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Dinsmore and Garcia-Reyes receive Undergraduate Research Awards for spring 2015

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

LAWRENCE — This spring, 51 University of Kansas students will receive Undergraduate Research Awards. UGRA recipients are awarded $1,000 to fund their faculty-mentored research and creative projects, which represent departments from across campus and explore a wide range of topics.

“Each UGRA recipient has discovered a topic that inspires curiosity, creativity and dedication. In this way, UGRA recipients exemplify our desired outcome for all KU students,” said John Augusto, assistant vice provost.

Students apply for the award by writing a four-page research proposal under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Applications are evaluated on the merit of the applicant's proposal, the applicant's academic record and a recommendation letter from the faculty mentor.

The UGRA competition is coordinated by the Center for Undergraduate Research and funded by a partnership between the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Office of Research, Undergraduate Studies and the Office of the Provost. 

Proposals for summer and fall 2015 UGRAs are due March 26. Interested students are encouraged to attend the upcoming information sessions and proposal workshops. More information is available on the Center for Undergraduate Research website.

Award recipients who gave permission to have their information released are listedbelow:


Joshua Marple, a junior from Auburn majoring in computer science: “An Alternative Eye Tracking System,” mentored by Jonathan Brumberg, speech-language-hearing: sciences & disorders

Allora Richey, a senior from Augusta majoring in psychology and human biology: “The Mediating Role of Hostile Attribution in the Relation between Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms and Reactive and Proactive Aggression,” mentored by Paula Fite, psychology

Matthew Buehler, a senior from De Soto majoring in ecology & evolutionary biology: “Geographic and Genetic Diversity in the genus Phrynocephalus: speciation and Divergence among Habitat Types in the Gobi Desert of Mongolia?,” mentored by Rafe Brown, ecology & evolutionary biology

Renee Dinsmore, a senior from Derby and Overland Park majoring in public administration: “Defining and Measuring Justice Over Time,” mentored by Shannon Portillo, public affairs & administration

Jake Frondorf, a senior from Hutchinson majoring in linguistics: “The Syntax of Pulaar's Left Periphery,” mentored by Jason Kandybowicz, linguistics

Michael Wysong, a sophomore from Larned majoring in theatre performance: “Exploring Musical Theatre Song Cycles,” mentored by John Staniunas, theatre

Gustin Bova, a senior from Lawrence majoring in Latin American & Caribbean studies: “On the Interpretation of Latin American Indigenous Languages in U.S. Courtrooms: An Ethnographic and Sociolinguistic Approach,” mentored by Peter Haney, Latin American & Caribbean studies

Jeff Carmody, a senior from Lawrence majoring in philosophy and linguistics: “Ethical, Conceptual, and Political Dimensions of Native Plants and Animals,” mentored by Armin Schulz, philosophy

Emily Haynes, a senior from Lawrence majoring in biochemistry: “Modular tripeptide carrier for targeted molecular imaging with copper,” mentored by Jennifer Laurence, pharmaceutical chemistry

Timothy Hieger, a senior from Lawrence majoring in biology (ecology and evolutionary biology): “Jurassic floras in a volcanic environment from Antarctica,” mentored by Thomas Taylor, ecology & evolutionary biology

Erin Ice, a senior from Lawrence majoring in sociology: “The Relationship between Family Social Capital, Self-Rated Health, and Objective Health in Indonesia,” mentored by Jarron Saint Onge, sociology

Elizabeth Lewis, a freshman from Lawrence majoring in psychology: “The Influence of Stereotypes on the Comprehension of Accented Speech,” mentored by Michael Vitevitch, psychology

Ruben Medina, a junior from Lawrence majoring in community health: “Examination of effects of motivational climate on veterans’ abilities to foster exercise adherence in their physical activity classes,” mentored by Mary Fry, health, sport, & exercise sciences

