O.U.R. names winners of Eighth Expo

The Office of Undergraduate Research is pleased to announce the winners of the eighth Undergraduate
Rebekah with mentor
Rebekah Schilberg, Dr. Sylvestre Twgirayezu
Research & Creative Activity Expo which was held on April 16.

The Expo is the most comprehensive annual showcase of undergraduate research at Lamar University covering all academic areas. EXPO 2021 showcased 19 talks and 17 poster presentations.

“Our students' keen interest for discovery and understanding the world was revealed in every talk and poster presentation,” said Dr. Cristian Bahrim, professor of physics and acting director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “Many projects have been researched into for more than one year, starting with extensive literature review, continued with the development of complicated theoretical or numerical algorithms and meaningful hands-on experience in our academic labs. The presenters at EXPO 2021 have showed the great potential Lamar University has in offering research facilities and adequate support for running competitive research projects, including at undergraduate level.” 

Presenters selected a level from three representing stages of their research - early-phase, in-progress and advanced. Awards were given in each category, and awardees are being recognized on April 30, 2021, at the O.U.R. Awards Ceremony.

Fourteen of the projects presented were O.U.R. sponsored projects, which started in early fall 2020.  Each research student was awarded up to $1,000 in research support along with $500 student stipend. During the last seven months, students developed their projects which are resulted in high-quality papers included in the book of the conference as well as a video available on Lamar University’s O.U.R. webpage.

“This is a legacy that our students leave behind for inspiring and motivating the next generation of peers,” said Bahrim. 

The best three presenters and the most interactive presenter have been selected and will be recognized on April 30, 2021, at the O.U.R. Awards Ceremony.

The Center for History and Culture of Southeast Texas and the Upper Gulf Coast under Director Judith Linsley offered awards and prizes to students who presented valuable talks or posters that shed light on the region, its history, as well as the present economic and political landscape.  

“The EXPO event, as well as the OUR grant programs in general, would not have been possible without the strong support from President Kenneth Evans and Provost Brenda Nichols to whom I want to thank heartily,” said Bahrim. “My special thanks go also to all academic deans and chairs for their constant support and encouragement to their faculty and students for following boldly the pathway of research and creativity.”  

Best Presentations for O.U.R. Sponsored Research

First place:  Talon Weaver, civil engineering major
“The Office of Undergraduate Research here at Lamar University provided me with an opportunity to
T Weaver
Talon Weaver

experience research and be involved in something much larger than myself. This experience has expanded my education and opened the door to career paths I did not believe were possible for me.”

Research: “Identifying Solar Sources of the Most Geo-Effective Interplanetary Disturbances.”
mentors: Dr. Evgeny Romashets and Dr. Cristian Bahrim, Department of Physics

Second place:  Rebekah Schilberg, chemistry major and TALH student

R Schilberg
Rebekah Schilberg

"The Undergraduate Research program has allowed me to work on an important scientific problem that could have an impact on the public environment and beyond. As I progress through my academic and professional careers, I will use the lessons I learned from research to strengthen the decisions I make for my future.”

Research: “Rotational Signature of Perfluorooctanoic Acid as Revealed by Molecular Rotational Resonance Spectroscopy.”
mentors: Dr. Suying Wei and Dr. Sylvestre Twgirayezu, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Third place:  Katherine Correa, drawing and Biology major and Reaud Honors College
"I am truly honored to have been part of the O.U.R experience. The Office of Undergraduate Research has

K Correa
Katherine Correa

opened the doors of exploration for our interdisciplinary project, allowing us the opportunity to work with other universities and explore the use of technology for the replication of the historic Babe Zaharias’ medals. "

Research: “The Babe Zaharias medals:  Exploring methods of Replication for a Promising Non-Contact Based Approach.”
Mentor: Dr. Robert Kelley Bradley, Department of Industrial and System Engineering and in the Makerspace at Rice University

Awardees for non-OUR sponsored research
Category “Early Phase” Research level

First place:  Kyra Rost, sociology major and Reaud Honors College

K Rost
Kyra Rost

“Thank you for awarding us the 'Best Poster Presentation' for the early-stage category. It further encourages us to test the assertion that significant progress has been made in racial equality and measure perceived effectiveness, awareness and support for the Black Lives Matter movement.”

Research: “Attitudes and Misconceptions of the Black Lives Matter Movement”
mentor: Dr. Stuart Wright, Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice.




Second place:  Jesse Odom, Mario Cisneros, and Noah McGallion, business majors
" Our senior paper research finds that utilizing concrete 3d printers in the construction industry can lead to

McGallion Group

Dr. Cristian Bahrim, Noah
Odom, Mario
 and Dr. Zhe Luo

faster production rates, cost savings and safer work environments. The EXPO 2021, held by the Office of Undergraduate Research, allowed our team an avenue to present our work before a panel of judges and our peers, providing us great feedback on our research studies."

