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Student research shared in poster presentations

A two-month program ended July 25, 2014, with scholars in Elon University’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience displaying their work for professors and peers inside McKinnon Hall during a special College Coffee.

Elon University student Tom Riley (left) talks about his summer research with Assistant Professor Ben Evans.

Many of Elon’s top student scholars presented findings of their work over the past two months in a Friday morning campus event that highlighted projects funded through the university’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience.

A total of 44 students representing 22 different majors presented posters to explain their scholarly pursuits, including data collection and analysis, in two sessions in McKinnon Hall that coincided with a special College Coffee.

“This program is a high-impact experience for them,” said Professor Paul Miller, Elon University’s director of undergraduate research. “Where else are you going to get eight weeks of time focused on these kinds of research activities? We’re building confidence and supporting inquisitiveness and curiosity with an opportunity that advances scholarly projects in significant ways.”

Founded in 1997, the SURE program pays top Elon undergraduate researchers a stipend of at least $3,000 to spend eight weeks on campus each summer collaborating with a faculty mentor on emerging research questions.

Projects supported by this program exhibit the potential for scholarly publication or presentation.

“Undergraduate research is important at a teaching institution like Elon because it gives students the engaged learning that helps them see in real life the things that we talk about in the classroom,” said Ryan Kirk, an assistant professor of geography and environmental studies who mentored Elon senior Helen Peplowski on a project involving stream sentiment. “This sets up students for graduate school and real-world jobs much better than just by taking a set list of classes.”

Students praise the summer program, as well as the university’s support of undergraduate research, for other benefits independent of learning about methodology, data collection and making presentations.

“People all the time tell you to ‘find your passion.’ If you ‘find your passion,’ you’ll be successful,” said Elon junior Sam Hershberger, a psychology major from Ohio and member of the varsity men’s basketball team doing research on the effects of fish oil on cognitive function. “The hard part is finding your passion, and one way to do that is trying to have as many experiences as you can. At Elon, SURE is one of the best.”

The following students (with the names of their research projects) participated in the SURE 2014 poster session:

Cecily Basquin: Non-Native Speakers of English: Accuracy and Communication in an Eyewitness Context (Mentored by Associate Professor Meredith Allison)

Nicole Soltz: Computing Galois Groups of Degree 3 p-adic Polynomials (Mentored by Assistant Professor Chad Awtrey)

Susanna Masecar: Sustenance vs. Wildlife Ecology: Effects of Agriculture on Mammal Diversity (Mentored by Assistant Professor Amanda Chunco)

Natalie Sipala: Cross-Cultural Empathy of Undergraduates: The Impact of a Play Therapy Service Learning Course (Mentored by Associate Professor Judith Esposito)

Elon University student Georgia Lee speaks with Professor Karl Sienerth about her summer work.

Hannah Allen: The Second Generation of HIV to the Third: Perceptions of Adolescent Parents with Perinatally-Acquired HIV (Mentored by Professor Cynthia Fair)

Nicole Panaggio: The Public Health Implications of Contraceptive Choices to Discontinue Reproduction (Mentored by Assistant Professor Alexis Franzese)

Tom Riley: Kinetics of Metal Substitution Reactions (Mentored by Professor Eugene Grimley)

Sam Hershberger: Effects of Supplementation of Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA) on Cognitive Function (Mentored by Professors Eric Hall and Paul Miller)

Molly Burgoyne: Role of Heightened Sensory Tools on Classroom Performance for Students with Learning Differences (Mentored by Associate Professor Caroline Ketcham)

Helen Peplowski: Developing Sediment Budgets for Two Piedmont Headwater Streams (Mentored by Assistant Professor Ryan Kirk)

Julianne Erickson: The Moderating Effect of Core Self-Evaluations on the Relationship Between Perceived Organizational Support and Organizational and Academic Burnout in College Students (Mentored by Associate Professor Chris Leupold)

Chelsea McQueen: Race-Related stress and its relationship to obesity risk behaviors for emerging adult Black American women (Mentored by Assistant Professor Buffie Longmire-Avital)

Emily Cinquemani: The Mythical and the Everyday: Fred Chappell's Use of Classical Myth in the Kirkman Tetralogy (Mentored by Professor Kathy Lyday)

Melinda Hersey: Protein Aggregates and Oxidation of DNA in Neurodegenerative Diseases (Mentored by Associate Professor Kathy Matera)

Grace Hanlon: The Exploration of Technology Advancements on Collegiate Football Gameday Attendance (Mentored by Assistant Professor Cara McFadden)

