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LU announces undergrad research grants

Lamar University’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) recently held the 2016-2017 Grant Recipient Award Reception to recognize 38 students and 31 faculty mentors behind 33 proposals that will receive funding this academic year.

Family members, mentors, and college deans were present as grant recipients were named and presented with a certificate. The students then presented their research plans to attendees.

Student grant recipients“These students are very creative, and their hunger for knowledge is pretty diverse. They work hard, interact well with other departments, and they work with each over very well,” said Kumer Das, associate professor of statistics and director for OUR.

The Office of Undergraduate Research was founded four years ago to support research and creative activities for undergrad students of any major. Because applications have increased significantly each year, and the quality of proposals continues to grow, the office has expanded its program from offering 10 grants in 2012 to 33 in 2016.

“This program says a lot about our university. Students are spending time in the lab, working with faculty and showing that they’re interested in more than just the classroom. They want to get involved,” said Das.

The OUR collaborates with all LU colleges and departments to support research and creative pursuits. Nearly 40 faculty members assist the grant reviewing process, and various colleges and departments help finance the growing number of grants. Das says that this unique learning opportunity is one of the best ways to prepare students for their future.

“The students that get involved with this type of activity use it as a stepping stone. Most of the David J. Beck Fellowship applicants were previously OUR grant recipients. If you want to be picked for new opportunities or you apply somewhere else, this is your best asset,” said Das.

Students will conduct their research and creative activities during the 2016-2017 school year and present their work at the Undergraduate Research Exposition on April 21, 2017.

Aleksander Allen, an electrical engineering major from Buna, titles his research Design and Improvement of a 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand.

“My research will help those who suffered a stroke to regain their ability to move their hands. This grant has allowed me to apply my knowledge and experience in a way I never thought possible, and working on a project with real world value is an incredible opportunity,” he said.

Eric Yeager, a Santa Fe, Texas native studying biology and chemistry, will conduct his project called Investigation of Inflammatory Response of Prostate Cancer Cells to Stimulation by Trichomonas Vaginalis.

“This research is important because Trichomonas Vaginalis infects hundreds of thousands of people every year. Our own body causes an immune reaction that is thought to cause prostate cancer in men. If we can find out what specifically causes this to happen, we could use chemotherapies to target it,” said Yeager, who feels the experience will give him a competitive edge when he applies to graduate school.

Caitlin McAlister, a history major from Colmesneil, will be mentored by Bryan Proksch, associate professor of music literature and musicology, in the study of Sousa’s Correspondence and Business Papers.

Brooke Cleveland of Buna and Kelsey Burt of Groves, both studying speech-language pathology, will be mentored by Nandhu Radhakrishnan, assistant professor in the department of speech and hearing sciences, in Early Detection and Intervention of Voice Problems in School Teachers.

John Ellis, a Bridge City native majoring in computer information systems, will be mentored by Kami Makki, professor in the department of computer science, in An Investigation of Successful Information Technology Practices for Nonprofit Organizations and Small Businesses (Based on findings from DCI-members Drum and Bugle Corps Programs).

Caroline Nwandu, a biochemistry major from Houston, will study under Perumalreddy Chandrasekaran, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, in Removal of toxic mercury ions from polluted water using thioether sacrificial ligands.

Lauren Smith, a Beaumont nursing major, will be mentored by Cynthia Pipkins, instructor for the Joanne Gay Dishman School of Nursing, in the study of Expressive Art and Stress Levels in Cancer Patients: A Mixed Methods Study.

Quiuyi Ma, an electrical engineering major from Webster, Texas, will be mentored by Harley Myler, professor and chair of the Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering, in the study of Autonomous Robotic Remediation of the Invasive Red Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta).

Kirby Clayton, a mechanical engineering major from Orange, will study under Chun-Wei Yao, assistant professor of the department of mechanical engineering, in the Investigation of Enhanced Water Harvesting of Superhydrophobic Nanostructured Surfaces.

Emily Ochoa, a Vidor chemical engineering major, will be mentored by Cengiz Sen, adjunct instructor of physics, in her studies of an implementation of Perl scripting language as a wrapper in simulations of manganese oxides.

Julia Lin, a Houston native and chemical engineering major, will be mentored by Helen Lou, professor of the Dan F. Smith Department of Chemical Engineering, in A Novel Methodology for Inherent Safety Assessment in the Process Design Stage.

Nasim Abedelwahab, a Beaumont mechanical engineering major, will be mentored by Ramesh Guduru, assistant professor of the department of mechanical engineering, in the study of Supercapacitors from Recycled Industrial Mill Scale Waste.

Allen will study under Weihang Zhu, associate professor and graduate advisor for the department of industrial engineering, and Hassan Zargarzadeh, assistant professor of the Phillip M. Drayer Department of Electrical Engineering, in the Design and Improvement of a 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand.

