Undergraduate and graduate Research Days winners announced

· 6 min read

Undergraduate and graduate Research Days winners announced

Summer Undergraduate Research Fair poster session in the Nebraska Union Ballroom. August 7, 2018.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing

On March 28-29, 2023, the Office of Graduate Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, as well as the Office of Research and Economic Development held the 2023 Student Research Days Poster Sessions and Creative Exhibitions.

More than 130 graduate students and 200 undergraduate students participated in these sessions in addition to a week-long celebration of student research and creative activity. Graduate students who were awarded competitive prizes for their scholarship and presentation skills received $400.00 toward travel grants to present their research regionally or nationally as well as support other research costs. Undergraduates were awarded prizes valued at $250.00 sponsored by their academic colleges. Additionally, five undergraduate students were recognized by the University Honors Program for their research.

Nearly 100 faculty, postdoc and graduate student volunteer judges met with students during morning and afternoon sessions and evaluated their presentations.

Graduate awards

• Sahar Beigzadeh (Lincoln, studying mechanical and materials engineering), “Quantification of the Microstructure of Additively Manufactured Parts Utilizing Local Orientation Image Analysis,” adviser: Jeffrey Shield

• Renca Dunn (Omaha, studying communication studies), “Deaf or Death: The Impact of the Pandemic and Communication Barriers,” adviser: Jordan Soliz

• Molly Goldberg (Omaha, studying child, youth and family studies), “A Validation Study of the Assessing Classroom Sociocultural Equity Scale (ACSES) in Pre-Kindergarten to Third Grade Classrooms,” adviser: Greg Welch

• Madelina Homberger Cordia (Medford, Oregon, studying history), “’Drama, Hysteria, Crying’: Contested Media Representations of Mexican Futboleras Surrounding the Unofficial 1970 and 1971 Women’s World Cups,” adviser: James Garza

• Scott Hootman-Ng (Stamford, Connecticut, studying mathematics), “Neumann Boundary Conditions for Nonlocal Models,” adviser: Petronela Radu

• Janella Kang (South Korea, studying human sciences), “Sex Trafficking Awareness and Perspectives Among High School Students in the Midwest,” adviser: Rochelle Dalla

• Trevor Kauer (Leadore, Idaho, studying communication studies) and Cassidy Taladay (Lincoln, studying communication studies), “Frontline Healthcare Worker COVID Stories: Assessing Psychosocial Well-Being via Narrative Methods,” adviser: Jody Koenig Kellas

• Jesse Kuebler (Brookings, South Dakota, studying mechanical and materials engineering), “Role of Processing and Molecular Characteristics on Crystallization of Poly(3-hexylthiophene),” adviser: Lucia Fernandes Ballester

• Brandi Pessman (Fulton, Illinois, studying biological sciences), “Urbanization Affects Web Aggregation and Placement of a Funnel Weaver, Agelenopsis pennsylvanica,” adviser: Eileen Hebets

• Erika Petro Turnquist (Phoenix, Arizona, studying biological sciences), “Adenoviral-Vectored Epigraph Vaccine Induces Robust, Durable, and Protective Immunity Against H3 Influenza A Virus in Swine,” adviser: Eric Weaver

• Arjun Subedi (Nepal, studying physics and astronomy), “A Model for Electronic Phase Transition of cofe2o4 and nico2o4 Thin Film Surfaces: Temperature Dependent X-Ray Photoemission Studies of cofe2o4 and nico2o4 Thin Films,” adviser: Peter Dowben

• Sebastian Toalson (Lincoln, studying architecture), “Transportation and The Workplace: How Do They Intersect?,” adviser: Jeremy Reding

Undergraduate college awards

Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

  • Katie Bathke (Dixon, Nebraska, studying plant biology in the Honors Program), “Economic and Input-Use Efficiency Impacts of Nitrogen Management Techniques in Non-Irrigated Maize Production,” adviser: Joe Luck


  • Makena Ninete (Elkhorn, Nebraska, studying interior design) and Collin Shearman (Leavenworth, Kansas, studying interior design), “Biophilic Design and Interior Materiality,” adviser: Kendra Ordia

Arts and Sciences

  • Alyssa Simpson (Kingston, Jamaica, studying physics), “Application of Ferroelectricity to Photovoltaics,” adviser: Xia Hong

