KU News Release

March 11, 2011
Contact: Mark Daly, University Honors Program, 785-864-8858

KU announces 48 Undergraduate Research Award winners for spring 2011

More Information

LAWRENCE — Forty-eight students at the University of Kanass have received Undergraduate Research Awards for spring 2011.

The awards support original, independent research by undergraduates enrolled on the Lawrence campus. Projects include

— Composing chamber music
— Understanding the role of war memorials in shaping individual feelings of nationalism and patriotism
— Designing a better dental chair
— Developing a biosensor probe one-fifth to one-third the diameter of a human hair and strong enough to be implanted in tissue for research related to disorders of the central nervous system
— Identifying technologies that municipal utilities could use to improve performance and lower customer utility costs
— Writing and producing a short film exploring concepts of luck and chance

The University Honors Program administers the awards with funds from the Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“It is great to see so many undergraduates pursuing such fascinating topics of inquiry,” said said Kathleen McCluskey-Fawcett, director of the University Honors Program. “We are especially pleased to increasing numbers of applicants from the professional schools and from the arts.”

Faculty on the University Honors Research Committee selected projects based on overall quality of the proposal, student’s academic record and ability to complete the proposed research project, project’s potential contribution to knowledge and educational value of the research to the student.

Students receiving awards are listed below by hometown, level in school, major, parents’ names, high school attended, faculty research adviser and a brief description of the project.

From Hoisington 67544
Jacquelyn Renee Koester, senior in theatre and Spanish; Richard and Pamela Koester; Hoisington High School; Stuart Day, associate professor of Spanish and Portuguese; “Translating and Directing Mexican Play ‘Todos somos Marcos,’ ” the first English translation of a play and its production for KU’s Undergraduate Theatre Black Box Series.

From Baldwin City 66006
Aaron Michael Karlin, junior in chemical engineering; Gary Karlin; Baldwin High School; Michael Detamore, associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; “Imaging of Gradient Hydrogels Using 6-Channel Microslides,” a project of value in tissue engineering that will use imaging methods and cellular informatics in three-dimensional tissue systems to track specific genes.

From Lawrence 66044
Marysa Erin Sacerdote, junior in design; LaGuardia High School of Music and Art; Gina Westergard, associate professor of visual art; “Chasing and Repousse: An Exploration of Metal,” an examination of methods and tools used worldwide for two metalsmithing techniques that date to the Bronze Age.

Laura Dyan White, senior in applied behavioral science; Shawnee Mission South High School; Derek Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral science; “Evaluation of Limited versus Extensive Options on Measures of Choice Satisfaction in Preschool Children,” a study to understand conditions in which too much choice becomes problematic for young children.

From Lawrence 66046
Joseph Stogsdill, junior in history and environmental studies; Mark and Sheila Stogsdill; Lawrence High School; Brent Metz, assistant professor of anthropology; “Oral Testimonies of The Ch’orti’ Maya,” a historical study of the role of ecological and cosmological change in the subsistence economy of the Copán Ruinas farmers in western Honduras.

From Lawrence 66047
Grant Adam Harrison, senior in sport science; Memorial Senior High School; Philip Vardiman, assistant professor of health, sport and exercise sciences; “Reliability and Validity of a Cycling Power Meter,” an investigation of the accuracy of a new device used in bicycle training that measures the amount of power an individual exerts while riding.

From Lawrence 66049
Katherine Virginia Aucott, senior in psychology; Walt and Carol Aucott; Lawrence Free State High School; Ludwin E. Molina, assistant professor of psychology; “Effects of the Salience of White Privilege and Black Disadvantage on Self-Concept in White Americans,” a project to understand better perceptions of white privilege in the United States.

Adela Chaswill Timmons, senior in psychology; Charles and Paula Timmons; Lawrence Free State High School; Kristopher Preacher, assistant professor of psychology; “Do Sampling Techniques Affect Parameter Estimates of Nonlinear Data? A Methodological Issue in the Design of Longitudinal Research,” a study to determine the number and timing of measurements necessary to detect a certain function in the data.

From Leawood 66224
Deena Girgis, junior in pre-medicine; Khaled and Sahar Girgis; Blue Valley North High School; Keith Chauvin, associate professor of business, and Laura E. Martin, associate director of functional magnetic resonance imaging in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health; “Gender differences in financial risk-taking: an fMRI study,” an interdisciplinary project in economics and neuroscience to test whether men and women choose levels of risk and reward based on neurological activity.

From Leawood 66209
Brent Kaplan, junior in applied behavioral science and psychology; Janet and Michael Kaplan; Blue Valley North High School; Derek Reed, assistant professor of applied behavioral science; “On the Relation Between Maximizing Tendencies and Various Discounting Modalities,” a study of the behavioral processes and personality types associated with complex decision making.