Lindsay Antley of Silsbee, Karen Corbello of Beaumont, Sidney Onwuharonye of Richmont and Tanasha Slack of Fort Worth, all American Sign Language majors, will study under Diane Clark, chair and professor of the department of deaf studies and deaf education, in Black Deaf Individuals and Interpreters as Allies: An Autobiographical Project.

Ana Bland of Orange, majoring in biology and chemistry, will be mentored by Ashwini Kucknoor, assistant professor of biology, in the Detection of Tritrichomonas foetus Infections in a Densely Housed Feline Rescue.

Quaid Campbell, a Beaumont Mechanical Engineering major, will be mentored by Guduru in a study of Hydrophobic Structural Steels.

Christian Dao, a mechanical engineering major from Friendswood, will be mentored by Keivan Davami, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, in Scalable Fabrication of Strong Lightweight Plate Metamaterials.

Alec Defeo, a Beaumont chemical engineering major, will study under Roland Barbosa, instructor of chemistry, in the Preparation of Copper-Manganese Catalysts for Methanol Steam Reforming.

Stephanie DeMeyer, a Rockwall native majoring in American Sign Language and corporate communications, will study under Clark and Natalie Tindall, department chair and associate professor in the Department of Communication, in PSA: The important of a second hearing screening for infants.

Shelby Garbee, an interdisciplinary studies major from Lumberton, will be mentored by Mamta Singh, assistant professor of teacher education, in Elementary Pre-Service Teachers and Renewable Energy Education.

Federico Gasbarri, native of Chieti, Italy and a mechanical engineering major, will be mentored by Davami in the study of Design and Fabrication of a Vapor-Liquid-Solid Growth System for the Synthesis of One-Dimensional Nanostructures.

Amina Gibic, a Fort Worth advertising and marketing major, will be mentored by Vivek Natarajan, associate professor of the department of management and marketing, Kabir Sen, chair and professor of the department and management and marketing, and Radhakrishnan in her studies of Fast and Last: An experimental vocal analysis of forming of risks versus appeals in tobacco and alcohol consumer television ads.

John Gust, a mechanical engineering major from Coldspring will be mentored by Davami and Ali Beheshti, assistant professor of the department of mechanical engineering, in his studies of Two-dimensional Phase Changes: Synthesis and Characterization of Atomically-Thin Diamond Films from Few-Layer Graphene.

Andrew Hunt, a Port Arthur mechanical engineering major, will be mentored by Beheshti in Nanoparticles as Lubricant Additives for Friction Reduction in Internal Combustion Engines.

Yuangao Liu of Beaumont and Rachel Thompson of Colleyville, both chemical engineering majors, will study under Ian Lian, assistant professor of biology, in the Development of Noval Cancer Migration Assay Platform for Drug Screening Applications.

Hostin May, a biology major from Groves, will be mentored by Matthew Hoch, associate professor of biology, in the?Effect of Sea Surface Temperature on Microbiomes of Corals in Seagrass Habitats of Belize.

Amy Morris, a Beaumont studio art-painting major, will be mentored by Donna Meeks, professor and chair of the Department of Art, and Kurk Dyrhaug, professor of studio art, in Encaustic Wax Painting Research.

Aaron Phillips, a Beaumont native majoring in mathematics and physics, will be mentored by PJ Couch, assistant professor of mathematics, in his studies of Thor Sequences as a Platform for Interaction Between Relations and Their Components.

Fredrick Ryans, a Houston computer information systems major, will be mentored by Sujing Wang, assistant professor of computer science, in Improved K-means Clustering Algorithm on Hadoop for Big Data Analysis.

Julian VanDevender of Vidor, majoring in interdisciplinary studies, will be mentored by Julia Yoo, assistant professor of teacher education, in The Effect of Cooperative Learning in High School: Student Learning Achievement and Motivation and Challenges from Teachers.

An Vo, a psychology major from Port Arthur, will study under Jeremy Shelton, associate professor of psychology, in Biometric Analysis of Ego Depletion.

Kimberly West, a Bridge City mechanical engineering major, will be mentored by Davami in the Fabrication of Novel Graphene Oxide-Based Nanofiltration Membrances for Water Desalination.

Suzanne Wheeler of Port Neches, majoring in physics, mathematics and electrical engineering, will study under Bahrim in Finding the Composition of Selected Medical Plants using Spectroscophy of Absorption.

Yeager will be mentored by Kucknoor in the Investigation of inflammatory response of prostate cancer cells to stimulation by Trichomonas vaginalis.

Christopher York, a mathematics major from Buna, will be mentored by Valentin Andreev, professor of mathematics, in Optimizing Inferential Basis for Determination of Kinase Inhibitor Selectivity.

The Office of Undergraduate Research creates, facilitates and enhances opportunities for students interested in undergraduate research. The office serves undergraduates from all colleges and programs. The research allows undergraduates to impact their fields of study and form strong mentor relationships.