Undergraduate Research Award Recipients Announced

April 19, 2013

The selection committee chose four students to receive research awards in 2013.  They include: Mara Stewart for her research on changes in attitudes toward tobacco and marijuana during the first year of college for U.S. students; Andy Tay Kah Ping for his research in microfluidic diagnostic devices; Tess Becker for her research on the role of exogenous interferons in rhinovirus replication; and Abigail Mindock for her research on the switch from plastic to metal cutlery at Union South.
Mara Stewart worked with faculty mentor Dr. Megan Moreno, formerly an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and Public Health, on a project entitled, “Investigating Changes in Attitudes, Intentions, and Behaviors toward Tobacco and Marijuana during U.S. Students’ First Year of College.” Mara is a member of the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) and worked with that group on data collection for a study related to her current research. She leveraged an existing dataset to further explore her personal interest and developed a thorough knowledge of the research process along the way.  Mara worked with Heidi Marleau at Ebling Library to identify and evaluate nearly 100 sources from a variety of journals, books, and government websites to inform her literature review.  After analyzing her data, Mara wrote a full scientific manuscript on her findings and submitted her paper to the journal Tobacco Use Insights. This past fall, she learned that her paper was accepted for publication. 
Mara Stewart received her award from committee chair Kelli Keclik

Andy Tay Kah Ping worked with faculty mentor John Webster of the department of Biomedical Engineering on a project entitled, “Microfluidic Diagnostic Devices: Promises & Challenges in 21st Century India.”  Andy decided to focus his research on India after taking a two week trip there where he gained insights into India’s public health issues and how Microfluidic Diagnostic Devices might facilitate early detection of diseases like malaria and diabetes. His research included navigating through healthcare reports on India, conducting a literature review on Microfluidic Diagnostic Devices, and devising strategies for promoting their use in India

Andy Tay Kah Ping with award at the Undergraduate Symposium

Tess Becker worked with faculty mentor Dr. Daniel Jackson of the Pediatrics Department at the School of Medicine and Public Health on a project entitled, “Exogenous Interferons Reduce Rhinovirus Replication and Alter Airway Inflammatory Responses.”  Tess designed her own experiment to gain a better understanding of the role this treatment could play in supplementing the innate immune system in efforts to decrease virus-induced asthma exacerbation.  She began her research by performing an initial literature review to find an area she felt warranted further study.  After conducting her experiment, Tess performed additional literature searches in PubMed and Web of Science to find data from past studies that supported her claims and proved the significance of her findings. Tess’s manuscript is currently under review for publication at PlosOne.
Tess Becker and Kelli Keclik
   Abigail Mindock received the Research-in-Progress for her work with faculty mentor Cathy Middlecamp of the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies on a project exploring the switch from plastic to metal cutlery at Union South. The goal of her research is to determine the environmental, economical, and social consequences of this switch. Abigail interviewed customers and employees at Union South to better understand opinions and expectations of both groups. After completing these interviews, a comprehensive review of the literature followed. The switch from plastic to metal silverware has already been implemented at Union South and is currently under further exploration.
Abigail McClintock with her Research-in-Progress Award

Campus librarians on the award committee used the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Standards as the main criteria for assessing the applications for the awards. Now in its sixth year, the Undergraduate Research Awards have become an integral part of and will continue to be offered in conjunction with the Undergraduate Symposium.