Ry Patton, a senior from Lawrence majoring in biology (ecology & evolutionary biology): “Genetic and Morphological Analysis of the Stingless Bee Genus Tetragonula from southeastern Asia (Hymenoptera: Apidae),” mentored by Victor Gonzalez, undergraduate biology

Nicholas Shaheed, a junior from Lawrence majoring in computer science and music composition: “Composing Electronic Music Controlled by Physiological Input,” mentored by Kip Haaheim, music theory & music composition

David Szczucinski, a senior from Lawrence majoring in environmental studies: “Can We Dump Smarter? An examination of receptacle design on post-consumer compost contamination rates,” mentored by Derek Reed, applied behavioral science

Jacqueline Wells, a senior from Lawrence majoring in architectural studies: “Study of Public Engagement Best Practices,” mentored by Ward Lyles and Bonnie Johnson, urban planning

Amy Zheng, a junior from Lawrence majoring in chemical engineering (biomedical concentration): “Developing Oral Amphotericin B using Prodrug Approach and Permeability-Modulating Peptides,” mentored by Michael Zhuo Wang, pharmaceutical chemistry

Katherine Deckert, a senior from Leawood majoring in behavioral neuroscience: “An Examination of the Structure of Maladaptive Personality Traits in Autism Spectrum Disorders Using Network Analysis,” mentored by Evangelia Chrysikou and Stephen Ilardi, psychology

Mihir Vedantam, a junior from Leawood majoring in aerospace engineering: “Error Analysis in Climate Modeling,” mentored by Erik Van Vleck, math

Jennifer Beck, a junior from Newton majoring in graphic design and English literature: “The Havanas: A Typographic Comparison,” mentored by Tim Hossler, design

Katherine Gwynn, a senior from Olathe majoring in English and women, gender & sexuality studies: “'Merely Players’: A Continuation of Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It,'" mentored by Darren Canady, English

Emily Binshtok, a sophomore from Overland Park majoring in biochemistry: “The Therapeutic Value of Anti-Metastatic MicroRNAs in Breast Cancer,” mentored by Liang Xu, molecular biosciences

Alex Fennell, a senior from Overland Park majoring in behavioral neuroscience: “Judging Right From Wrong: An Investigation into Factors Influencing Moral Judgments,” mentored by Christopher Ramey and Evangelia Chrysikou, psychology

Erika Garcia-Reyes, a senior from Overland Park majoring in public administration: “The Meanings of Justice,” mentored by Shannon Portillo, public affairs & administration

Brianna Jackson, a freshman from Overland Park majoring in microbiology and applied behavioral sciences: “A Cell-Free Strategy to Evaluate Lysosomal Trapping Behavior in Drugs,” mentored by Jeff Krise, pharmaceutical chemistry

Justin Massey, a junior from Overland Park majoring in biochemistry: “Conditional Gene Regulation in Chlamydia trachomatis,” mentored by Scott Hefty, molecular biosciences

Haley Fisher, a senior from Prairie Village majoring in English (creative writing): “Loss and the Young Adult Heroine: ‘Because You Left,'” mentored by Mary Klayder, English

Micah Melia, a senior from Prairie Village majoring in anthropology: “Racial, Socioeconomic, and Institutional Factors in the Disproportionate Representation of Low Income Minority Students in Stigmatized Mild Disability Categories,” mentored by Argun Saatcioglu, educational leadership and policy studies

Maija Mallula, a senior from Roeland Park majoring in microbiology: “Mitochondrial DNA variation in coastal Iranian Apis florea,” mentored by Deborah Smith, ecology & evolutionary biology

Jason Jones, a senior from Salina majoring in geology: “Observations of Geologic Building Materials at the Introductory Level: Predicting and Scaffolding Student Success in Developing Expert-like Geocognition,” mentored by Kelsey Bitting and Jennifer Roberts, geology

Cassandra Osei, a senior from Shawnee majoring in history and Latin American & Caribbean studies: “'Let there be stereotypes': Colorblindness, affirmative action, and racial semantics at the University of California, 1977-1996,” mentored by Clarence Lang, American studies and African & African American studies

