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Undergraduate, graduate students earn accolades for outstanding research presentations

Nineteen students from across the Louisiana Tech University campus were recognized Thursday for their outstanding oral and poster presentations during the 2013 Undergraduate/Graduate Research Symposium.

Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau presented the students with plaques and certificates of achievement during an afternoon awards ceremony.  The awardees were selected from a total of eight oral presentations and 42 research posters displays.  During the symposium, held last month in University Hall on the Tech campus, each of the students answered a number of questions and was rated by three faculty judges, representing each of the colleges at Louisiana Tech.

Ashley Matthews (right) receives her first place award from Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau.

“The purpose of the Undergraduate/Graduate Research Symposium was to highlight research from every College on the Louisiana Tech campus,” said Dr. Melinda Bryan, one of the symposium’s organizers and assistant professor and coordinator of the audiology program at Louisiana Tech.  “The Symposium also helped us to select the best undergraduate research to represent Louisiana Tech at the University of Louisiana System’s annual Academic Summit.”

The UL System’s 2nd Annual Academic Summit will be held April 12-13 on the campus of the University of Louisiana at Monroe and will feature undergraduate research posters and presentations from all nine UL System institutions.  The Summit is designed to be a celebration of academic excellence at UL System universities and will encompass the System’s service-learning conference, a student art exhibition, and undergraduate research day.

Bryan says that, as one of the Louisiana Tech research symposium organizers, she has received plenty of positive feedback about the event from both students and faculty.

“The students and faculty commented that this event was a fantastic display of the research taking place at Louisiana Tech and, for students, this was an opportunity to present the research they have been involved in and to described those research activities to the university community and its visitors,” Bryan said.  “The faculty and students were excited to be given the opportunity to learn about research from other disciplines.

“Personally, I feel the Symposium and the Academic Summit that follows are important as they foster research collaboration among students and faculty across campus and around the state.”

From left: Dr. Bill Campbell, Louisiana Tech President Dan Reneau, and Dr. Melinda Bryan.

Dr. Bill Campbell, chair of the symposium’s planning committee and an associate dean in Louisiana Tech’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences, echoed Bryan’s assessment, especially as it pertained to the feedback from the faculty judges.

“The comments I received from faculty and judges indicated that they and our visitors were impressed with the range of student research activities on our campus, and the depth of understanding demonstrated by the students about their research projects,” said Campbell.  “The Louisiana Tech symposium provided a great opportunity for students to talk about their research projects.

“Our students gained confidence by speaking in public, and explaining their work to people outside their academic areas offered students the opportunity to explain their work in more general terms.”

The 2013 Louisiana Tech Undergraduate/Graduate Research Symposium winners and selections for the UL System Academic Summit are as follows:

Undergraduate Oral Presentations

  • First Place: Howard E. Morgan – Phytoestrogen Variation among Organs of Soybeans during Growth and Reproduction
  • Second Place: Justin Huckaby – 3-Compartment Predator-Prey Model for Understanding Normal Brain Cell Signaling and Disease
  • Third Place: Sarah McCorkle, Jordan Vaughn, and Lance Taylor – Does this Dress Make Me Look Fat?: A Study of Deception, Intimacy, and Altruism

Also invited to present at the Academic Summit

  • Elizabeth Ryland – Bio-Applications for Halloysite Clay Nanotubes
  • Emily Traylor – Illness in Persuasion: An Historical Context

Undergraduate Poster Presentations

  • First Place: Ashley Matthews – DFT Study of Kinetics of LiAlH4
  • Second Place: Scott Li – Microelectronic Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Early Phase Rickettsial Infections
  • Third Place: Rachel K. Baker – Quantifying Space-Related Edema Using Multi-Wavelength Photoplethysmography

Also invited to present at the Academic Summit

  • Jamie E. Young – The Association between Mercury Bioaccumulation and Hepatic Iron Deposits in Spotted Gar
  • Eric Lawrence, Ben Carlisle, Hunter Norwood, Josh Powell, and Collin Ross – Underground Radar Robot

Graduate Poster Presentations

  • First Place: J. Hunter Collins – Effects of Combinatorial Antifungals on Candida Albicans: Identifying Stress Responses
  • Second Place: Jacob Young – Multidimensional Evaluation of IT Ethical Scenarios: Privacy & Security
  • Third Place: Lauren Collette – Flow Rate and Controlled Measurement