Timothy Demers: Determine How Oil Dispersants Disrupt ATPase Expression within the Skin and Gills of Zebrafish (Mentored by Associate Professor Linda Niedziela)

Elena Meskhidze: Developing an Atlas of Starburst Emission Lines (Mentored by Assistant Professor Chris Richardson)

Alyssa Romano: Synthesis and Characterization of a New Potential CO2 Reduction Catalyst (Mentored by Professor Karl Sienerth)

Rebecca Gazda: That's what she said: An interface for Detecting Profanity, Insults, and Sexism in Dialogue (Mentored by Associate Professor Megan Squire)

Melissa Mischka: Developing Young Children's Scientific Reasoning through Participation in Authentic Activities (Mentored by Professor Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler)

Elon University student Melinda Hersey, a participant in the 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, speaks about her project with Professor Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler.

Chloe Connolly: Distribution and Phenology of Spring Ephemeral Species on Elon University Forest (Mentored by Associate Professor David Vandermast)

Pamela Gutermuth: Mapping Buddhism in America (Mentored by Assistant Professor Pamela Winfield)

Robin French: A New Algorithm for Determining When A Quintic Is Solvable by Radicals (Mentored by Assistant Professor Chad Awtrey)

Kaitlin Stober: Family Completion Study:  Understanding the Impact of Developmental Disability (Mentored by Professor Larry Basirico)

Alexa Dixon: Perspectives of College Students Serving as Mentors in a Long-term Mentoring program (Mentored by Associate Professor Alexa Darby)

Aaron Neaves: Development of a Prototype of an Optical Microfluidic Biosensor (Mentored by Assistant Professor Benjamin Evans)

Sophie Rupp: The Role of Social Support in Adjustment to Postsecondary and Employment Settings for Emerging Adults with End-Stage Renal Disease (Mentored by Professor Cynthia Fair)

Cory Nagel: United States National Interests within Foreign Policy:  The Three Waves of Senatorial Ratification of NATO Expansion (Mentored by Assistant Professor Sean Giovanello)

Kayla Harvey: Examination of Gender Differences in Concussions of Student Athletes (Mentored by Professor Eric Hall)

Rachel Mehaffey: Exploring Rhetorical Agency and Somatic Authority in Elon University Dance Majors (Mentored by Associate Professor Lauren Kearns)

Lauren Packard: An Investigation of the Mirror Neuron System in Expert and Novice Individuals (Mentored by Associate Professor Caroline Ketcham)

Meaghan Walsh: Eurozone Crisis and the Resurgence of the Catalan Independence Movement - A Cultural Economy Perspective (Mentored by Associate Professor Jason Kirk)

Sibley Fillette: Identification of Competencies for Lawyer Leaders (Mentored by Associate Professor Chris Leupold)

Brenda Reavis: “Deep like the sea and strong like the earth”: Exploring the Ideal Partner Characteristics of Young Adult Heterosexual Black Women (Mentored by Assistant Professor Buffie Longmire-Avital)

Taylor Glenn: Structure of Estrogenic Hormones Oxidized by Lactoperoxidase (Mentored by Associate Professor Kathy Matera)

Sarah Zierhoffer: A Case Study of Project-Based Learning in a Secondary Mathematics Classroom (Mentored by Senior Lecturer Janet Mays)

Georgia Lee: Knowledge and Skills of Elon Students Surrounding Sex Trafficking and Labor Exploitation Issues: Implications for Human Trafficking Education and Prevention among College & University Students (Mentored by Assistant Professor Carmen Monico)

Rachel Fishman: Rhetorical Reality: The Awareness Gap between Advocacy Campaign Messages and Public Awareness in the Human Trafficking Crisis (Mentored by Associate Professor Rebecca Pope-Ruark)

Lainey McQuain: Origami and Teaching Language and Composition (Mentored by Associate Professor Alan Russell)

Shannon Temlak: To Green or Not to Green: Understanding Variations in Levels of Climate Change Policy Adoption by U.S. States (Mentored by Assoicate Professor Sharon Spray and Assistant Professor Jason Husser)

Samantha Coffer: Continued Investigation of the Organization of Lipid Anchors in Fission Yeast (Mentored by Assistant Professor Sara Triffo)

Kaitlin Sands: Parent Guidance of Children's Numeracy in Virtual and Physical Games (Mentored by Professor Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler)

John Loughery: Examining the Impact of Eliminating Division I Football (Mentored by Associate Professor Tony Weaver)

Aidan Ganzert: Loclized Urbanization Impacts on Yulong Glacier Melt (Mentored by Associate Professor Honglin Xiao)

Eric Townsend,
7/29/2014 1:50 PM