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‘Record involvement’ in annual Undergraduate Research Expo

April 26, 2019
one student standing in front of a poster,describing her research project to another student.Psychology major Mersania Jn Pierre ’19 discusses her research project, “Happily Ever After: The Differing Impacts of Fairytale and Action Movies on Romantic Relationships,” during the 2019 Undergraduate Research Exposition. (University of Rochester photo / Bob Marcotte)

At the University of Rochester’s annual Undergraduate Research Exposition, students presented projects in topics ranging from virtual reality, gene expression, and rainbow numbers, to historical structures in Ghana, urban farming in Rochester, and the effects of maternal stress on child brain function.

More than 120 students participated in the exposition this year, a “record involvement,” says University President Richard Feldman. “One of the reasons we wanted to have events like this and to celebrate research is that it really is the epitome of the undergraduate educational experience. The creativity and focused learning that comes from this is really invaluable.”

The ceremony also honored Steve Manly, professor and associate chair of physics, who has served as director of undergraduate research for Arts, Science, and Engineering for the past 10 years. Manly will be stepping down from his role as director at the end of the current school year. “He has really dedicated himself to this,” says Feldman. “I greatly admire what he’s accomplished—he’s grown opportunities for students, developed programs, and really increased the visibility of undergraduate research here at the College.”

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

 President’s Awards

  • Daniel Krajovic ’20 (chemical engineering): “Engineering Processable Shape-Memory Thermoplastic Elastomers”
  • Anna Remus ’21 (archeology, technology, and historical structures; anthropology; Spanish): “Learned Men, Loyal Brothers: Lewis Henry Morgan and ‘The Club’”
  • Arokoruba Cheetham-West ’20 (neuroscience): “The Brain’s Glymphatic System in Traumatic Brain Injury”
  • Ann Yao Zhang ’19 (environmental health): “The Social Epidemiology of Maternal Mortality: A Rights-Centered Approach to Women’s Health”

Deans’ Awards for symposium presentations

  • Daniel Busaba ’21 (computer science): “All Timescale Window Co-occurrence”
  • Katherine Korslund ’20 and Marcos dos Santos ’20 (mechanical engineering): “Structural Analysis of Elmina Castle and Fort Amsterdam on the Coast of Ghana”
  • Samuel King ’20 (mathematics and computer science): “Rainbow Numbers for x1 + x2=kx3 in Zn”
  • Caitlin Davie ’19 (English and psychology): “The Effects of Affect in Peer Tutoring”
  • Natalie Huynh ’19 (anthropology): “Re-Education for National Security: Forced Assimilation of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, China”
  • Brandon Pachman ’20 (history, pre-modern foundations of French and Italian): “Devil Within the Gates? Hildegard of Bingen and Crusade”
  • Audrey Goldfarb ’19 (biology): “Sweet Protein Modification May Play a Role in Proteostasis”
  • Stuart Goldstein ’19 (geological sciences): “Carbon Isotope Characterization of Dry Tropical Forests in Recovery from Human Modification”
  • Isaac Wong ’19 (computational biology and computer science): “Complex Satellite DNA Variation Within and Between Populations of Drosophila melanogaster
  • Syed Arsalan Ghani ’21 (psychology and computational biology) and Emanuela Natali ’21 (psychology and computer science): “Young Children’s Perceptions of Peers from Different Economic Backgrounds”
  • Daria Lynch ’18/T5 ’19 (history): “The Spatial Politics of Schrebergaerten”
  • Annabelle Mournet ’19 (health, behavior, and society): “Depressive Symptoms Differentially Relate to Self-damaging Thoughts and Behaviors in Young Adults”

Professors’ Choice Awards for poster presentations

  • Reem Mislati ’19 (electrical and computer engineering): “Shear Wave Elastography to Investigate the Role of Interferon Gamma on Treatment of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma”
  • Sophia McRae ’19 (history and environmental humanities): “Budding Partnerships: Institutional Engagement with Urban Farming in Rochester”
  • Jana Jelusic ’20 (chemistry): “Photocatalytic Hydrogen Production Using CdSe QDs and Cobalt Catalysts”
  • Derrick Murekezi ’19 (geological sciences): “Gravitational Stability of the Northern Volcanic Zone in the Andes from Thermodynamic Modeling of Marcaderes Xenoliths”
  • Tishana Foster ’21 (environmental health): “Behind A Smile Is A Story: The Prevalence of Poor Oral Health and Associated Factors among Adults in Soroti Municipality, Uganda”

Several distinguished faculty members who have been instrumental in student scholarship and research also received awards. Danielle Benoit, associate professor of biomedical engineering, was the second recipient of the College Award for Undergraduate Teaching and Research Mentorship, funded by Frederick Lewis ’68 (PhD) and his wife Susan Rice Lewis.

Four exceptional faculty members were additionally recognized with Student Association Professors of the Year Awards:

  • Humanities: Ryan Prendergast, Department of Modern Languages & Cultures (Spanish)
  • Social sciences: Prema Iyer, Undergraduate Business Program
  • Natural sciences: Joseph Ciminelli, Department of Statistics
  • Engineering: George Ferguson, Department of Computer Science

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Category: Student Life