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‘Groundbreaking and transformative’ work at Undergraduate Research Expo

May 3, 2018
four students holding awardsPresident's Award winners, from left to right, Lauren Oey ’18, Harrah Newman ’18, Yiyun Huang ’18, and Perry DeMarche ’18 were honored at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Exposition. (University of Rochester photo / Lindsey Valich)

A diversity of subject matter was on display this year at the University of Rochester’s annual Undergraduate Research Exposition. Students presented projects in topics ranging from fluid dynamics, deforestation in Bolivia, and nomad cultures in Morocco to prenatal depression, meteorites, and software that affects education.

“This is what University research is all about,” said Joan Saab, vice provost of academic affairs. “It’s students crossing boundaries between disciplines, asking questions, and coming up with innovative and exciting answers to the challenges that face us in the contemporary world.”

More than 60 students participated in the exposition this year, representing some of the “most accomplished undergraduate research throughout the college,” said Paul Burgett, vice president and senior advisor to the president, who presented several awards to students. “We like to honor those whose work is on the tip of the spear, so to speak; those whose work is groundbreaking and transformative.”

The poster presentation fair in the Medical Center’s Flaum Atrium allowed a place for all undergraduate students who had conducted research in the last year to present their findings to the College community. (University of Rochester photo / Lindsey Valich)

Students received the following awards for undergraduate research in the humanities, engineering, natural sciences, and social sciences:

President’s Awards

  • Harrah Newman ’18 (biomedical engineering): “Viscoelastic Heating of Bovine Intervertebral Disc”
  • Perry DeMarche ’18 (anthropology): “’Not-so-Nomadic’ Nomads: Cultural Commodification and Authenticity Among Former Nomads in Morocco”
  • Yiyun Huang ’18 (brain and cognitive sciences, math): “Reasoning Through the Disjunctive Syllogism in Non-Human Primates”
  • Lauren Oey ’18 (brain and cognitive sciences, statistics, linguistics): “Concepts are Like Rules by Gradient: Preserving Gradience in a Logical Model of Mental Representation”

 Deans’ Awards

  • Ellison Etnier ’18 (chemical engineering): “Development of Thin-Film Polymer Electrolytes for Safe Lithium Ion Batteries”
  • Sue Zhang ’18 (biomedical engineering): “Optimization and Characterization of 3D Human Prepubertal Testis Organoid System”
  • Erin Dong ’18 (dance studies, biology): “The Beautiful Awful: Experiencing Grief Through Movement”
  • Courtney Otto ’19 (history, international relations): “Meiji Ishin Revolution Viewed through the Lens of Classical Marxism”
  • Teddy E. Scheuerman ’18 (history, English, art history): “Confronting the Preinvented World: Angels in America, Wojnarowicz’s Close to the Knives, AIDS Literature, & Literary Style”
  • Zach Bunnell ’18 (geological science): “Metal Analysis of the Novosibirsk Meteorite and Early Solar System Implications”
  • Fiona Nichols-Fleming ’19 (physics and astronomy): “Constraining Spot Coverage as a Function of Age in Main-Sequence Stars”
  • Megan Kibler ’18 (psychology, music): “The Effects of Live Music Participation on Social Bonding and Quality of Life in Psychiatric Geriatric Patients”
  • Margaret Thurston ’18 (global sustainable development): “Deforestation, Forest Degradation, and Conservation in Concepción, Bolivia”

 Professors’ Choice Awards

  • Gregory Shephard ’18 (chemical engineering): “Computational Fluid Dynamics in Liquid Metal Batteries”
  • Gauri Patil ’19 (brain and cognitive sciences): “Determining the Importance of Randomizing Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) Stimuli for Stroke Patients”
  • Kyle Smith ’19 (economics): “Access is Necessary but Not Sufficient: Factors Influencing Delay and Avoidance of Healthcare Services”
  • Bailey Speck ’19 and Dasia Martinez ’18 (psychology): “Perceptions of Lifetime adversity and Unrealistic Optimism (PILOT)”

The ceremony also honored distinguished faculty members who have been instrumental in student scholarship and research. New this year was the College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Mentorship, funded by Frederick Lewis ’68 (PhD) and his wife Susan Rice Lewis. David McCamant, an associate professor of chemistry, was the inaugural recipient of the award.

Three exceptional faculty members were also recognized with the Student Association Professor of the Year Award:

  • Social sciences: Carolina Caetano, Department of Economics
  • Natural sciences and engineering: John Kessler, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
  • Humanities: Nicholas Gresens, Department of Religion and Classics

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Category: Student Life