135 students receive stipends for summer research projects

· 11 min read

135 students receive stipends for summer research projects

Jessica Corman (center), assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources, discusses a rock teaming with aquatic life with students Matthew Chen and Kayla Vondracek during a UCARE project on the Niobrara River in July 2019.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Jessica Corman (center), assistant professor in the School of Natural Resources, discusses a rock teaming with aquatic life with students Matthew Chen and Kayla Vondracek during a UCARE project on the Niobrara River in July 2019.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has awarded stipends to 135 undergraduates to participate in research with a faculty mentor this summer.

Nebraska’s Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience (UCARE) Program supports undergraduates to work with faculty mentors in research or creative activities. Students receive stipends of $2,400 to engage in intensive research or creative activity for 20 hours per week. The students’ projects span academic disciplines including engineering, chemistry, modern languages and literatures, psychology, art and art history, architecture, special education, and fisheries and wildlife.

The students also will have opportunities to participate in the Big Ten Academic Alliance’s Graduate Education Discovery Program. In August, students from the Nebraska Summer Research Program and UCARE students will present posters on their research and creative activities at a virtual campus research symposium. Learn more about undergraduate research at Nebraska.

Following is a list of students by hometown who received summer UCARE awards, with their academic major(s) and project title.



  • Sophi Sanchez, psychology, “A Mixed-Methods Investigation of Young People’s Communication with Health Care Providers about Sexual Wellbeing.”


  • Vanessa Larsen, classics and religious studies, “An Interactive, Multimedia eBook on Ancient Drama.”


  • Ethan Boerner, architectural studies, “FACT_Book.”
  • NaKeysha Olson, psychology, “Socioeconomic Status, Family Structure and Persistence in Second Graders.”
  • Logan Pettit, mechanical engineering, “Minichannel Flow-Boiling Heat Transfer Enhancement Using Metallic Surfaces Functionalized with a Femtosecond Laser.”


  • Kaylen Michaelis, English, “George Elliot Archive.”


  • Jacob Sorensen, biochemistry, “Chemical Map of the Secondary Structure of 7SK RNA and Identification of the Optimal Conditions in which the Structure is Formed.”


  • Jesse Osborn, physics and mathematics, “Validation and Further Development of 2019 Multivariate Analysis in the ARA Experiment.”
  • Chelsey Wisehart, psychology and communication studies, “Professional Teamwork and Family Court Outcomes in Domestic Violence Court.”


  • Chandler Brock, biological systems engineering, “Drug Treatment Coupled with X-Ray Irradiation to Determine Cancer Cell Kill.”


  • Cynthia Lopez, pre-health, “Perception of Medical Experience.”


  • Josh Allen, mechanical engineering, “Exploring Laminar-to-Turbulent Transition.”


  • Alexandria Richardson, biological systems engineering, “In Vitro Characterization of Antioxidant-Encapsulated Chondroitin-Sulfate Microparticles to Treat Low Back Pain.”

Fort Calhoun:

  • Katie Hoffman, biochemistry, “Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor’s Effect on Anti-Mullerian Hormone Levels within Conditional Knockout and Control Mice.”


  • Claire Kubicek, speech-language pathology, “Reading and Writing Profiles of Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”


  • Salma Silva, psychology, “Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West.”


  • Justin Frandsen, psychology, “An Examination of the Ternus Illusion in a Virtual Reality Paradigm.”

Grand Island:

  • Enrique Martinez, art, “Drawing from Memory, Watercolor on Paper.”


  • Cameron Hucke, nutritional science and dietetics, “Identifying Barriers and Implementing Solutions to Healthy Eating Among College-Aged Students.”
  • Andrew Malesker, classical languages, “An Interactive, Multimedia eBook on Ancient Drama.”


  • David Campbell, biochemistry and chemistry, “Knocking out Genes Required for DNA Repair in Plant Mitochondria with CRISPR.”