From Lenexa 66215
Caitlin Rose McCormick, senior in linguistics and speech-language-hearing; Sam and Jo McCormick; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; Diane Loeb, associate professor of speech-language-hearing; “Once Upon a Time: Filled Pauses, Repetitions and Revisions in the Stories of Children with Specific Language Impairment,” a study of children’s narratives to understand better the language abilities of children with specific language impairment.

Angela Ndhuya Oguna, senior in electrical engineering; Kenya High School; Thomas Glavinich, associate professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering; “Implementing Home Area Network (HAN) Technology with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for Municipal Utilities,” a project focused on identifying technologies that could be used by municipal utilities to improve their performance and lower customer utility costs.

From Lenexa 66219
A.J. Radi Rahman, junior in civil engineering; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Jie Han, professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering; “Use of Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP) — A Sustainable Solution,” a study of a material that has become a sustainable solution for the renewal of U.S. highway systems.

From Olathe 66061
Edward John Fensholt, senior in physics; Edward and Renee Fensholt; Olathe North High School; K.C. Kong, assistant professor of physics and astronomy; “Adapting MadGraph/MadEvent to Compute Relic Density of Dark Matter,” a high energy physics project to automate new calculations for dark matter — the mysterious matter that accounts for about 23 percent of the universe.

Brittany Nicole Krutty, sophomore in physics; Daniel and Katherine Krutty; Olathe Northwest High School; Michael Murray, associate professor of physics and astronomy; “Heavy Ion Data from CERN,” a project working with data from the Large Hadron Collidor in Geneva, Switzerland, using a detector built at KU to measure the geometry individual collisions of heavy ions.

From Olathe 66062
Anna A. Alexandrovitch, senior in English and history; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School; J.C.D. Clark, Hall Center Chaired Professor in History; “Reflection on the American Revolution through the Lens of an Englishman during the French Revolution,” a study of British perspective on American Revolution (1775-1783) during the years of the French Revolution (1789-1799).

Lee M. Clemon, senior in mechanical engineering; Lonnie and Doloros Clemon; Olathe South High School; Chris Depcik, assistant professor of mechanical engineering; “Optimized Usage of Renewable Energy in the Smart Grid,” a small scale pilot project to demonstrate how electric vehicles and renewable energy can be sustainably incorporated into the electrical grid helping offset fossil fuel usage and emissions.

From Overland Park 66209
Jason Evan Charney, senior in humanities, linguistics and music composition; Gilbert and Marcia Charney; Blue Valley North High School; Forrest Pierce, assistant professor of music; “Composing Crepuscules,” the creation of an original composition in two movements for a chamber ensemble inspired by energy from the twilight periods of dawn and dusk.

Joscelin Kaur Sangha, senior in anthropology, classical languages and classical antiquity; Sandra Robinson and Jangbir Sangha; Blue Valley North High School; Tara Welch, associate professor of classics; “The Classical Other: The Construction of Identity in the Classical World,” a study of the Greek and Roman ideas of the Irish and of Irish ideas about the Greeks and Romans.

From Overland Park 66210
Thomas Steele Reynolds, senior in chemical engineering; Terri Reynolds; Olathe East High School; Jennifer Laurence, associate professor of pharmaceutical chemistry; “Determining Mechanisms of Excipient Stabilization,” a study for improving protein therapeutics by understanding better how excipients (common additives) stabilize proteins.

From Overland Park 66210 and Kearney, Mo.
Kelsey Rene Murrell, junior in journalism, English and Spanish; Dawn Murrell (Overland Park) and Ronald Murrell (Kearney, Mo.); Kearney R-1 Senior High School; Marta Caminero-Santangelo, professor of English; “Stories of Immigration: A Literary and Journalistic Approach,” an examination of the marginalization of immigrants in literature and journalistic observations.

From Overland Park 66213
Serene Maria Hakim, senior in French and women’s studies; Ghassan and Mariam Hakim; Blue Valley Northwest High School; E. Bruce Hayes, associate professor of French and Italian; “Censorship, Obscenity and Authority: how French literature censored during the 16th to 18th centuries influenced the role of women,” a study that will contribute to the academic debate about the nature and function of obscenity.

From Overland Park 66214
Sharon Denise Childress, senior in psychology; Travis and Sina Childress; Shawnee Mission South High School; Andrea Greenhoot, associate professor of psychology; “Memory Narratives of Difficult Life Experiences: Psychological Symptoms, Personality Development and Well-being in Women,” an evaluation of negative memories, coping and well-being among women seeking refuge from domestic violence in a shelter or participating in a shelter outreach program.

From Overland Park 66221
Jennifer Marilyn Logue, senior in biology and Spanish; Marcia and Alan Braybrooks; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Erik Lundquist, associate professor of molecular biosciences; “A genetic analysis of neural development in Caenorhabditis elegans,” an investigation of neural development using nematode worms in a study that could be useful in the understanding of human neurological disorders.

