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Undergraduate Research Signature Experience recipients announced

Luke Johnson and Mike Powell work on a physics project in Ottenheimer Library.

Seventy-nine University of Arkansas at Little Rock students have been selected as the inaugural recipients of the Undergraduate Research Signature Experience Awards for spring 2018.

Chancellor Andrew Rogerson introduced the awards in fall 2017 to inspire UA Little Rock undergraduate students to conduct research and creative projects. Each of the recipients will receive up to $1,000 to cover the cost of materials for this one-semester signature experience in research or creative works.

“It is our goal for all students to have the opportunity to have a Signature Experience during their time at UA Little Rock – one in which they actively engage in creative work with faculty,” Dr. Rogerson said. “Not only will their academic experience be enriched by these connections, but they in turn will enrich the lives of others who benefit from the research. It is also my hope that it will help students engage with their major and consider graduate school.”

UA Little Rock is one of only two Arkansas higher education institutions with Carnegie designation for doctoral research.

“With the Chancellor’s recognition, and strong support for undergraduate research, the university will enable valuable research experiences between our faculty mentors and our students,” said Dr. Velmer Burton, executive vice chancellor and provost. “This is further evidence at work of the value that our teacher-scholar model has for both students and faculty.”

Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs, noted that undergraduate research is tied to increased student persistence and graduation.

“This is not surprising,” Rice said. “Undergraduate research gives students a special connection to a living scholar and provides an exhilarating taste of actually doing science, of doing sociological, historical or psychological research themselves, which has a big motivational effect.”

The students’ projects range across disciplines and include topics such as a study of coral reef disease on San Salvador Island, a law review of tenant-landlord laws in Arkansas, an analysis of student perceptions of open education resources, the construction of a thermochemical system for conversion of municipal solid waste into fuel, and a reproduction of Egyptian faience ceramic techniques.

“There were outstanding projects across the colleges,” said Dr. Jeremy Ecke, chair of the Student Research and Creative Works Committee. “The committee was particularly heartened to see proposals from the fine arts, theater and dance, music, math, and other disciplines that have been underrepresented in the annual research and creative works expo. This year’s launch of an expanded Student Research and Creative Works Showcase is off to a great start. I hope the awards will inspire other students to showcase their work in the spring.”

Recipients of the Signature Experience Awards will exhibit their work at the Student Research and Creative Works Showcase on April 12 in the Jack Stephens Center. The showcase is open to all students across disciplines. Applications will be accepted beginning Jan. 1, 2018. Students interested in presenting work at the showcase or who want to learn more are asked to respond to a survey of interest.

The Signature Experience Award winners by their respective colleges are as follows:

College of Arts, Letters, and Sciences

Reem Al-Shukri, Nanotechnology
Emily Anderson, Chemistry
Marina Avram, Chemistry
Erin Beeman, Philosophy & Interdisciplinary Studies
Lilly Bessette, Biology
Becky Blackburn, Fine Art
Andrew Blackwell, Art & Design
Marvin Bonney, Physics and Astronomy
Kenneth Burnett, Biology
Brock Butler, Chemistry
Michael Caysido, Music-Piano Performance
Amairani Paredes-Cheguen, Biology
Nathaniel Darbonne, English
Jenish Desai, Chemistry
Corrie Green, Theatre, Arts and Dance
Jake Green, English
Kristen Gregory, Biology
Robert Hill, Chemistry
Davonte Hokes, Chemistry
Thomas Jackson, Theatre Arts and Dance
Travis Lewison Jumper, Chemistry
Emily E. Junkans, English/ World Languages
Grishma Kc, Biology
Amy King, History/Secondary Education
William King, Biology (working with CINS)
Cameryn Kirkham, English
Samantha Macchi, Chemistry
Katie Matthews, Biology
Tyler Maxwell, Biology
Rebecca Parker-Moreira, Chemistry
Joy Madeline Reinbold, English
Grace Rutter, Biology
Paloma Salazar, Chemistry
James Sellers, Chemistry
Alaa Mohammed Shahare, Biology
Kimber Stout, Physics
Daniel Stuckey, Chemistry
Zaria Sumler, Biology
Sylvia Szewdo, Chemistry
Thuy Thanh Le, Chemistry
Conor VanLierop, Theatre
Justice Williams, Biology
LeShonta Williams, Chemistry
Tori Williams, English
Scott Wolf, Math and Statistics
Dylan Wright, World Languages

College of Education and Health Professions

Cynthia Wyman, School of Social Work

College of Social Sciences and Communication

Charlana Benefiel, Political Science
Desiree Doyle, Applied Communication
Jesse Horton, Criminal Justice
Saiyeeda Hossain, Sociology and Anthropology
Cassandra Lester, Criminal Justice
Chloe Moses, Rhetoric and Writing
Trye Price, Criminal Justice
Christina Redmann, Political Science
Courtney Reed, Sociology and Anthropology
Nigel Spears, Applied Communication
Emily Summers, Anthropology
Kimberly Thornton, Rhetoric and Writing
Nicole Ursin, Anthropology

George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology

Bergras Asgeirsdottir, Engineering
Anderson Banihirwe, Computer Science
Rebecca Bishop, Earth Science
Kayla Bolin, Earth Science
Pablo Centeno, Engineering Technology
John Graham, System Engineering
J’von Jackson, Engineering Technology
Nicholas Lester, Information Science
Joshua Miller, Engineering Technology
Tarang Parikh, Engineering Technology
Olivia Pate, Earth Science
Jason Simmons, Earth Science
Zachary Smith, Earth Science

College of Business

Madeline Burke, Marketing & Advertising
Deepali Lal, International Business and Human Resource Management
Abigail Resebdiz, Business
Logan Vickery, Economics
Ian Wren, Marketing

Ottenheimer Library

Amanda Pennington, Collections and Archives

In the upper right photo, students work on a physics project in Ottenheimer Library. Photo by Lonnie Timmons III / UA Little Rock Communications.