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Undergraduate Research Lauded

The fourth annual UALR Undergraduate Research Expo on Monday, April 20,  recognized and celebrated undergraduate research achievements in five areas: Arts; Engineering and Technology; Social Sciences; Life and Physical Sciences; and Humanities. Fifty projects involving 65 students were featured.

Speech Communications student Camille Earl of Bryant won first prize in the Arts category for her research in organizational communication.

Her project utilized a semester-long observational study of how a local company created, maintained, and passed on its culture through communication. Her research was mentored by Dr. Avinash Thombre in the Department of Speech Communication.

Greg Fundyler of Little Rock won first place in the Engineering and Technology category with his project in container communication. His Cooperative Maritime Network is designed to track and monitor shipping containers in real time. Tracking data from containers in shipment can be displayed visually on computer-generated maps with 3-D representations. When intrusions occur, alerts with timestamps and location data can be sent to ports and freight companies to allow security breaches to be checked out. His research was mentored by Dr. Srini Ramaswamy, Dr. Sean Geoghegan, and Dr. Remzi Seker in the Department of Computer Science.

Amy Pruitt of Little Rock won first place in Social Sciences with her project, “Explaining the Use of Negative E-mails in Presidential Primary Elections.”  She examined 2008 presidential primary races, looking to find what causes a politician to implement negative ads in a campaign. She analyzed negative ads by the campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain during the presidential primary races. By using a binary logistic regression, she analyzed the attack e-mails by controlling for a number of independent variables, such as the party of both the attacker and the candidate who was attacked.

“I found many interesting results. For example, a Republican candidate is more likely than a Democratic candidate to attack,” she said. Pruitt was mentored by Dr. Joseph Giammo in the Department of Political Science.

The team of Ashley Scott, M. Lahiani, A. Raso, E. Saheb, and Z. Karakooly won first place in the Life and Physical Sciences category with their comparisons of the effectiveness of anthrax-killing compounds. The team was mentored by Dr. Olga Tarasenko in the Department of Biology.

In the Humanities category, Sarah Walker won first place with her paper examining the prevalent and fallacious attitude among white Americans in the 19th century that native American culture was doomed to die. Such an attitude, she claimed, employs “extinction rhetoric.” Walker analyzed various selected works of a prolific Cherokee author of the late 1800s and early 1900s before, during and after passage of the Dawes Act of 1887 and Curtis Act of 1898. Dr. James Parins in the Department of English mentored Walker.