April 16, 2013

Undergraduate researchers shine at forum

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Several undergraduate students took home awards and showcased their research at the annual Undergraduate Research Forum April 8, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The Undergraduate Research Forum provides a supportive academic environment in which SIU Carbondale students can share with their colleagues the independent projects.  Most projects are mentored by a faculty member or University research professional, so the event is also geared toward giving students a goal and structure to help them build the academic relationships they need for future careers or graduate study.

During the forum, students display research posters summarizing details of their research or creative projects.  While the atmosphere is supportive, it is also competitive.  Nine of the 83 participating students earned awards for their efforts.

This year, two students tied for first place.  They are:

  • Adolfo Frias, a senior in microbiology, from Lyons, the son of Beatriz Munoz.  His project was “Elucidating the Glycogen Anomaly in Chlamydia spp.”  His mentor was Derek J. Fisher, assistant professor of microbiology.
  • Erika R. Putz, a junior physics major from Baraboo, Wis., the daughter of Pamela A. and Josef Putz.  Her project was “Band Engineering of Graphene Via Controlled Chemical Doping,” with mentor Thushari Jayasekera, assistant professor physics.

Second place: Brock Kabat, a senior physiology major from Scheller, the son of Lori A. and Mark F. Kabat.  His project was  “The Forkhead Transcription Factor, Foxo1, is Required for Normal Somatotrope Function During Mouse Pituitary Development.”  His mentor for the project was Buffy Ellsworth, assistant professor of physiology.

Third place: Brittany A. Dickson, a senior psychology major from Marion, the daughter of Rhonda R. and John B. Dickson.  Her project was “The Relations Between Identity Styles, Personality Traits and Conflict Resolution Styles in Emerging Adults.”  Her mentor was Stephanie Clancy Dollinger, associate professor of psychology.

Honorable Mention: Travis J. Neal, a senior plant biology major from Yorkville, the son of Lynn M. and Tim M. Neal.  His research was “Dispersal and seed vector transport of Achyranthes japonica (Miq.) Nakal,” and his mentor was David Gibson, professor of plant biology.

The Outstanding Arts/Creative Project:  Lonnie Mann III, a senior industrial design major from Harrisburg, the son of Donna M. and Troy F. Smith.  His project was “Exploded View: 1,” mentored by Aaron Scott, assistant professor in the School of Art and Design.

The Independent Researcher Award: Duane J. Lickteig, a junior microbiology major from Cicero, the son of Annemarie and Fabian Lickteig.  His research was, “Uptake of Particulate Luminal Antigens by Epithelial Cells of the Colon,” and his mentor was Vjollca Konjufca, assistant professor of microbiology.

People’s Choice this year was a tie.  The winners are:

  • Michelle T. Lanteigne, a senior zoology major from Naperville, the daughter of Joan and Louis Lanteigne. Her research was “Dual Toxicity of Imidacloprid and Cyfluthrin to Two Non-Target Organisms,” mentored by Michael Lydy, professor of zoology.
  • Benjamin R. Elliott, a geology and zoology major from Murphysboro, the son of Terri D. and William G. Elliott, and Samuel Q. Martin, a junior geology major from Carterville, the son of Margie Rehagen and Steven Martin.  Their research was “A Foraminiferal Record of Holoene Climate Change on the Antarctic Peninsula Margin,” mentored by Scott E. Ishman, professor of geology.

Started in 2002, the Undergraduate Research Forum is part of the Research-Enriched Academic Challenge, also known as REACH, at SIU Carbondale.  The program stresses undergraduate research as part of the University’s goal to promote scholarship and academic curiosity, and valuable hands-on experience in the field, laboratory, or studio.