2019 Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Four University of Arkansas at Little Rock students have received funding for the 2019 Student Undergraduate Research Fellowship from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education. These programs encourage students to develop and execute a research plan with the help of a faculty mentor.

Madeline Burke: Duck and Cover: How the Outdated Maritime 1851 Limitation of Liability Act Shields Shipowners From Liability ($2,750 from SURF, $1,250 match to equal $4,000)

Madeline Burke investigating the legal and ethical considerations of the 1851 Limitation of Liability Act that protects shipowners from liability. This act was cited by Ride the Ducks, the company that owned the duck boat that sank and killed 17 people on Table Rock Lake in Missouri on July 19, 2018. Burke will use library and government databases to create a research presentation for a national conference and submit an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Dr. Casey Rockwell from the Department of Marketing and Advertising is Burke’s mentor on the project. Burke is from Little Rock.


Michael Meziere: Examining the Relationships between Religiosity, Rape Myth Acceptance, and Sexual Misconduct ($2,125 from SURF, $625 match to equal $2,750)

Michael Meziere is examining if religiosity plays a factor in the misconceptions and myths surrounding sexual assaults on college campuses. To carry out this study, Meziere will conduct surveys to gather information on religious beliefs and sexual attitudes. The data gathered in this survey will be presented in a poster presentation at the Academy of Criminal Justice Studies Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in March 2019 and the UA Little Rock Student Undergraduate Research Expo in April 2019. Dr. Molly Smith from the Department of Criminal Justice is Meziere’s mentor on the project. Meziere is from Little Rock.


Bonn Belingon: Enzymatic Studies of BbI06 from Borrelia burgdorferi ($2,750 from SURF, $1,250 match to equal $4,000)

Bonn Belingon is researching how to isolate and target specific enzymes that are found in  B. burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Currently, drug resistance to B. burgdorferi has surged and new strategies are needed to combat the disease. Belington and his mentor, Dr. Shanzhi Wang, will purify and characterize the BbI06 enzyme and determine ten inhibitors against the bacterium.


Caroline Kornelsen: Understanding of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer in Ionic Materials ($2,750 from SURF, $1,250 match to equal $4,000)

Caroline Kornelsen and her mentor, Dr. Noureen Siraj, are researching novel and inexpensive approaches to developing new materials that possess Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) characteristics. FRET is a non-radiation energy transfer process between donor and acceptor moieties. Ionic material with FRET characteristics will be developed using a fluorescent organic ion as donor and counterion as acceptor. FRET characteristic in an ionic material will be understood by developing  several derivatives of ionic materials using same cation but variable anion or vice versa. These materials are important in the arena of energy, healthcare, and the environment.

This project will allow Kornelsen and Siraj to learn more about the parameters that depend on FRET efficiency in ionic material. Kornelsen is from Fallbrook, California.

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