  • Carter Bracht, biochemistry, “An Analysis of the Behaviors Utilized by Physicians and (Pre)Medical Students to Cope with Stress.”


  • Cole Kovarik, global studies, Spanish and political science, “Explaining Variations in Legal Mobilization at the European Court of Human Rights.”
  • Mathias Schulte, biochemistry, “Benefits of Microbials at the Rhizosphere of Maize.”

La Vista:

  • Haley DeWitt, biological sciences, “Using an Environmental Toxin Model to Understand Mitochondrial Uncoupling Mechanisms and Conceptualize Neurodegenerative Diseases.”


  • Taher Ahmed, software engineering, “A Machine Learning-Based Software Application for Improving Performance in Large Undergraduate Classes.”
  • Anna Allen, mechanical engineering, “Multi-Harmonic Vibration Mitigation Through the Exploitation of Structural Instability.”
  • Kristina Amato, fisheries and wildlife, “Trait-Mediated Effects of Non-Consumptive Predation on Daphnia dentifera.”
  • Marusha Ather, chemical engineering, “Understanding the Variability in Speech Perception in Cochlear Implant Users Using Neuroimaging.”
  • Alexander Batelaan, chemistry and mathematics, “Designing Stable RNA Aptamers.”
  • Richard Batelaan, music and physics, “Sound Propagation in a Virtual and Augmented Classroom.”
  • Alexander Belashchenko, microbiology and biochemistry, “Functional Analysis of Enzymes Involved in D-Amino Acid Biosynthesis in Mycobacteria as Targets for Potential Therapeutics.”
  • Garrett Brockman, mechanical engineering, “Optimization of 3D Printing Parameters for Semicrystaline Polymers.”
  • Emma Chesley, fisheries and wildlife, “Herpetofauna Survey for Conservation Determinations at Wagon Tongue Creek Preserve.”
  • Benjamin Downing, microbiology, “Using Artificial MicroRNAs to Prevent Virus Infection in Plants.”
  • Weston Ellerbrake, architectural studies, “Steven Holl’s Agency in Art.”
  • Ally Hall, emerging media arts, “Story, Worlds, Speculative Design Lab.”
  • Dominque Hyler, special education (7-12), “Working Memory.”
  • Dilziba Kizghin, biological systems engineering, “Characterization of Swimming Patterns of Vorticella, a Model Unicellular Animal for Microscale Swimmers.”
  • Rose Kottwitz, English, “Advancing the George Eliot Archive.”
  • Ellen Kratzer, English, graphic design and classical languages, “Didaskalia.”
  • Jordan Malzer, women’s and gender studies, and sociology, “Feminist Perceptive on Pornography: Comparing ’80s Sex War to Current Opinion.”
  • Josiah Morgan, emerging media arts, “Dancers in Space.”
  • Brigid Moynihan, criminology and criminal justice, “Professional Teamwork and Family Court Outcomes in Domestic Violence Court.”
  • Ikhklaas Mungloo, biological systems engineering, “Investigation of the Relationship Between Intercellular Adhesive Junctions and Diseases.”
  • Jonah Payne, music, “The Acculturation of Steel Pans into Western Music.”
  • Pooja Rajeev, civil engineering, “Evaluating Bridge Scour in Nebraska.”
  • Cameron Ramsey, computer science and mathematics, “An Interactive, Multimedia eBook on Ancient Drama.”
  • Parker Reil, emerging media arts, “Story, Worlds, Speculative Design Lab.”
  • Fateh Sandhu, computer science, “A Machine Learning-Based Software Application for Improving Performance in Large Undergraduate Classes.”
  • Kenny Shuman, science (7-12), “Cataloguing Instructors’ Use of Data in Undergraduate Introductory STEM Education.”
  • Sam Stanley, music, “Dichotomy, Concerto for Violin and Chamber Orchestra.”
  • Jacob Stewart, biochemistry, “Copper-Dependent Regulation of Cell Proliferation Signaling Pathways.”
  • Shelby Warrick, landscape architecture, “Prairie States Shelterbelt Archive.”
  • Madison Whitney, global studies and environmental studies, “The Impact of Environmental Advocacy Between the Daasanach Community and NGOs.”
  • Olena Yarmolyuk, architectural studies, “Design for Decline.”