  • Abbey Bowers (Lincoln, studying physics), “Structural Changes of Annealed Scandium Ferric Oxides,” adviser: Xiaoshan Xu

  • Grace Heath (Lincoln, studying women and gender studies and nutrition and health sciences), “Black, Breathing, and Free: Legal Strategies of Black Women During the Antebellum Era,” adviser: Katrina Jagodinsky and the Digital Legal Research Lab

  • Camden Jones (Omaha, studying biochemistry in the Honors Program), “Investigation into the Potential Role of the Monomeric Transcription Factor, Rv1830, in Mtb,” adviser: Limei Zhang

  • Himanshu Gandhi (Omaha, studying microbiology in the Honors Program), “Predicting Microbial Community Colonization of the Mucosal Layer,” adviser: Jennifer Auchtung

  • Marissa Mendez-Santiago (Lincoln, studying biochemistry), “Identifying the Effects of Linoleic Acid on Mitochondrial Function in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae,” adviser:Wayne Riekhof, teammate: Angela Le (Lincoln)


  • Victoria Diersen (Brookings, South Dakota, studying economics in the Honors Program), “The Indian Gaming Regulation Act and Economic Development on Reservations,” adviser: Mitch Herian

  • Jessica Chen (Lincoln, studying computer science and economics in the Honors Program), “Social Capital and Innovation,” adviser: Mitch Herian

Education and Human Sciences

  • Michelle Barbot (Long Beach, California, studying nutrition science), “Concussion History Is Associated with Structural Differences in the Brain in Collegiate Athletes,” adviser: Douglas Schultz


  • Ry Steffen (Lincoln, studying biological systems engineering), “Characterizing Sex-Based Behavioral Differences Based on Treatment Window in Nanoparticle Treated Mouse Models of Traumatic Brain Injury,” adviser: Forrest Kievit

  • Emily Stratman (Omaha, studying biological systems engineering), “First-Year Engineering Students’ Metacognitive Strategies Demonstrated Through Weekly Reflection Over the Span of One Semester,” adviser: Heidi Diefes-Dux

  • Andrea Goertzen (Fort Collins, Colorado, studying chemical engineering), “Systems-Level Modeling Illustrates Metabolic Landscape of Diseases,” adviser: Rajib Saha

  • Jarod Harris (Seward, Nebraska, studying chemical engineering) and Taylor Adams (Omaha, studying chemical engineering), “The Effect of Polymer Properties on Carbon Dioxide Absorbance Capacity of Supported Ionic Liquid Membranes,” adviser: Mona Bavarian

  • Divsirat Singh (India, studying computer science), “Misinformation of Health Related Data Using R,” adviser: Bryan Wang

Fine and Performing Arts

  • Nate Petsche (Ankeny, Iowa, studying Vocal Performance), “Musical Theatre Scenes - Constructing a Canon,” adviser: Bill Shomos
Undergraduate Honors awards

• Best Communication — This award recognizes an honors student researcher who displayed the best communication skills in sharing their research: Lauren Kasparek (Waverly, Nebraska, studying computer science), “Natural Language Processing and Structural Similarity,” adviser: Qiuming Yao

• Interdisciplinarity — This award recognizes an honors student researcher who made the best use of interdisciplinary approaches and/or methods: Katie Bathke (Dixon, Nebraska, studying plant biology), “Economic and Input-Use Efficiency Impacts of Nitrogen Management Techniques in Non-Irrigated Maize Production,” adviser: Joe Luck

• Long-Term Contributions to the Field — This award recognizes an honors student researcher whose work displayed the most potential for significant long-term contributions to the discipline of study: Reed Rohr (Highlands Ranch, Colorado, studying biochemistry), “Rodent Stabilin-2/HARE is a Clearance Receptor for Unfractionated Heparin,” adviser: Edward Harris

• Most Original — This award recognizes an honors student researcher whose research question or approach to answering the research question displayed the most originality: Nathan Roberts (Bellevue, Nebraska, studying computer engineering and electrical engineering), “How Paul Cezanne Can Improve Learning Generalizable Representations in Deep Vision Models,” adviser: Mohammad Hasan

• Real-World Impact — This award recognizes an honors student researcher whose work displays the most significant and immediate potential for real-world impact: Emma Farson (Papillion, Nebraska, studying biological sciences and psychology), “Undergraduate and Graduate Student Wellness at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Current Trends and Future Directions,” adviser: Constance Boehm

Recent News