Vivek Patel, a sophomore from Shawnee majoring in biology (organismal biology): “Unique Animal Communities of Tropical Zingiberales Plants,” mentored by Caroline Chaboo, ecology & evolutionary biology

Nikki Richardson, a senior from Silver Lake majoring in political science and global & international studies: “The Quantitative Question: Analyzing the Correlation Between Gender-related Index Scores and Gender-related Violence,” mentored by John Kennedy, global & international studies

Lauren Arney, a junior from Stilwell majoring in biology: “Discovering the Structure of the Allosteric Sites in Pyruvate Kinase,” mentored by Audrey Lamb, molecular biosciences

Anna Wenner, a senior from Topeka majoring in English and history: “Not My Problem: A Play Examining Sexual Assault on College Campuses ,” mentored by Darren Canady, English

Gabby Zeller, a senior from Topeka majoring in psychology: “The Role of In-Person Emotional Social Support and Social Media Support as Means for Coping with Exam Stress,” mentored by Nancy Hamilton, psychology

Emily Donovan, a junior from Westwood majoring in English (creative writing): “Be Cool,” mentored by Thomas Lorenz, English

Logan Abbott, a senior from Wichita majoring in pharmacy: “Synthesis of Pharmacologically Active Analogs of Salvinorin A,” mentored by Thomas Prisinzano, medicinal chemistry

William Gunderson, a sophomore from Wichita majoring in biology: “Molecular Phylogenetics of White-Eared Brown Dove,” mentored by Robert Moyle, ecology & evolutionary biology

Dan Vu, a junior from Wichita majoring in biochemistry: “Localization and Substrate Elucidation of PGP-11, an ABC Transporter required for RNA Interference in Caenorhabditis elegans,” mentored by Lisa Timmons, molecular biosciences


Out-of-state recipients


Emma Halling, a senior from Elkhart, Indiana, majoring in American studies and women, gender, & sexuality studies: “Shutting the Door but Opening a Window: How University Admissions Practices Expose Students to Risk of Sexual Assault,” mentored by Clarence Lang, American studies


Dina Lyne, a junior from Minneapolis majoring in chemical engineering: “Modeling, Optimizing, and Testing Low-Tech Solar Water Heaters for the Developing World,” mentored by Aaron Scurto, chemical & petroleum engineering


Andrew Miller, a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, majoring in behavioral neuroscience: “Neural Effects of Generalized vs. Personalized Security Priming,” mentored by Omri Gillath, psychology

Paula Satcher, a senior from Kansas City, Missouri, majoring in atmospheric science: “Evaluating the accuracy of the inclusion of the anthropogenic heat flux in a climate model,” mentored by Nathaniel Brunsell, geography

Quincy Wofford, a junior from Lee's Summit, Missouri, majoring in interdisciplinary computing-astronomy: “The Lunar Energetic AstroParticle (LEAP) Experiment,” mentored by Dave Besson, physics & astronomy

Anna Zimmerman, a junior from St. Louis, majoring in visual communication design: “Type in Trier,” mentored by Andrea Herstowski, design


Gretchen Baker, a junior from Omaha majoring in mechanical engineering: “Repeatability of Spinal Motion for Simple Bending and Twisting Tasks,” mentored by Elizabeth Friis, mechanical engineering

New Hampshire

Patrick Clement, a senior from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, majoring in film & media studies: “7786-Burroughs, Wm. Print Project and Exhibition,” mentored by Luke Jordan, visual art, Tamara Falicov, film & media studies, and Catherine Preston, film & media studies


Muhammad (Ibrahim) Gul, a junior from Islamabad, Pakistan, majoring in chemical engineering: “Changes in Range of Motion Envelope of the Back due to Repetitive Lifting and the Development of Low back pain,” mentored by Sara Wilson, mechanical engineering.


Ruth DeWitt, Communications Manager
KU School of Public Affairs and Administration
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