  • Chloe Strong, speech-language pathology, “Speech-Language Pathologists’ Current Practices for Facilitating Skill Generalization Among School-Age Students Who Stutter.”

North Platte:

  • Erica Schufeldt, microbiology, “Using Artificial MicroRNAs to Prevent Virus Infection in Plants.”


  • Tomo Bessho, mathematics and computer science, “Controlling Search Algorithms via Visualizations.”
  • Eylon Caplan, physics, “Identification of Animals with Deep Neural Networks.”
  • Zachary Cheek, music and economics, “Marijuana Markets and Tax Revenue.”
  • Grace de Laittre, graphic design, “Design Thinking for Addiction Communication.”
  • Ben Franco, mechanical engineering and music, “Reduced-Order Modeling of Bolted Joint Loosening: Torque-Stiffness and Torque Loss Modeling.”
  • Noah Giron, graphic design, “Studio Assistant in Drawing and Design.”
  • Archer Harrold, chemistry, “Analysis of Undergraduate STEM Students’ Understanding of Light Matter Interactions.”
  • Allyson Henry, chemical engineering, “Improving Brain Models for Demyelinating Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis.”
  • Tim Kaftan, biological sciences, “Functional Analysis of Enzymes Involved in D-Amino Acid Biosynthesis in Mycobacteria as Targets for Potential Therapeutics.”
  • Nicholas Kowal, fisheries and wildlife, “Nebraska’s Short-Horned Lizard Genetic Diversity, Landscape Occupancy and Population Status Assessment.”
  • Bridget Leutzinger, elementary education and special education (K-6), “Project View: Visual Impairment Education on Writing.”
  • Jana Malene, fisheries and wildlife, “Do Summer Cover Crop Fields Benefit Small Mammal Communities?”
  • Kayla Ney, biological systems engineering, “Elucidating the Interaction between Macrophages and Decellularized Tissue-Based Hydrogels for Treatment of Low Back Pain.”
  • Preston Noll, Spanish and mechanical engineering, “Energy Consumption of Wrought, As-Printed and Hybrid Additively Manufactured 420 Stainless Steel.”
  • Angel Olivera-Torres, biological systems engineering, “Cell Patterning in Micro-Fluidic Devices Combined with Micro-Contact Printing.”
  • Sam Ortgies, mechanical engineering, “Corrosion Rate of Hybrid PBF Mg Alloy WE43 Compared to Wrought Sample.”
  • Macy Rasmussen, microbiology and veterinary science, “Utilization of Fourier Transform-Infrared (FT-IR) Spectroscopy to Distinguish Salmonella Typhimurium from other Salmonella Serotypes in Veterinary Isolates.”
  • Jacob Richardson, biological systems engineering, “Differences in Nutrient Uptake and Ability to Create Surface Barrier Against Volatilization Between Species of Duckweed Within Feedlot Runoff.”
  • Gayle Rocz, dance and English, “The Complete Letters of Willa Cather.”
  • Alyssa Simpson, physics, “Fabrication of Van der Waals Heterostructures.”
  • Jacob Stover, agricultural engineering, “Influence of Agrochemical Mixtures on Treatment Wetland Ecosystems Services.”
  • Nick Swerczek, music and mechanical engineering, “Design, Construction and Analysis of a Crosswind Kite Power System.”
  • Bianca Swift, English, “Charles Chesnutt and the 21st Century American.”
  • Olivia Taylor, biological sciences, “Functional Analysis of Enzymes Involved in D-Amino Acid Biosynthesis in Mycobacteria as Targets for Potential Therapeutics.”
  • Annie Wang, emerging media arts, “Story, Worlds, Speculative Design Lab.”
  • Lauren Weis, biological sciences and psychology, “Perceived Task Load and Physiological Response to Stress in Traumatic Brain Injury.”
  • Kaitlan Wong, political science and sociology, “The Impact of History Nebraska Programs on Nebraska Legislative Districts.”
  • Benjamin Worden, chemical engineering, “Floating Treatment Wetlands to Remove Current Use Pesticides.”
  • Joshua Wortman, chemical engineering, “Metal Toxicity in the Brain.”