From Overland Park 66223
Diana L. Restrepo-Osorio, senior in molecular bioscience; Gustavo and Carmenza Osorio de Restrepo; Blue Valley Northwest High School; Raymond Pierotti, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; “Relationship Between Nutrient Cycling and Land Use in Rock Creek,” a water-quality study of a tributary of Clinton Reservoir in Douglas County.

From Prairie Village 66208
Mary Zinnanti Pisciotta, senior in psychology; Margaret and Robert Pisciotta; Shawnee Mission East High School; Ludwin E. Molina, assistant professor of psychology; “Politicized Spaces: Memorial Implications for Political Identity,” a study of how war memorials shape a person’s feelings of nationalism and patriotism and other attitudes such as support for military spending and U.S. intervention abroad.

From Shawnee 66203
Elizabeth Claire Jarvis, junior in French and human biology; Shawnee Mission North High School; Crystal Hall, assistant professor of French and Italian; “Is Law 180 a 180-Degree Turn in Psychiatric Care?,” an evaluation of psychiatric models of the Italian and U.S. mental health systems regarding the use of coercion in mental health rehabilitation.

From Stilwell 66085
Alexander Michael Nichols, senior in English; Joel and Jessica Nichols; Mary Klayder, associate director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English; “Comedic Stylings: A Multifaceted Humor Writing Portfolio,” development of a portfolio of original humor writing.

From Tonganoxie 66086
Justin Douglas Smith, senior in chemistry; Frank and Jeanne Smith; Tonganoxie High School; Stevin Gehrke, professor of chemical and petroleum engineering; “Factors affecting the synthesis of new hydrogels,” a project to develop a novel hydrogel that potentially could provide a less toxic alternative to polyacrylamide, one of the most widely used gels in many areas of technology such as biochemical separations, as well as to develop potential new applications for this novel gel in drug delivery devices.

From McPherson 67460
Joshua Zev Nathan, senior in film and media studies; Kirsten Zerger and Sandy Nathan; Moundridge High School; Robert Hurst, assistant professor of film and media studies; “A Light Opera,” a short film exploring concepts of luck, chance and control of individual destiny, written, directed and produced by Nathan.

From Lyndon 66451
Riley D. Griffith, senior in design; Charles and Rebecca Griffith; Lyndon High School; Richard Branham, professor of design; “Validating New Methods to Provide Dental Practitioners with Greater Concordance in Dental Patient Units,” a study to develop a radically new design for a dental chair that serves the health and comfort of dental professionals.

From Manhattan 66502
Hannah Tan Shult, junior in African and African-American studies and biology; Ernest and Jiang Shult; Manhattan High School; Robert Moyle, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; “Todiramphus phylogeny,” a genetic study to reconstruct the relationships of one of the most diverse bird species in the world, T.chloris, the Collared Kingfisher, and its close relatives.

From Cheney 67025
Samuel Elliott Casner, sophomore in philosophy; Rex and Elle Casner; Cheney High School; Frank Baron, professor of Germanic languages and literatures; “Franz Kafka and the Intellectual Movements of Early 20th Century: An Introduction,” a study to understand a key figure in 20th century literature better by examining the influences and critical reception of contemporary writers on his work.

From Derby 67037
Danielle Dee Stuhlsatz, senior in microbiology; Davina and Robert Stuhlsatz; Derby High School; Wonpil Im, assistant professor of molecular biosciences; “Properties of Lipid A Bilayers Analyzed by Molecular Dynamics Stimulations,” a study of how the molecule Lipid A works, which could have applications in protein-membrane interaction studies and in the development of drugs for bacterial diseases.

From Wichita 67230
Jason Thomas Stevens, senior in mathematics; Laurie and James Stevens; Andover Central High School; John Karanicolas, assistant professor of molecular biosciences; “Switchable Genetic Regulators Using Indole Complementation,” a project with implications for synthetic biology that investigates developing a new pharmacological means of controlling regulators that alter the genetic circuitry which underlies cellular behavior.

From Rossville 66533
Marc T. Roth, senior in biochemistry; Gary and Tina Roth; Rossville High School; Kristi Neufeld, associate professor of molecular biosciences; “Characterization of Interactions between Topoisomerase IIα and Nuclear Adenomatous Polyposis Coli,” a study of a tumor suppressor found mutated in 80 percent of colon cancers.

From Topeka 66614
Jabiz Anahita Behzadpour, senior in sport science; David Behzadpour and Nina Golpagoon; Washburn Rural High School; Helena Maliakova, organic chemistry; “New Methods for Automated Synthesis of Medicinally Relevant Heterocycles via Aryl-Aryl Coupling,” a study that contributes to the development of new chemical methods for the synthesis of heterocycles with drug-like structures and properties necessary for the discovery of new medicines.

