Undergraduate Research Signature Experience Awards at work

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Two University of Arkansas at Little Rock College of Business students recently put their Signature Experience grants to use and traveled to Palm Springs, California, to present their research during the Pacific Southwest Academy for Legal Studies in Business (PSWALSB) conference.

During the fall 2017 semester, Logan Vickery, a senior economics major, and Deepali Lal, a senior international business and human resource management double major, were recipients of the UA Little Rock Signature Experience Award. They each received $1,000 to assist in the purchase of materials for a one-semester project or experience in research or creative works. Both students decided to use their funds to attend the PSWALSB conference, and as a result, capitalized on an opportunity of a lifetime.

The PSWALSB is a regional subdivision of the Academy of Legal Studies in Business, an association of professors and scholars in the fields of business law, legal environment, and law-related courses outside of professional law schools. The academy is home to nearly 1,000 members from across the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and England, among others.

Vickery and Lal were the only undergraduate students to present research during this year’s conference, so their work received much attention from the highly acclaimed professionals in attendance.

“Everyone at the conference was amazed by our presentations,” Lal exclaimed. “I received lots of good feedback and direction for the future. One [person] even suggested that I publish in their journal after I finish with my research.”


During Lal’s presentation, she discussed the relationships between establishments that sell alcohol and crime in the city of Little Rock, as well as identified related patterns amongst the two using a geospatial analysis.

“One of the goals of this project was to see the effect of marketing of alcohol on crime [as reflected by] happy hours, alcohol availability, and promotions,” she said. “The fact that alcohol is available increases crime [according to] the alcohol availability theory, and happy hour increases consumption, which leads to violence. The more hours that happy hour exist, the more risk of crime occurring.”

Vickery’s presentation covered economic research that focused on landlord-tenant laws in Arkansas and how the amount of tenant protections a state provides affects it’s median rental price. To help drive his points home, Vickery created a custom regression model, an analytical demonstration, to highlight the variables that were statistically significant on rental prices.

“Having the opportunity to take my research to these conferences and present in front of this esteemed faculty really helps me focus in on what I need to improve on with my research and writing, which gives me a tremendous head start to law school,” Vickery said.

Vickery and Lal will graduate from the university this spring with real-world experiences under their belts, thanks to, in part, the Signature Experience program, as well as the College of Business and its dedicated faculty members.  

“Any time [Deepali and I] went over our grant budget, the College of Business was more than willing to help us out in making up the difference,” Vickery said. “They are owed a lot of credit for supporting our research and these special opportunities.”

Lal, who received mentorship and assistance from Dr. Casey Rockwell, assistant professor of marketing and advertising, and Dr. Inderpreet Farmahan, senior director of the Geographic Information System laboratory, said, “Faculty like them are committed to student success and research, which encourages students to apply themselves.”

After graduation, Vickery plans to attend law school at Emory University in Atlanta, and Lal plans to follow up her research by composing a happy hour legislation to reduce the hours of the promotions, and present her plan to the city of Little Rock.

 

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