  • Shelby Kittle, agricultural education, “Exploring the Use of Different Beeswax Foundation to Promote the Production of Specialty Comb Honey to Yield Higher Economic Gains for Hobbyist Beekeepers.”


  • Morgan Davis, architectural studies, “Design for Decline.”


  • Caleb Wehrbein, plant biology, “Improvement of Nutritional Qualities in Non-Transgenic Sorghum Varieties.”


  • Samuel Schneider, mechanical engineering, “High Emissivity Surfaces Using Femtosecond Laser Surface Processing.”


  • Jenna Nekl, biological systems engineering, “Immunostaining and Fluorescence Imaging of Nanoparticles and Cells in the Brain.”


  • Micah Erickson, mechanized systems management, “Nitrogen Tissue Sampling.”


  • Jonathan Askey, French and biochemistry, “The Relationship between Protein Structure and Low Barrier Hydrogen Bonds.”

West Point:

  • Thomas Hugo, biochemistry, “Aggravation of High-Fat Diet-Induced Liver Damage by Mineral Deficiency.”


  • Lauryl Hebenstreit, psychology, “Genital Mutilation and Its Effects on Lincoln Refugees.”


Bakersfield, California:

  • Jessica Stump, political science and psychology, “The Globalization of Water Development Networks.”

Rosamond, California:

  • Eric Nelson, biological sciences, “Gene Localization in Caenorhabditis elegans Immune Response to Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.”

San Diego, California:

  • Madison King, pre-veterinary medicine, “Novel Approaches to Examining the Effects of Systemic Pesticides in Honey Bee Colonies.”

Colorado Springs, Colorado:

  • Trenton Tulloss, chemical engineering, “Biomimetic Multicellular Liver Model to Study the Influence of Varying Substrate Stiffnesses in Primary Hepatocyte Co-culture.”

Sarasota, Florida:

  • Kinga Aletto, fisheries and wildlife, and pre-veterinary medicine, “Bringing Awareness to Endangered Animals through Art: The Plight of the Javan Blue Banded Kingfisher.”

Island Lake, Illinois:

  • Zoe Battaglia, history, “Petitioning for Freedom: Habeas Corpus in the American West.”

Van Meter, Iowa:

  • Sarah Brody, microbiology and music, “Using and Optimizing Chemical Mapping to Contribute Toward a Comprehensive 3D RNA Model.”

Overland Park, Kansas:

  • Michaela Brown, English, “George Eliot Archive.”

Shreveport, Louisiana:

  • Gerson Uriarte, computer engineering, “Interactions with UAVs Based on UAV/Environmental Qualities.”

Eden Prairie, Minnesota:

  • Rachelle Johnson, psychology, “Motivation in Second-Grade Students with Learning Disabilities.”

Hastings, Minnesota:

  • Becca Francis, biological systems engineering, “Determination of Isocyanide Impact on Nitric Oxide Levels in S. cerevisiae Cells.”

Bismarck, North Dakota:

  • Roarick Schollmeyer, biological sciences, biochemistry and microbiology, “Investigation of the Tumor Microenvironments Effect on Glioblastoma Multiforme Progression.”

Harrisburg, South Dakota:

  • Elise Ackerman, chemistry, “Synthesis of Organic Contrast Agent for MRI.”

