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Profiles

KELCEY BELL

Bell

My name is Kelcey Bell and I’m currently working on a degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry. For the past year I have worked with Dr. David Birney on the generation and trapping of alpha-oxo-ketenes. Last year I worked closely with a grad student, but since the completion of his doctoral thesis, I will be working much more independently this coming year. Alpha-oxo-ketenes are important to research as they are useful as building blocks for many organic molecules. Our research is valuable because previous methods of reacting alpha-oxo-ketenes required large amounts of heat. Last year I helped flesh out a new procedure that allows the ketene to be reacted at temperatures below zero. This is of interest because a lower reaction temperature allows greater selectivity and a decreased chance of degradation. Previously we worked on finding chemicals that would react with an alpha-oxo-ketene, and we successfully found four. This year Dr. Birney and I will hopefully identify three or four more reagents as well as identifying the mechanism of the reaction.

I have thoroughly enjoyed working in for the Undergraduate Research program because it allows me to actively participate in a field that I find fascinating. While my major is Biology, my academic strength and interest is in Chemistry. I chose to major in a subject that would be useful in my future career as a dentist, but the Undergraduate Research program has allowed me to still take an active role in my first interest: chemistry. I also am glad that I participated in this program because of the many cultural experiences it has shown me. Being one of the only Americans in the lab, I have gotten to know people from China, Romania, India, and France. I’ve always wanted to go abroad, but my undergraduate schedule never allowed it. I will graduate this May, and I am thankful that I’ve been allowed to meet so many different cultures without crossing any oceans.

 

LIZ EDWARDS

Edwards

My name is Liz Edwards and I am a senior music education major. I am working with a member of the Texas Tech Voice faculty and Voice Alliance, Dr. Kathryn Barnes-Burroughs. Over the last year we worked on a pilot study to find out the attitudes toward technology on the Classical Voice Studio. Our survey covered concentrations of voice teaching on the East and West Coast of the United States. We presented our study and our results at the 35th Annual Voice Symposium in Philadelphia for feedback, and hope to administer a full, revised survey around the United States. Our pilot study found that many teachers were interested but unknowledgeable about new hardware and software that is available for the modern studio. Based on these findings we decided to continue our research in the area of Voice Technology. Because many college classes are now offered online, we would like to find out the effectiveness of a voice lesson taught over the internet. We plan test weather or not technology is advanced enough to allow this type of long-distance class, and also to see if teachers and students are willing to use the technology. We are also studying the scientific and health reasoning behind vocal warm-up.

The experience I have had through the Undergraduate Research Program has been amazing. I have been able to work with experts in the fields of voice research while also exploring new lines of research in voice science and up-and-coming voice technology. With the Texas Tech Voice Alliance, I had the opportunity to present our research in front of experts and other researchers interested in the furthering of voice technology. This experience, as well as many others, will benefit me as a future choir director and voice teacher. I have gained and strengthened skills that can not be taught in the classroom and will value what I have learned throughout my further education and future teaching.

 

AMY WALDEN

Walden

My name is Amy Walden and I am a senior Music Education major.  Unlike some of the other participants, after my first year of being in the program, I have switched teachers.  Last year I worked with Mr. Keith Dye and a program called iChat.  Our research involved using the program to teach private instrumental lessons to junior high students at a different location than where we were and testing its effectiveness.  This year, I will be working with Dr. Susan Brumfield, and will be focusing more on children’s games and songs.  Dr. Brumfield has done extensive research on the songs and games of children from various countries.  She has written a book containing songs and games from England, which I will be helping to proof-read, and is currently working on collecting research on Italian songs and games, which I will also be involved with.

The Undergraduate Research Fellowship has been a beneficial part of my college experience.  It has allowed me to work in the field in which I plan to make a career and to learn about different aspects of the music education world.  It has also helped in my own class work, teaching me time management skills and new research methods.  The program has also given me the opportunity to work with some amazing faculty in the School of Music, and a chance to know them on a different level outside of the normal classroom setting.  Participating in Student Research Days is also a great chance to practice presentation skills in a more formal and academic arena.  I no longer fear having to give formal presentations through my experience in the program.  The Undergraduate Research Fellowship has showed me that you really can have fun and learn at the same time.

 

DIANE MASHBURN

Mashburn

My name is Diane Mashburn and I am pursuing a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Agriculture.  Since fall of 2005, I have been working with Dr. Chad Davis in the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications Department.  We have been working on looking into how the Texas Cooperative Extension county agents relate with the newspaper media in the northwest districts of Texas.  County agents work with the public everyday offering new information on agriculture, family and consumer science, and 4-H and youth development.  One of the most important lines of communication with the general public about their services is the local newspaper.  All the information we have gathered through our research has given us the resources to create training modules that will assist county agents in improving their media relations skills. 

Over the last year, I have gained many skills that I will take with me into graduate school as well as in my career.  I will be able to use our conclusions to improve relations and my ability to work with the newspaper media.  From being involved with the Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, I have already been looked upon as a promising candidate for graduate school, and I have not even applied!  Graduate schools love to hear about students that are interested in research, especially when they have undergraduate experience.  The URF Program is great for any student looking into graduate school or to just enrich their college experience. 

 

ELIZABETH BARNES

1

I am currently pursuing a degree in History and a minor in Russian language. For the past year I have been fortunate enough to have been able to work under the guidance of Dr. Aliza Wong in the History Department on a research project on the Holocaust. I focused on the very controversial historiographical debate about how and why the Holocaust occurred. I analyzed the dual roles of ideology and the “functional” role the genocide played the Nazi strategic plan. I have looked at some of the newest research published in the last ten years as well as primary documents in an attempt to determine the series of decisions and steps taken by the Nazi leadership that resulted in genocide. My attempt was to emphasize how easily the combination of racism in a political party platform can spiral into murder when that platform becomes policy.

            This opportunity has afforded me the chance to present research in the field I plan to pursue in graduate school at several conferences. This fellowship will also be a huge bolster to my resume and application to graduate school. I have also gained invaluable lessons about research methodology that will serve me both in graduate school and in my professional career. I owe a debt of gratitude to both Dr. Wong and the Honors College for allowing me this opportunity.

 

WILL WALLER

1

Why are child-care providers among the lowest paid workers in America? Why are all the babysitters you remember from your childhood female? What started the recent “metrosexuality” trend or is it really that recent? My name is Will Waller and these are some of the questions I have looked at as a research fellow for Dr. Julie Willett, Associate Professor of History. Two years ago I began working with Dr. Willett trying to sift out some information on the male role in child care. Since that time, my role in the research has expanded with my interest in the topic. I have listened to oral histories, read through legal cases and tried to track down both primary and secondary sources all in an attempt to help Dr. Willett give a voice to the people who give so much to our children. This search has led me to some interesting and very contemporary topics such as “metrosexuality” while giving me some insight into the predominantly female field of child-care provider.  

I would recommend the Honors Undergraduate Research program to anyone who wants to take learning beyond the classroom or has plans to pursue graduate studies. Besides the obvious benefits of great pay and another line on my resume, I love having a job where I am encouraged to always put my college coursework first. The greatest benefit, however, is the relationship that develops with your research mentor. It is priceless to get to hear first hand what it was like going through the graduate school process and what a career in academia is truly like. Advice and encouragement and the skills necessary to find new research topics, complete a literature review and how to cite everything, are just a few of the things I will take away from the Undergraduate Research Program.