April 27, 2012

Undergraduates’ research, creative work honored

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale recently honored some top research and creative projects by its undergraduate students during the annual Undergraduate Research Forum.

The University held the event April 16, with more than 70 students participating. Seven students picked up awards during the competition, which SIU Carbondale held for the first time in 2002.  The Undergraduate Research Forum is part of the Research-Enriched Academic Challenge -- or REACH -- at SIU Carbondale, and the event showcases research and creative project posters from a wide variety of academic pursuits by students.

The University emphasizes immersing undergraduates in the research experience early in their careers as a means of promoting their scholarship and curiosity, as well as giving them valuable hands-on experience in the field, laboratory or studio.

The poster forum featured current REACH students and many others from across the campus, who conducted original research, scholarly or creative projects. Students and faculty were on hand during the event to explain their projects and results.

“The event is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to showcase the research project that they have completed with a faculty mentor,” said Meg Martin, director of REACH.  “It allows students to hone their presentation skills and practice speaking about scientific research or creative activities with specialists in the field, as well as the general public. 

“Undergraduate research, coupled with the opportunity to talk to others about their work, provides a powerful learning experience.  SIU Carbondale tops many other universities in providing these experiences to its students,” she said.

The University awarded prizes for the top four research posters, as well as an outstanding arts/creative project and an Independent Research award for a student operating a project on his or her own. Audience members also voted for their favorite research project for the People's Choice award.

This year’s winners were:

            • First Place, Blake W. Cain, a junior in physiology and pre-medicine from Pittsburg.  His project was titled “Sensorimotor Integration in the Embryonic Chick: A Kinematic and Force Analysis of Movement.” He is the son of Thomas L. and Rebecca L. Cain. His faculty mentor was Andrew Sharp, assistant professor of anatomy in the SIU School of Medicine.

            • Second Place, Emily Berglin, a junior in criminology and criminal justice from Lincoln. Her project was titled “Media Viewership and Opinions of Torture.” She is the daughter of H. Jay and Kaylyn M. Berglin.  Her faculty mentor was George Burruss, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.

            • Third place, Travis Neal, a junior in plant biology from Yorkville.  His project was titled “Undergraduate Research Assistantship.” He is the son of Tim M. and Lynn M. Neal.  His faculty mentor was David Gibson, professor of plant biology.

            • Honorable Mention, Alexis Bergman, a junior in zoology from Quincy.  Her project was titled “Phylogeography of Sepioteuthis lessoniana (bigfin reef squid) and Uroteuthis duvauceli (Indian squid).” She is the daughter of David J. and Susan M. Berman.  Her faculty mentor was Frank Anderson, associate professor of zoology.

            • Outstanding Arts/Creative Project Award, Jonathan Smith, a senior in architectural studies from Evansville, Ind. His project was titled “Recreating the William J. Lewis, A Metropolis Built Steamboat, From Historic Photographs.” He is the son of Allen R. Smith Jr. and Michelle R. Payne. His faculty mentor was Robert Swenson, associate professor in the School of Architecture.

            • Independent Researcher Award, Nathan Smith, a senior in electrical and computer engineering from Herrin.  His project was titled “Ultra-Wide Band Printed Dipole Antenna.” He is the son of Mark L. Smith and Gaile Anne Petreikis. His faculty mentor was Frances Harackiewicz, professor of electrical and computer engineering.

            • People’s Choice Award, JiHye Park, senior in psychology from Goyang, South Korea. Her project was titled “Understanding Tip of the Tongue Phenomenon: Evidence from Korean-English Bilinguals.”  She is the daughter of Insang Park and Yunnam Kim. Her faculty mentor was Stephanie Dollinger, associate professor of psychology.