Sioux Falls, South Dakota:

  • Ciara Allen, architectural studies, “Architecture Hall Renovation: Experiential Learning through Direct Participation.”
  • Thomas Ripperda, biological systems engineering, “Smooth Muscle Proliferation in a Hemodynamic Environment of Atherosclerosis.”

Austin, Texas:

  • Dylan Hoppner, chemical engineering, “Inducing Increased Bioplastic Production in Rhodopseudomonas palustris CGA009.”

Wales, Wisconsin:

  • Grace Amadon, psychology, “Perceived Task Load and Physiological Response to Stress in Traumatic Brain Injury.”

Wausau, Wisconsin:

  • Ian McCue, biochemistry and microbiology, “Low-Intensity Ultrasound as a Mechanotherapy for Chronic Inflammation Attributed to Atherosclerosis.”

Yan’an, China:

  • Liyuan Zhang, mathematics, “Working Memory and Academic Achievement.”

San Jose, Costa Rica:

  • Alexa Fernandez Bravo, chemistry and geology, “Geophysical Mapping of the Bathymetric Seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Cairo, Egypt:

  • Amr Mohamed, biochemistry, “Tagging and Purifying 7SK RNP in HEK293 Cells for RNA-Protein Interaction Analysis.”

Bagli, India:

  • Theo Joseph, biological systems engineering, “Validating a Novel Index for Spatial Frequency Analysis of Human Tendons using Quantitative Ultrasound.”

Chennai, India:

  • Lenin Stephenpaul Joshua, mechanical engineering, “Predictive Dynamics in Turbulence for Energy Saving Engineering.”

Hyderabad, India:

  • Karthik Reddy Pagilla, computer science and mathematics, “Social Unrest Reconnaissance Gazetteer and Explorer.”

Indore, India:

  • Utkarsh Hardia, computer science and mathematics, “Analyzing and Mapping Human Rights Violation from Fast Data.”
  • Aniruddh Saxena, computer science, “Knowledge Base Creation from Soil Science Publications.”
  • Tanima Shrivastava, computer science and English, “Advancing the George Eliot Archive.”

Jalandhar, India:

  • Salan Preet Kaur, biological sciences, “The Role of HPV and Other DNA Tumor Viruses (DNATVs) in the Development of Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN).”

Mhow, India:

  • Sanyam Agrawal, computer science, “Knowledge Base Creation from Soil Science Publications.”

Ratlam, India:

  • Sifat Syed, computer science, “Dynamical Systems Analysis of Generative Adversarial Networks.”

Jayapura, Indonesia:

  • Aldi Airori, environmental restoration science, “The Impact of Sampling Methodology on Soil Bulk Density Measurement by the Clod Method.”

Bukit Mertajam, Malaysia:

  • Justin Ho, computer science and economics, “Human Capital Growth and Labor Market Flexibility.”

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:

  • Brandon Ee, psychology, “Heart-Rate Variability as a Predictor of Emotion Regulation and Mental Health.”
  • Joevy Sum, biological sciences, “Uncoupling the Mitochondria as a Cellular Defense Mechanism.”

Subang Jaya, Malaysia:

  • Izzat Bin Ahmad Adly, mathematics, “Using Dynamical Systems (ODEs) to Study Dynamics and Training of Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN).”
  • Kai Shen Choong, chemical engineering, “Studying the Antibacterial Activity of Polymeric Membranes against Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.”

Beshishahar, Nepal:

  • Aashish Subedi, physics, “To Examine the Tunneling Electroresistance Effects in Ferroelectric Layer of Oligomer Vinylidene Fluoride.”

Dong-gu, South Korea:

  • Hwanhee Choi, economics, “The Relationship between the Exchange Rate of Foreign Currencies and the U.S. Dollar.”

Songpa-gu, South Korea:

  • Jennie Wang, graphic design, “Gatherings: Drawings of Spirituality, Memory and Dreams.”

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