Record-Breaking Number of UK Students to Attend National Conference on Undergraduate Research

By Natalie Riney

(April 6, 2016) — A recording-breaking 88 University of Kentucky undergraduates have been selected to present their research projects at the 2016 National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) this week.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, this year’s conference will bring young researchers from around the world to the University of North Carolina Asheville April 7-9 where the students will share their research findings through poster and oral presentations. Each student will be given the opportunity to discuss their display and share their research results, illuminating how their work will have an impact on future research development.

“NCUR 2016 will be the second largest conference attended since its beginning in 1968,” said Bessie Guerrant, associate director of UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research and NCUR board member. “The University of Kentucky has been an active participant since the mid 90s.”

“Many students come to UK with a preconceived notion of what it means to do research, which often centers on laboratory work,” said Diane Snow, director of UK Undergraduate Research. “However, once they get involved, they find out research spans all disciplines and majors, and includes a wide variety of activities.”

Stephen Parsons, a UK computer science and international studies double major, is one of the many UK students heading to NCUR this week. Parsons will present his research in analyzing and understanding the structure of video games to determine how new digital tools used for studying literature may be applied to the study of video games. His research suggests that past scholars’ methods are too narrow, but the use of his new methods will help raise various questions reflecting on the understanding of the narratives.

“Attending NCUR to present the results of their research projects gives students an opportunity to talk with others from across the country who share their interests, and greatly expands their ideas about what’s possible,” Snow said. “The friends and colleagues they make at NCUR often become part of a professional network they can rely on throughout their careers.”

Julia Vandra, a UK biology major, is attending NCUR to present her discoveries in how certain active cells have an effect on the influence of obesity. The outcomes of this study will support future research to identify therapeutic targets to prevent and treat obesity-induced inflammation.

“Working with Dr. Smyth and Dr. Brandon in the UK Gill Heart Institute has provided me with incredible opportunities to pursue my creative and scientific ambitions, to present at local and national conferences, and to become a well-rounded undergraduate researcher,” Vandra said. “It has amplified my love for science and my appreciation for how new knowledge is discovered and how important these discoveries are.”

“NCUR is a time for our students to sharpen their presentation skills and meet new peers and faculty working in all disciplines,” said Evie Russell, assistant director of Undergraduate Research. “These students represent the best of our best. I’m so very proud of each one of them.”

The UK students attending NCUR 2016 include:

  • Orchid Abushanab
  • Shelby Albers          
  • Sara Assef
  • Grant Austin 
  • Cody Barnes
  • Thaiiesha Beard     
  • Mallory Bickett         
  • Keven Bloomfield   
  • Abigail Boone         
  • Alex Bugg
  • James Burke
  • Tyler Butsch 
  • Millicent Cahoon    
  • Ethan Cardwell       
  • Cameron Colvard   
  • Elizabeth Combs    
  • Alyssa Conley
  • Ambre Cooper
  • Kelly Corrigan         
  • Catherine Crawford
  • Miranda Cruse
  • Meredith Davis        
  • Alison DiGennaro   
  • Teagan Dolan         
  • Logan Douglas
  • Sabita Dumre          
  • Corrine Elliott          
  • Jonathan Elliott       
  • Elizabeth Fox          
  • Joelene Goh
  • Elaisy Gonzalez      
  • Vincent Gouge        
  • Richard Grewelle   
  • Emily Griggs
  • Brittany Guido
  • Stephanie Hacker  
  • Charles Harpole     
  • Maddisson Hatton  
  • Karl Hempel
  • Kayla Hicks  
  • Kaylee Hicks
  • J Jerry aromczyk     
  • Aqeel Jawahir         
  • Kennedy Karem      
  • Josephine Kim        
  • Sirah Kolstedt          
  • Amir Kucharski        
  • Hannah Latta          
  • James Lewis
  • Jamie Love  
  • Leigh Lytle   
  • Hannah Maddox     
  • Elise McConnell     
  • Trevor McNary
  • Patrick Montgomery           
  • Samantha Moore    
  • Aaron Mueller
  • Leona Nease          
  • Shannon Newberry
  • Richard Oden          
  • Fallon Olexa
  • Aya Omar     
  • Stephen Parsons
  • Hayden Pike
  • Ashley Pittman        
  • Rachel Potter          
  • Taylor Robinson     
  • Abby Schroering     
  • Landon Simpson    
  • Eashwar Somasundaram 
  • Amanda Spence     
  • Ashley  Stevens      
  • Emory Thomas        
  • Ethan Toney
  • Anna Townsend     
  • Henry Uradu
  • Olivia Utley
  • Julia Vandra
  • Alexandra Wade     
  • Sarah Wagner         
  • Natalie Watkins       
  • Callista Whorf
  • Mollie Williams        
  • Kalin Wilson
  • Evan Winrich           
  • Georgie Wolbert     
  • Alonna Wright         
  • Harrison Yates   

The UK Office of Undergraduate Research is part of the Academy for Undergraduate Excellence within the Division of Undergraduate Education at UK.

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