Saturday, August 30, 2014

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U.Va. Undergraduate Researchers To Explain Their Findings This Week

University of Virginia student researchers will have several opportunities to explain their findings this week during Research Week 2013.

• Undergraduate recipients of the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards, Double ’Hoo and Community-Based Research Awards will present their findings in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m.

Last year’s Harrison Undergraduate Research Award recipients will make their presentations in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom. The Harrison Undergraduate Research Award is a maximum of $3,000 to be used toward a research project the following year.

“These students were required to write a 10-page final report about their research findings,” said Sarah Smith, who chairs the Undergraduate Research Network..  “The presentations on Wednesday will be in poster format, summarizing their work in the past year.”

• The same day, the Undergraduate Research Network will present a symposium on research in Newcomb Hall’s Kaleidoscope Room. Humanities research will be featured from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and science research from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by an awards ceremony.

“Undergraduates from any discipline, year or major at the University were encouraged to apply by submitting an abstract of their research project,” Smith said. “Abstracts were reviewed by a panel of students who are members of the Undergraduate Research Network, and then semifinalists were chosen to give a trial presentation, judged by the same group of students.”

Among the humanities topics being presented in the morning are: “Obesity and Access to Fresh Produce: Does Access Produce Lower BMIs?,” “The Life of St. Margaret and Medieval Lay Devotion,” “Dying to Self? How Religion Impacts Neural Processing of Group Preferences,” “Creole Opposition in Plessy vs. Ferguson” and “Cross-Cultural Understanding at Home: Changing the Discourse on U.Va.’s Slave Past.”

The judges for the humanities section are: Carrie Douglass, professor and director of undergraduate studies in the College of Arts & Sciences Department of Anthropology; Samuel Duncan, instructor in the College’s Department of Philosophy ; Carolyn Engelhard, assistant professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine; and Paul Halliday, professor and chair of the Corcoran Department of History in the College, as well as a professor in the School of Law.

The afternoon section of the symposium will feature the topics including “Gravediggers: Parasitoid Manipulation of Bumble Bee Host Behavior and Selection for Host Body Size,” “Cataloging Structural Deterioration in Aging Sensory Neurons Using High-Resolution Golgi Stain Analysis,” “Finding Exo-Earths: A WISE Search for Excess Mid-Infrared Emission around 100,000 Nearby M Dwarfs,” “A New Player in Chemotherapeutic Strategies: T Cells as an Essential Component in Melanoma Treatment,” ”The Role of Periytes in Retinal Microvascular Remodeling in a Murine Model of Chronic Whole Body Hypoxio,” and “Assessment of Machine Learning Algorithms in Cloud Computing Frameworks.”

The judges for the sciences section are Marie-Louise Hammarskjöld, associate director of the Myles H. Thaler Center for AIDS and Human Retrovirus Research in the School of Medicine, professor of microbiology and Charles H. Ross Jr. Professor of Multiple Sclerosis Research; Manuel Lerdau, professor in the Department of  Environmental Sciences in the College; and Lin Pu, professor in the College’s Department of Chemistry

“The projects are judged on scientific thought and quality of research, exhibition of knowledge of the field of research, creativity, originality, scientific validity, successful balancing of explaining technical aspects to a broad audience, as well as the clarity and quality of presentation,” Smith said.

First-place winners in each category will receive a Jefferson Cup and a $150 gift card. Second-place winners will receive a $75 gift card. The prizes are sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Excellence and the Office of the Vice President for Research. Special awards will be given by the Academic Affairs Committee of the Student Council and “The Oculus,” U.Va.’s multidisciplinary undergraduate research journal.

• On Friday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., participants in the Jefferson Public Citizens program will present their research and service projects in the Kaleidoscope Room.

The presentations are the culmination of the Jefferson Public Citizens program, during which teams of students, mentored by a faculty member, apply for funding for their research projects, which also must include a community partner.

Each group will have about 10 minutes to present.

Also, the 2013 edition of the program’s research journal, “Public,” will be available on Friday.

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