Contact: Sasha Steinberg
STARKVILLE, Miss.—Eleven students have earned top honors from Mississippi State’s recent Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Hosted by MSU’s Judy and Bobby Shackouls Honors College, this year’s competition included 113 project submissions by students conducting faculty-guided research at the state’s leading research university. Projects were categorized in four areas—arts and humanities, biological sciences and engineering, physical sciences and engineering, and social sciences. Certain categories yielded multiple award winners due to the large number of submissions.
Forty-four faculty and advanced doctoral students representing a cross section of academic areas served as competition judges.
Anastasia Elder, the honors college’s director of undergraduate research and associate dean, said undergraduate research and creative endeavors for all students is part of MSU’s core mission as an institution of higher learning. The symposium, she said, is a way for undergraduate students to share their research and creative discovery activities to complement their academic studies and preparation.
“We were happy to be able to return to an in-person event and excited to have our largest summer turnout,” Elder said. “I want to express much gratitude to our faculty mentors. This symposium cannot occur without their encouragement and support of undergraduate efforts.”
This year’s winners represent Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Tennessee. They include (by project type and category):
ARTS AND HUMANITIES AWARD:
Joseph Newell, a senior English major from Cary, “Shakespeare’s Expansion of Heteropatriarchy through Dreams: A Mockery of Women’s Triumph in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of English Dhanashree Thorat.
BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING:
FIRST—Cara Stewart, a senior wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major from Abbeville, “Assessing Climatic Extremes to Priority Bird Species in the Southeastern Coastal Plain,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture Kristine Evans. She is participating in the MSU Office of Research and Economic Development’s Undergraduate Research Program.
SECOND—Madalyn Jennings, a senior poultry science major from Folsom, Louisiana, “Evaluation of antibiotic resistance pattern of Avian Pathogenic Escherichia coli isolated from broiler breeders with colibacillosis from Mississippi,” mentored by MSU Assistant Research Professor of Poultry Science Reshma Ramachandran.
THIRD (tie)—Samuel Cothron, a senior agronomy major from Nashville, Tennessee, “Metabolites in Sucrose/starch synthesis pathway affect QQS transcript in Arabidopsis,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Ling Li.
THIRD (tie)—Ibraheem Abbood, a University of Arkansas at Little Rock chemistry major from Bryant, Arkansas, “Using Mutagenesis to Understand How a Protein Binds to a Polystyrene Surface.” He is participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates at MSU and being mentored by MSU Professor of Chemistry Nick Fitzkee.
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING:
FIRST—Ian Johnson of Hattiesburg, a Research Experience for Undergraduates participant from the University of Southern Mississippi, “Electrospinning Optically Active Polymer Fibers Containing Perovskite for Use in Fibrous LED Devices,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering Santanu Kundu.
SECOND—Rudane Griffiths, a senior chemical engineering major from Starkville, “Efficient propane dehydroaromatization over ultralow loading Pt/HZSM-5 promoted with Cu,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering Yizhi Xiang.
THIRD (tie)—Bailey Bullard, a University of North Georgia chemistry major from Sharpsburg, Georgia, “Testing of Engineered Biochar for the Removal of Phosphorus in Stormwater Runoff.” She is participating in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at MSU and being mentored by MSU Professor of Chemistry Todd Mlsna and MSU Professor of Landscape Architecture Tim Schauwecker.
THIRD (tie)—Katelyn Woodard, a senior chemical engineering major from Paducah, Kentucky, “A Radical Library: Cataloging Radiation Yield of Acrylates Undergoing Electron-beam Polymerization,” mentored by MSU Professor of Chemical Engineering Julie Jessop.
FIRST—Sarah Dulaney, a senior microbiology major from Vicksburg, “Thematic Analysis of Vaccine Misinformation in Social Media,” mentored by MSU Assistant Professor of Communication Holli Seitz.
SECOND—Lauren Adams, a senior chemistry major from Columbus, “Eye Tracking Studies on Organic Molecule Representational Competence,” mentored by MSU Associate Professor of Chemistry Deb Mlsna.
In 2006, a generous gift from MSU chemical engineering alumnus Bobby Shackouls and wife Judy transformed the University Honors Program into MSU’s Shackouls Honors College. The program has supported some of the nation’s best and brightest students in their pursuit of educational excellence for more than 50 years. Learn more at www.honors.msstate.edu.
MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.