Research: “Productivity, Cost, and Safety Benefits of Utilizing Concrete 3D Printing in the Construction Industry.”
mentors: Dr. Zhe Luo and Dr. Minkyum Kim, Reese Construction Management Program

Category “In-progress” Research level

First place:  Sierra Hunnicutt, speech and hearing major, who will join the doctoral program in audiology at LU fall 2021

“I would like to thank the O.U.R., as well as SURF and Dr. Bahrim and Dr. Felipe for allowing me the

S Hunnicutt
Sierra Hunnicutt

opportunity to participate in academic work I didn't know was possible. The experience I've gained from SURF has helped me to further pursue my studies within audiology. My research was over the knowledge and awareness that college students possess over the use of technological devices and was conducted in hopes of early intervention to reduce the impact of music induced hearing loss from the misuse of technological devices."

Research: “Knowledge and Awareness about Hearing Health and Conservation among College Students: The Use of Technological Devices.”
mentor: Dr. Lilian Felipe, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

Second place:  Jill Culp, biology major

“It was an honor to present my research over 50 year temporal and spatial trends in water quality of

J Culp
Jill Culp

Sabine Lake Estuary at this year’s research Expo, and I am very thankful to my mentor Dr. Matthew P. Hoch for all of his guidance. Analyzing data from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality, I determined the long-term trends in common water quality parameters throughout the estuary, concluding that temperatures have increased by 2˚ in the northern Gulf of mexico and into the Sabine Pass region, salinity levels have increased throughout the estuary and levels of chlorophyll a, nutrients are all elevated near the Port Arthur landing."

Research: “Fifty Year Temporal and Spatial Trends in Water Quality of Sabine Lake Estuary.”
mentor: Dr. Matthew Hoch, Department of Biology

Third place:  Tim Cohrs, communication - journalism major

Tim Cohrs
Tim Cohrs

“I am very honored to be a winner and even to present at the Undergraduate Expo this year.  Engaging with the student body once again and showing this presentation is aligned with our mission to engage the community and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue this mission."

Research: “Civic Engagement in a Small Texas City”
mentor: Dr. Stephan Malick, Department of Communication and media

Category “Advanced” Research level

First place:  Ashley Staggs, speech and hearing major

“I am so grateful for this opportunity that SURF has given me. I am also thankful to Dr. Bahrim and Dr.

 A Stagg
Ashley Stagg

Felipe for their support during this experience. This research has shown how prevalent the need for fall intervention is within the elderly community of Beaumont and how we as a community can assist with helping to find solutions for this problem. The knowledge I have gained from this project will carry with me as I pursue a Ph.D. in research."

Research: “Impact of Dizziness on the Quality of Life and Prevalence of Falls in the Elderly Population of Beaumont.”
mentor: Dr. Lilian Felipe, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences

Second place:  Jesus Torres, industrial engineering major

Jesus Torres

"Autonomous vehicles are said to help prevent road traffic accidents and promote road traffic safety. Therefore, this study evaluated the safety performance of AVs and their related risk factors. For this study to have ranked second place in the advanced category highlights the significant social factor that AVs play today. With that said, we hope that our research will help AV manufacturers and the public understand the safety performance behind AVs."

Research: “Impact of Dizziness on the Quality of Life and Prevalence of Falls in the Elderly Population of Beaumont.”
mentor: Dr. Yueqing Li, Department of Industrial and System Engineering


Third place:  Maissa Salidi, political science major and Reaud Honors College
"I presented research I had conducted over mail-in voting and addressed the concerns that were made

M Salidi
Maissa Salidi

against the practice. It was an honor to receive the third place Best Presentation Award in the Advanced Category. I am incredibly thankful for the Office of Undergraduate Research and Dr. Bahrim for giving me the opportunity to present my research."

Research: “Mail-In Voting”
mentor: Dr. James Nelson, Department of Political Science

Awards offered by the center for history and culture of southeast Texas and the upper gulf coast



Viviana Denova, management major and Reaud Honors College

Vivian D
Viviana Denova

Research: “The Financial Impact of COVID-19 on Small and medium Enterprises in Southeast Texas”
mentor: Dr. Gevorg Sargsya,Department of Finances and Economics





Katherine Correa, drawing and biology major and Reaud Honors College

K Correa
Katherine Correa

Research” “The Babe Zaharias medals: Exploring methods of Replication for a Promising Non-Contact Based Approach”
mentor: Mr. Robert Kelley Bradley, Department of Industrial and System Engineering and in the Makerspace at Rice University



Herman McLeroy, history major

Herman Leroy
Herman Leroy

Research: “The Strange Case of Mooney Allen: Lynching in Jefferson County, Texas, 1900-1910.”
mentor: Dr. Jeff Forret, Department of History