May 02, 2012

Students, faculty honored for research projects

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Officials honored top research projects at Southern Illinois University Carbondale in April during an annual event showcasing the work.

The ninth annual Research Town Meeting and Fair will took place April 17 in the Student Center ballrooms, featuring presentations on scholarly and creative activities conducted by members of the University community.

The event included dozens of poster displays, exhibits and performances, and gave their creators the opportunity to answer questions regarding their work. Students, faculty and staff members also had the opportunity to network and enrich their work and experiences, while learning how faculty and students across campus conduct research.

This year’s event also featured Chancellor Rita Cheng presenting a patent award to Gary Kinsel, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and the late Daniel J. Dyer, professor in the same department, for their method for fractioning peptides and other compounds.  Dr. Michael Neumeister, professor of plastic surgery at the SIU School of Medicine, presented the Scholar Excellence Award Lecture.

“This year's Research Town Meeting was incredibly vibrant, as highlighted by the breadth and quality of the award-winning projects,” said John Koropchak, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school. “Many of the winners involve topics that are of regional importance, such as those focused on student veterans, the Cache River, or management of the green roof of the Agriculture Building. At the same time, topics of international importance were the focus of others, such as those related to torture, nanotechnology or high performance computing simulations.  

“The projects also exemplify the depth and quality of the research that we conduct at SIU Carbondale, and the experiences that we provide to the undergraduate and graduate students involved,” he said.

This year’s winners included:

            • Education 1st Place, Bethany Kies, a doctoral student in health education; Amber Burtis, master’s student in community health education. Their project was titled “Current Trends in the Use of Social Media for Health Education and Health Promotion.”
            • Education 2nd Place, Matthew E. Sprong, a doctoral student in rehabilitation; Charles Hillesheim, research assistant, library affairs; Thomas Upton, associate professor in the Rehabilitation Institute; Jack R. Musgrave, interim director of the Evaluation and Developmental Center. Their project was titled “Falling Through the Cracks: A Screening Assessment for Student Veterans with Educational Barriers.”

            • Arts and Humanities 1st Place, Dale O. Ritzel, professor emeritus; and health education graduate students Susana Garcia Herrero and Miguel Angel Mariscal Saldaña. Their project was titled “Health Education Using Bayesian Networks to Analyze Occupational Stress Caused by Work Demands: Preventing Stress Through Social Support.”

            • Arts and Humanities 2nd Place, Emily Berglin, junior in criminology and criminal justice.  Her project was titled “Media Viewership and Opinions of Torture.”

            • Biological Sciences 1st Place, E.A. Scholl, teaching assistant in zoology; H.M Rantala, post-doctoral fellow in zoology; A.K. Kennington, undergraduate assistant in zoology; M.R. Whiles, professor of zoology; G.V.Wilkerson, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering.  Their research project was titled “Predicting Ecological Responses to Reconnection of the Cache River.”

            • Biological Sciences 2nd Place, Nick A. Wangelin, research assistant; S. Alan Walters, professor; Karen S. Midden, professor; Brian Klubek, chair, all in the Department of Plant, Soil and Agricultural Systems.  Their project was titled “Fertility Management for Tomato Production on an Extensive Green Roof.”           

            • Physical Sciences 1st Place, Vamsi Gaddipati, teaching assistant, electrical and computer engineering; Sasi Sundaresan, research assistant in the Center for Teaching Excellence; Krishna Yalavarthi, teaching, research and graduate assistant, electrical and computer engineering; Shaikh Ahmed, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.  Their project was titled “Atomistic Modeling of Degradation Mechanisms in Nanoscale HEMT Devices.”

            • Physical Sciences 2nd Place, Thushari Jayasekera, assistant professor of physics.  His project was titled “Quantum Device Engineering for Electronics, Energy and Environmental Applications at Nanoscale: High Performance Computer Simulations of Nanotechnology.”