Luke Brinker, sophomore in political science; Stephanie Brinker; Topeka High School; Jeffrey Moran, associate professor of history; “Intellectual Historiography and the 20th Century American Political Climate,” a study of Cold War anti-communism and the politicization of anti-intellectualism.

From Kansas City 66112
Caleb Michael Christianson, sophomore in engineering physics; Living Heritage Academy; Judy Wu, University Distinguished Professor of Physics and Astronomy; “Development of Miniaturized Cannula and Multi-functional Biosensor for in vivo Measurements,” a project to develop a biosensor probe one-fifth to one-third the diameter of a human hair strong enough to be implanted in tissue for research related to disorders of the central nervous system.

Anthony Matthias Johnson, senior in psychology and sociology; Jeffrey and Antrina Johnson; Sumner Academy of Arts and Science; Shirley A. Hill, professor of sociology; “Examining the Social Interactions among Faculty and African-American Students at a Midwestern Research University,” a study to identify experiences in higher education that influence success and satisfaction for African-American college students.

Joshua Taylor Williams, junior in linguistics and speech-language-hearing; Rochelle Vestal; Sumner Academy of Arts and Science; Tiffany Johnson, assistant professor of speech-language-hearing; “Sex Differences in Otoacoustic Emissions,” a study exploring how some types of otoacoustic emissions — quiet sounds in the inner ear responding to external sound — can differ between males and females.

From Clive 50325
Emily Brenny Kroska, junior in journalism and psychology; Susan and Joseph Kroska; Waukee Community High School; Sarah Pressman, assistant professor of psychology; “Personality traits and other psychological characteristics of volunteers,” a study to understand better why people volunteer and how the experience of trauma may or may not influence the decision to volunteer.

From Kearney 64060 and Overland Park, Kan.
Kelsey Rene Murrell. SEE JOHNSON COUNTY

From Manchester 63021
Andrew R. Leicht, senior in architectural engineering; Mark Leicht; Parkway South High School; Hongyi Cai, assistant professor of civil, environmental and architectural engineering; “Field Investigation of Light Pollution in Lawrence Using Camera-aided Techniques,” a study of light pollution that could serve as a first step in developing solutions for an environmental issue that effects humans and wildlife.

From Odessa 64076
Emily Anne Madrueno, senior in biology; Dana Madrueno; Odessa R-VII Senior High School; Raymond Pierotti, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology; “Social Interactions and Dominance Relationships in Domestic Barn Cats (Felis silvestris catus),” a study of behavior among a group of domestic barn cats.

From Hastings 68901
JohnMarc J. Skoch, junior in human biology and applied behavioral science; Michael and Virginia Skoch; Saint Cecilia High School; Florence DiGennaro Reed and Derek Reed, both assistant professors in applied behavioral sciences; “The Effect of Different Types of Instructions on Performance during a Choice Task,” a study with implications for communication between supervisors and their staff members and work performance.

From Jamshedpur
Subhankar Halder, junior in mathematics and physics; Tusar Kanti Halder; Loyola High School; Bozenna Pasik Duncan, professor of mathematics; “Identification of Parameters in a System of Differential Equations,” a study estimating the impact of variables in a model that could have applications in the study of biological phenomenon such as electrochemical transfer in the nervous system.

From Muscat
Varsha Prabhaker Desai, senior in chemistry; Chetan Prabhaker Desai; Carey Johnson, professor of chemistry; “Single Molecule Studies to Understand the Structure of Calmodulin in Solution,” a study to apply single-molecule fluorescence measurements to detect structural flexibility of calmodulin, a calcium signaling protein that regulates many cellular processes such as gene expression, neuronal plasticity, learning and memory formation.

From San Miguel
Daniel Vicente Horna Munoz, senior in civil engineering; Norka Lidia Munoz Canal; Edward Peltier, assistant professor of civil engineering; “Metal Sequestration and Remobilization in Bioretention Media,” an assessment of the efficiency of bioretention media in removing dissolved and trace metals from storm water runoff containing high road salt concentrations.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

kunews@ku.edu | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045

KU Today

Subscribe to our daily newsletter covering research, academics, media coverage, campus news, events & more. Subscribe




The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression, and genetic information in the university’s programs and activities. Retaliation is also prohibited by university policy. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies and are the Title IX coordinators for their respective campuses: Executive Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 West Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS 66045, 785-864-6414, 711 TTY (for the Lawrence, Edwards, Parsons, Yoder, and Topeka campuses); Director, Equal Opportunity Office, Mail Stop 7004, 4330 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Fairway, KS 66205, 913-588-8011, 711 TTY (for the Wichita, Salina, and Kansas City, Kansas, medical center campuses).