April 20, 2010

Undergraduates honored for research at SIUC

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill -- Twelve undergraduate researchers took home prizes at an annual event at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Undergraduate Research Forum celebrates and recognizes the research and creativity of undergraduate students, showcasing their efforts in conducting those activities.

Sponsored by the Office of Research Development and Administration and the Office of the Provost, the event featured a poster session highlighting original research and creative activities by SIUC undergraduates, who worked under the guidance of faculty mentors. Posters explained their research or creative methods, with the best projects winning prizes. Almost 70 students competed in this year’s event, held in late March.

Three students tied for first place at the event. Those students were:

• Felipe Pincheira, a senior in mechanical engineering and the son of Raul E. Pincheira and Marta E. Valdes of Chile. His project was titled “Thermodynamic and Sensitivity Analyses for Cogeneration Plant Improvements.” His mentors were Justin Harrell, an electrical engineer with Physical Plant Service and James Mathias, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

• Sarah Pitcher, a senior in sociology and Spanish and the daughter of Debra S. Pitcher of Anna. Her project was titled “Secondary Victim Advocates in the Latino Community: A Qualitative Test of the Ecological Model of Victim Advocacy.” Her faculty mentor was Michelle Hughes Miller, associate professor of sociology.

• Jessica Young, a junior in psychology and administration of justice and the daughter of Geoffrey W. and Lisa M. Young of Spring Branch, Texas. Her project was titled “Predicting Early Onset Delinquency in Young Children: A Look at Parent-Child Interactions.” Her faculty mentor was Lisabeth DiLalla, professor of behavioral social science with the SIU School of Medicine.

Two students tied for second place at the event. Those students were:

• Andrew Dennhardt, a senior in zoology and the son of Eugene G. and Beri L. Dennhardt of East Moline. His project was titled “Dispersal Characteristics of Peregrine Falcons in the Midwest.” His faculty mentors were Brooks M. Burr, professor of zoology, and Eric C. Hellgren, director of the SIUC Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory.

• Dallas Flickinger, a senior in zoology and son of Michael E. and Sandra M. Flickinger of Overland Park, Kan. His project was titled “Assessing the Bioavailability of Permethrin on Daphnia Magna.” His faculty mentor was Michael Lydy, professor of zoology.

Four students tied for fourth place in the event. Those students were:

• Misty Absher, a senior in psychology and daughter of Kevin E. and Karen L. Absher of Marion. Her project was titled “Attachment Style and Emotional Intelligence: The Relationship Between the Two.” Her faculty mentor was Paul E. Etcheverry, assistant professor of psychology.

• Kimberly Elsenbroek, a sophomore in plant biology and the daughter of Kenneth J. and Marguerite A. Elsenbroek of Kingston. Her project was titled “Ectopic Responses of Indiangrass to Varying Water Regimes.” Her faculty mentor was Sara G. Baer, associate professor of plant biology.

• Jeremy Hartsock, a senior in biological sciences and son of Jerry A. Hartsock and Jillene F. Minnaert of Geneseo. His project was titled “Does Outer Dynein Exist in Land Plant Flagella: A Combined Bioinformatic and TEM Study.” His faculty mentor was Karen Renzaglia, associate professor of plant biology.

• Alex Singleton, a senior in mechanical engineering and energy processes and son of Percy L. and Lois F. Singleton of O’Fallon. His project was titled “Boiler Dispatch Optimization.” His mentor was Justin Harrell, an electrical engineer with Physical Plant Service.

De’Angelo Williams Jr., a senior majoring in cinema, won the Outstanding Arts/Creative Project Award. Williams is the son of De’Angelo Sr. and Regina Williams of St. Louis. His faculty mentor was Jyotsna Kapur, associate professor of cinema and photography.

Tara Webb, a senior in psychology, won honorable mention. She is the daughter of James D. and Jana L. Calhoun of Murphysboro. Her project was titled “Waiting for a More Certain Future: Decision Making in a Video Game.” Her faculty mentor was Michael Young, professor of psychology.

Kirsten Eckstrum, a junior in physiology, won The People’s Choice Award. She is the daughter of Eric W. and Karen J. Eckstrum of McHenry. Her project was titled “CD137 Receptor is Expressed in a Subset of Uterine Natural Killer Cells of the Mouse.” Her faculty mentor was Brent Bany, associate professor of physiology with the SIU School of Medicine.

The annual Undergraduate Research Forum began in 2002 and is part of the Research-Enriched Academic Challenge -- or REACH -- at SIUC. The program stresses the importance of immersing undergraduates in the research experience early in their careers as a means of promoting scholarship and academic curiosity, as well as providing valuable hands-on experience in the field, laboratory or studio.