10 CISER Scholars Receive Research AwardsWritten by Toni Salama
MORE THAN 50 UNDERGRADUATE researchers, faculty mentors, administrators and other scholars converged at TTU last month for the Fifth Annual Scholar Research Forum. The Forum is supported by CISER, the Center for Integration of STEM Education & Research, and exists to to give undergraduate researchers from a variety of disciplines an environment in which they can present the research they conduct at Texas Tech University and the TTU Health Sciences Center.
THIS IS NO TYPICAL conference, where researchers report findings only to others in their field. On the contrary, because of its interdisciplinary nature, the Annual Scholar Research Forum brings together students from diverse fields in a presentation setting that encourages questions and discussion from scholars in other branches of academic endeavor.
"I'VE ALWAYS CONSIDERED these students an elite group," said ROMAN TARABAN, Professor, TTU Integrated Scholar, and Associate Chair of the Department of Psychological Sciences, who has organized and conducted the Forum since its inception. The Forum inspires them all to be even more productive, Taraban said, in the sense that the discussions inform further research.
JULIE ISOM, CISER Associate Program Director of Research, noted that researchers, particularly those in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) need to develop their ability to engage the interest of people from all walks of life.
ONE TTU UNDERGRADUATE researcher known for his gift in doing just that—inspiring curiosity about scientific wonders—was the late Christopher Rodriguez. Rodriguez's research on drought tolerance of plants in far West Texas was cut short in October 2012 when he died after injuries sustained in a traffic accident. His enthusiasm for the research project lived on, however, through the determination of his fellow undergraduate researchers to complete the work in his honor.
AND SO IT WAS that this year's CISER Scholar Research Forum reached its high point with the announcement of the inaugural Christopher Rodriguez Research Presentation Award. The award is funded this year by Rodriguez's parents Chris and Vickie Rodriguez, who were on hand to give the award, and his sister Meagan Sovine.
Recipients of the 2015 Christopher Rodriguez Research Presentation Award:
Marisol Alonzo, Educational Sciences
Evaluating the Television Show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood as a Video-based Model to Teach Social Skills to Children with Autism
Mentor: Dr. Wesley H. Dotson
Rachel Dziuk, Biological Sciences and Medicine
Terminally Differentiated Sertoli Cells Reinitiate Proliferation After Loss of Cell-Cell Contact
Mentors: Jannette M. Dufour and Gurvinder Kaur
Joshua Hernandez, Physics and Technology
Operation Counter Attack: An Offensive Approach to Cybersecurity
Mentors: Dr. Venkata N. Inukollu and Dr. Joseph E. Urban
Dalia Martinez-Marin, Biological Sciences and Medicine
PEDF Induces the Migration, Differentiation and Phagocytic Activity of Macrophages
Mentor: Dr. Stephanie Filleur
Marilyn Mathew, Biological Sciences and Ecology
Phylogeny of Bats of Genus Monophyllus: A Study of Genetic and Morphological Divergence Based On Mitochondrial Cytochrome-b Gene
Mentor: Dr. Robert Baker
Belinda Pacheco, Chemistry
Novel Processing Techniques for Post-Nuclear Detonation Debris Using Ammonium Bifluoride
(Belinda Pacheco1, Chris Leibman1, Michael Rearick2, Kirk Weisbrod3)
Los Alamos National Lab: 1C-CDE, 2EES-14, 3AET-5
Mentor: Dr. Louisa Hope-Weeks
Christopher Ponce, Biological Sciences and Medicine
Vitamin D Regulates Cholesterol Metabolism and Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation
Mentor: Dr. Shaikh Rahman
Gage Rowden, Biological Sciences and Medicine
Functional Amyloids: A Link between Yeast Reproduction and Mammalian Fertilization
Mentor: Dr. Gail Cornwall
Whitney Watson, Biological Sciences and Ecology
Using Genomic and Bioinformatics Techniques to Determine the Origin and Phylogenetic Distribution of the Zonadhesin Gene in Rodentia
Mentor: Dr. Robert D. Bradley
Maksym Zhelyenznyakov, Physics and Technology
Searching for Low Mass Dark Matter Halo Counterparts to Ultra-Compact High-Velocity Clouds in the Local Group
Mentors: Dr. David Sand and Dr. Elisa Toloba
A COMPLETE DIRECTORY of the undergraduate researchers making presentations at the Fifth Annual Scholar Research Forum is available in this PDF document.