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UA Little Rock Student Research and Creative Works Expo Begins April 16

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s 2021 Student Research and Creative Works Expo will debut to the public Friday, April 16, featuring the latest research and innovations of student researchers at UA Little Rock.  

The event will be hosted virtually through Whova, a free event app. The expo will be open to the public through July 12, allowing members of the Little Rock and campus community to attend the presentation of students’ projects. Judging will take place from April 16-19. 

Both graduate and undergraduate students are eligible to present their ongoing research projects, service or professional work, and creative projects. Student researchers are exploring everything from using combination therapy to combat multidrug-resistant bacteria to the creation of micro droids inspired by the “Star Wars” universe to an assessment of the university’s graduate student orientation program.

The expo will feature presentations by the 2021 winners of the Signature Experience Awards, which provides students with grants to fund a signature experience, such as a research project, creative activity, or community project, to enrich the students’ academic experience at UA Little Rock. 

“In its fourth year, the UA Little Rock Signature Experience has matured into a foundational pillar of undergraduate and graduate student research and creative work with the generous support of the Donaghey Foundation,” said Dr. Jeremy Ecke, director of undergraduate research at UA Little Rock. “As we look forward to our second virtual expo and celebrate the adaptivity and endurance of our students, we have made several important changes. Shifting to a mainly web-based platform will allow attendees and judges to experience enhanced portfolios with handouts, pictures, asynchronous videos, and even live-streaming presentations.”

Some of the projects at the Student Research and Creative Works Expo include: 

In a project entitled, “Wireless Charging with Magnetic Resonance,” students Christa Hindman, Joshua Maxwell, Alexandria Smith, Samuel Zargari, and Hirak Patangia are exploring a more efficient method to charge electric vehicles.

In “Detecting Plant Diseases with AI,” Maximilian Holzmueller plans to build and train a machine learning model to identify common plant diseases in hydroponic produce. The goal of the project is to develop a plant disease detection application and a business case with a local startup (Agrowponics). If the business model is feasible and Agrowponics is satisfied with the final concept and the analysis, it will be rolled out as a complementary service for the company’s customers.

In “Estimating the Impact of Small Businesses on Crime in the Local Community,” Josiah Johnson is utilizing a contest among small towns for a $500,000 revitalization award to study the spillover effects and general efficacy of small business initiatives in small towns. By surveying towns nominated for the TV show “Small Business Revolution,” the project compares and quantifies the impact of the award on various economic outcomes of winning towns relative to non-winning nominees. The results of this project will be of interest to investors and policy makers for future small business initiatives and programs in the U.S.

“As we have come to expect with the Student Research and Creative Works Expo, this year’s projects highlight the innovation and diversity of student research at its best,” Ecke said. “Please join us on April 16 to learn more about the many exciting projects at UA Little Rock.”

To register for the event, you can sign up here. Once you have been registered, participants will receive notification from an expo committee member and can sign in or create an account to join the event here. A brief video outlining the registration process and Whova event platform is available here.