recipient Sara Kelley with Prof. Douglas Gaffin, Interim Dean, Honors College.

Emily Eix with Prof. Paul Lawson, "Comparison of Lactic Acid Bacteria Diversity in Cow Milk from Mongolia, Switzerland and Austria."


Grand Prize Winner

Gianni Manginelli with Prof. Anthony Burgett, "Synthesis of OSW-1 Mimetics for the Development of ORP4 Precision Therapeutic Drugs."

Biochemistry Grand Prize Winner Gianni Manginelli with Prof. Anthony Burgett.

Distinguished Presenter Award

Michaela Murphy with Prof. Robert Chichewicz, "Bioactive Natural Products Analysis in Complex Microbial Environment-Arrayed Fungi Co-fermentation."

Honorable Mention Award

Matthew Baier with Prof. Hibah Awwad, "Elevated Histamine and Histamine-3 Receptor Expression Following Traumatic Brain Injury in Rats."


Phi Kappa Phi Grand Prize Winner

Rahmat Ashari with Prof. Ahmad Ghassemi, “The Study of Subsurface Fractures: Stress Shadow, Fracture Spacing and Pressure in Multistage Fracturing.”

Grand Prize Winner

Rachel Penner with Prof. Yingtao Liu, “Fabricating Shape Memory Composites for Solar Sails.”

Distinguished Presenter Awards

Andrew Calder with Prof. Shima Mohebbi, “Trust Layer as a Connected Autonomous Vehicle Security Component.”

Alexander Pham with Prof. Hjalti Sigmarsson, “Continuously Tunable Substrate Integrated Waveguide Bandpass Filter Actuated by Liquid Metal.”

Engineering / Geology / Meteorology / Computer Science / Math / Physics / Architecture Award recipients Alan Lee, Alexander Pham, Rachel Penner and Rahmat Ashari.

Honorable Mention Awards

Thomas Cain with Prof. Scott Harvey, “Modeling, Characterizing, and Testing a Simple Negative Stiffness Device to Achieve Apparent Weakening.”

Alan Lee with Prof. S. Lakshmivarahan, “Topology and Models of Complex Networks.”


Grand Prize Winners

Osamah Mian with Prof. Michael Detamore, "Collagen I and Hyaluronic Acid-Based Bioinks to Produce Corneal Stromal-Like Constructs."

Biomedical Engineering Grand Prize Winner Osamah Mian and family.

Colton Ross with Prof. Chung-Hao Lee, "An Investigation of the Contributions of the Porcine Atrioventricular Heart Valve Leaflet Microstructure to Organ-Level Mechanical Behaviors."

Distinguished Presenter Awards

Paige Welch and Prof. Rong Z. Gan, "3-D Finite Element Model of the Chinchilla Ear for Modeling Sound Transmission from Ear Canal to Cochlea."

Yung Te Tsai with Prof. Chung-Hao Lee, "Application of Artificial Neural Networks to Determine the Relationship Between the Atrioventricular Heart Valve Leaflet's Mechanics and Microstructure."

Honorable Mention Awards

Cortland Johns with Prof. Chung-Hao Lee, "Data-Driven Computational Modeling of Heart Valve Function."

Katherine Haddad with Prof. Handan Acar, “Internalization of Folate Receptor Targeting Nanoparticles into Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines."

Biomedical Engineering Award recipients Katherine Haddad, Paige Welch and Osamah Mian.

Emily Thomas with Prof. Michael Detamore, “2D NMR Spectroscopy for Quantification of Peptide Conjugation in Biomaterials Designed to Facilitate Neuron Regeneration.”


Grand Prize Winners

Ananya Bhaktaram with Prof. Abhishek Ghosh Moulick, "Residential Segregation: A Story of Health Inadequacies."

Ian Miller with Prof. Thomas Fenn, "The Archaeological Site of Marandet, Niger, and Its Role in Ancient Trans-Saharan Trade Networks."

Distinguished Presenter Awards

Cynthia Belardo with Prof. Janet Allen, "Menstrual Cups for Women's Empowerment in Lucknow, India."

Humanities / Psychology / Social Sciences / Anthropology / Health & Exercise Sciences Distinguished Presenter Award recipient Cynthia Belardo with Professors Farrokh Mistree, Janet Allen, family and friends.

Jaycie Thaemert with Prof. Misha Klein, "Fake Accounts and Real Identities: An Ethnographic Approach to Finstas."

Honorable Mention Awards

Jonathan Gogolakis with Prof. Mauricio Carvallo, "The Role of Perceived Received Affection on Job Self Efficacy."

Ella Parsons with Prof. Tassie K. Hirschfeld, "New Delhi's Toxic Air Pollution in Context; Development, Urbanization and Public Health."

Humanities / Psychology / Social Sciences / Anthropology / Health & Exercise Sciences Honorable Mention Award recipient (L) Ella Parsons and friend.


Phi Beta Kappa Grand Prize Winner

Katy Felkner with Prof. Samuel J. Huskey, "Servius: An Object-Oriented Approach."

Distinguished Presenter Award

Jonathan Walls with Prof. Emily Johnson, "Translating the Unknown: Soviet Studies of Pamir Languages."

Honorable Mention Award

Aaron Brown with Prof. Emily Johnson, "Koryo-Saram: Of Both Worlds."

Undergraduate Research Day presenters (L) Rachel Penner and (far R) Katy Felkner with friends.

The Honors College appreciates the Office of the Provost for supporting the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. We also thank Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi for sponsoring awards for distinguished undergraduate research.

We sincerely appreciate the dedication of our alumni and members of the Honors College Board of Visitors and Boren Society for Honors Education for their support of Undergraduate Research Day:

Steve Barghols - Mary Brett - Susan Chambers - Marsha Funk - Doug Gaffin - John Kenney - Cynda Ottaway - David Postic - Travis Ruddle - John and Shyla Slay - Ralph Thompson.

Three OU generations attended Undergraduate Research Day! Katy Felkner (center) with her parents and grandparents.

Congratulations to the 120 students who presented at the 31st Annual Undergraduate Research Day April 6, 2019! The level of work and the quality of your presentations were "mind blowing." Well done!

Thank you to the following individuals who served as judges for the 2019 Undergraduate Research Day:

Claire Curry - Julia Ehrhardt - Ronald Halterman - Mariëlle Hoefnagels - Brian Johnson - Ryan Lagerquist - Amanda Minks - Anisha Nijhawan - Karen Renfroe - Paul Sims - Montrai Spikes.

Special thanks to the following Honors College staff for their help in organizing Undergraduate Research Day.

Mike Aguilar - Jeff Cooper - Tanya Miller - Nicolette Nicar - Will O'Donnell - Lisa Tucker.

Gianni Manginelli, Grand Prize Winner and Michaela Murphy, Distinguished Presenter, Biochemistry.
Photo to left: Prof. Sarah Tracy, Lisa Ratliff, Amy King and Abigail Lange
Prof. Doug Gaffin, Interim Dean, Honors College, Sara Kelley, Kristen Speer and Albert Musaelian.

The 32nd annual Undergraduate Research Day will be held April 2020. Want to get involved? Please contact Lisa Tucker, Director of External and Alumni Relations at (405) 325-9088 or ljtucker@ou.edu to learn about opportunities available to alumni and friends, sponsoring companies, individuals, and organizations.

Report prepared by Lisa Tucker May 11, 2019.

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