Undergraduate Research on Display

Posted on April 11, 2018

student pointing at research poster

Last week, 219 students representing 39 academic departments made presentations at the 12th annual Carolyn and Norwood Thomas Undergraduate Research and Creativity Expo.

Those included poster presentations, oral presentations and several performances.

Dr. Joanne Murphy from the Department of Classical Studies was honored with the Thomas Undergraduate Research Mentor Award.

“As faculty, research is such a huge part of our identity,” she said at the event’s opening. “If we involve our undergraduates in hands-on research, conferences, presentations and peer-reviewed publishing activity, we really complete the loop.”

This year’s expo saw several new additions that expanded the scope of undergraduate research at UNCG. A group of freshman and sophomores from the Residential Colleges presented their work as “Emerging Scholars,” with support and mentoring from the Residential College faculty.

“The skills I learned from Dr. Littlejohn about interviewing and evaluating sources are things that I can take with me through the rest of my academic career,” said Sohm Gough, a Strong College resident who presented a poster about the relationship between music and social movements in the late twentieth century.

In addition to research in topics as diverse as intra-urban agriculture, wildlife diversity, multilingual education and nurse-patient communication, artistic work made a big appearance at this year’s expo. The noon program included the presentation of an original piano piece by Andrew Savage, a theatrical presentation by Joshua Kellum and the screening of an original short film by media studies major Tumaini Johnson. The film, “Greensboro Four,” was a dramatic representation of the initial 1960 sit-in at the downtown Greensboro Woolworth’s counter.

Through a wide variety of subjects and methods, UNCG’s undergraduate researchers brought their best – projects that displayed innovative, inspired research with historical or creative resonance and real-world implications and impacts.

Award Winners:

Arts, Humanities and Education

1st Place – Tie

Sarah Duncan (Classical Studies)
Faculty Mentor: Joanne Murphy
Akhenaten and Collapse in the Ancient State

Curran Fitzgerald (Anthropology)
Faculty Mentor: Donna Nash
Archaeoastronomical Analysis of Wari Ritual Spaces in the Osmore Valley, Peru

3rd Place:

Dixie Ortiz (Music Education) and Jessica Lewis (Music)
Faculty Mentor: Rebecca MacLeod
Near Peer Mentorship as a Model for Private Music Instruction

Honorable Mention:

Joshua Kellum, Michael Newman and Jordan Speas (Theatre)
Faculty Mentors:  Denise Gabriel
MAMA “Mindfulness Arts Mindful Actions”

Economics, Behavioral and Social Sciences

1st Place:

Payton McGarry (Economics)
Faculty Mentor: Stephen Holland
UNCG and Intergenerational Mobility

2nd Place:

Sierra Rufino (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Rosemery Nelson-Gray
Does Facial Emotion Recognition Affect Friendship?: Borderline Personality Disorder

3rd Place:

Mengyun Li, Ruitong Li, Jessica Navarro, and Haley Morris (Human Development and Family Studies)
Faculty Mentor: Jonathan Tudge
Developing Connective Gratitude: A Intervention Study

Honorable Mention:

Dahlia Alharoon (Psychology)
Faculty Mentor: Paul Silvia
Daydreaming Styles and Brain Functional Connectivity

Jordan Richmond (International & Global Studies and Political Science)
Faculty Mentors: Roberto Campo and Lynda Kellum
Crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh: Sociocultural Underpinnings and Political Barriers to the 2016-2018 Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing Crisis

Alexus Threatt (Nursing)
Faculty Mentors: Sandra Blaha and Leslie Davis
How Meditation Works: Understanding the Mechanisms Behind the Practice

Mathematics, Life and Physical Sciences

1st Place:

Saman Baral and Shilpa Bhatia (Biology)
Faculty Mentor: Olav Rueppell
Virus Resistance in Honeybees

2nd Place:

Amanda Barclift (Kinesiology)
Faculty Mentor: Louisa Raisbeck
The Effects of Attentional Focus in a Fine Motor Skill and Task Difficulty Interaction

3rd Place:

Manead Khin (Chiemistry)
Faculty Mentor: Nadja Cech
Macleaya cordata as a potential cure for MRSA

Honorable Mention:

Mark Perez (Chemistry & Biochemistry)
Faculty Mentors:  Mitchell Croatt and Mohammed Al-Hunti
Palladium Catalyzed Deoxygenation of Alcohols

Emerging Scholars (Residential College Students):

1st Place:

Jacqueline Teasley, Senior Archaeology Major:
How Healthcare Policies Reveal the Discriminatory Nature of Immigration Laws in the United States, ES-A36
Sara Littlejohn, mentor

2nd Place:

Breeana White, Sophomore Social Work Major
Not Legal Yet, ES-A41
Sara Littlejohn, mentor

3rd Place:

Caroline Hanrahan, Sophomore Media Studies Major
Sociology of Autism, ES-A11
Sara Littlejohn, mentor

Honorable Mentions:

Lex Lee, Sophomore Social Work Major
Umbrella in the Rain, ES-A18
Sara Littlejohn, mentor

Morgan Fadely, Sophomore History Major
Should They Stay or Should They Go, ES-M06
Sara Littlejohn, mentor


Story and photography by Susan Kirby-Smith

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