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Katherine Avery

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:26
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Computer ScienceResearch Mentor: Dr. Amy McGovernDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Artificial neural networks (ANNs) are an effective tool for automatically locating bird roosts using radar. NEXt generation weather RADars (NEXRAD) are designed to collect data on weather, but they also pick up information on moving, airborne objects, including birds. NEXRAD helps ecologists to detect bird roost location, but this data is tedious to process manually. Therefore, ANNs detected the roosts automatically from a NEXRAD image dataset of purple martin and tree swallow roosts in the eastern U.S. Four types of radar field images, including reflectivity, velocity, Rho HV, and Zdr, were useful for finding roosts. The ANN achieved an accuracy, true positive rate, and true negative rate of around 80 percent each, showing that this method has potential as a tool for roost detection. Convolutional neural networks (CNNs), a type of ANN, were found to perform better than the traditional ANNs, achieving an accuracy, true positive rate, and true negative rate of over 90 percent each.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

Even if you’re intimidated by reaching out to people, do it anyway because they often surprise you. I sent Dr. McGovern a cold email during first semester of my freshman year and asked if I could join her lab. I hadn’t met her before, but I saw her on the computer science faculty page, and I thought that her work looked interesting. Unexpectedly, she said yes, and I started doing research with her right away.

Awards and/or presentations:

Awards: Goldwater Scholarship Honorable Mention; National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) Collegiate Award Honorable Mention;

Conferences: 98th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society; Austin, TX; 7-11 January 2018; funded by the University of Oklahoma; National Conference of Undergraduate Research; Edmond, OK; 4-7 April 2018; funded by NSF (through LSAMP) Undergraduate Research Day; Norman, OK; 7 April 2018; Curiosity to Creativity Symposium; Norman, OK; 25 April 2018.

Published Work:

Avery, K., 2018: Automated Detection of Bird Roosts Using NEXRAD Radar Data and Artificial Neural Networks. Honor’s thesis, The University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK.

Chilson, C., K. Avery, A. McGovern, E. Bridge, D. Sheldon, and J. Kelly, 2018: Automated Detection of Bird Roosts Using NEXRAD Radar Data and Convolutional Neural Networks. Remote Sensing and Ecology and Conservation, submitted.

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Emily Hays

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:22
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: ArchitectureResearch Mentor: Dr. Angela PersonDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

McMansions are the embodiment of capitalism's limitless consumption. These, in a maze of suburban streets, came to represent the "American Dream." This ideal has serious implications in US societies, on environments, and on individual health. Social and economic divides were established or reinforced by suburbanization. This lack of diversity has led to unfair stigmas applied to groups of people which has increased racism and xenophobia. With no regulations at the start of suburbanization and not enough in place now, homes are built using chemicals and compounds which poison the occupants. While lead and asbestos are now banned, many chemicals are still in use which are proven to or show a strong correlation to the degradation of human health. This is not to mention the sourcing of these materials and the damage it does to the environment and the people of that region. The building sector is one of the largest consumers and polluters in the US.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

With any major project, research or otherwise, the best thing you can do is start early. I always set weekly goals, but you should work with whatever schedule suits you best. If you can work on something a little bit all the time, you will accomplish your goal with no huge stress at the end. This will also allow you to have periodic checks by professors and peers to ensure quality and clarity.

Awards and/or presentations:

Hays, Emily. "McMansions & Urban Sprawl." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK.

Published Work:

n/a

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Emily Eix

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:19
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: MicrobiologyResearch Mentor: Marc LibaultDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

The ability for plants to grow under drought conditions is becoming increasingly important. As climate change leads to more frequent occurrence of droughts, crops must be able to withstand these conditions. Sorghum, in addition to being a major food crop in the U.S., is adapted to grow in water-limited areas, and is therefore a good model for studying drought-tolerant phenotypes. The root system is specialized in the uptake of water, so we characterized morphological root traits important in the ability of a plant to adapt to drought conditions. We studied these traits by crossing drought-resistant and drought-susceptible sorghum parental lines to create recombinant lines with a mixture of these traits. Using these recombinants, we evaluated changes to the root system in response to both drought and well-watered conditions. These phenotypic adaptations to drought stress can be linked to specific genes and used to create drought-tolerant crops.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

Throughout my time working on this project, the most important thing I have learned is how to figure out solutions when things don't go as expected. While it can be frustrating, some of the best learning comes from figuring out a different approach when something doesn't work the first time. I would say that any undergraduates interested in research should seek out any opportunities to get involved, as it is a valuable learning experience and a good way to figure out your interests.

Awards and/or presentations:

At the Spring 2018 Curiosity to Creativity Symposium, my poster received the Broader Impact award.

Published Work:

n/a

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Emily Mee

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:17
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Political Science, co-enrolled in an accelerated Masters of Public AdministrationResearch Mentor: Dr. Ana Bracic, Dr. Cindy Simon RosenthalDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Research suggests that women and men legislators differ in their framing of policy issues. In studies comparing attitudes and vocabulary usage, women tended to conceptualize policy issues differently than their male colleagues. Kathlene Lyn designed an experiment testing this theory, finding that women and men legislators in Colorado considered the origins of and solutions to crime differently. Through my research, I hoped to test the generalizability of this study, by applying this hypothesis to the topic of economic opportunity through the policy issue of payday-loans. Based on existing evidence, I hypothesized that women legislators would refer to economic issues from a contextual standpoint, in this case using situational words to describe the high number of payday-loan borrowers. In contrast, I hypothesize that male legislators use language more instrumental in nature; alluding to the idea that people are autonomous individuals responsible for their own successes and failures.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

My experiences with this research project opened me up to a new set of skills and experiences that I know will be valuable when applying for graduate school. I would advise students to get started on a research project as early as possible in your academic career. Figure out what you're passionate about, and find a mentor in your field.

Awards and/or presentations:

Presented at NCUR 2018, and at Curiosity 2 Creativity 2018 Spring Symposium, Received "Best Broadest Impact" award

Published Work:

n/a

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Courtney Geller

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:12
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Studio ArtResearch Mentor: Todd Stewart/Robert BaileyDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Fieldworks is an initiative of the School of Visual Arts at the University of Oklahoma that blends research and teaching in an ongoing artistic and art-historical exploration of land use and interpretation in the deserts of the western United States. Open-ended, collaborative, and transdisciplinary, its participants engage in fieldwork that results in creative, scholarly, and pedagogical outcomes, including exhibitions, publications, and events that explore the changing relationship between humanity and the planet. Among its core elements is a biannual two-week excursion into the field that brings the School’s faculty, students, and staff together to explore a central thematic. For the 2013 Road to Ruscha project, this meant retracing the path that the artist Ed Ruscha traveled to create his seminal 1963 artist’s book Twentysix Gasoline Stations. In 2015, a second group traveled throughout the Sonoran, Mojave, and Great Basin Deserts to investigate earthworks such as...

Awards and/or presentations:

Geller, Courtney. "Fieldworks: An Artistic and Art Historical Exploration of Land use and Interpretation." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Rose Marinaro

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:08
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Chemical EngineeringResearch Mentor: Angela PersonDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Poster presentation of research produced during "Environment and Society," situating an object of concern (Dams) at the intersections of environment and society.

Awards and/or presentations:

Marinaro, Rose. "What’s the Dam Problem?." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Camille Schlemme

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 15:05
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Environmental SustainabilityResearch Mentor: Angela PersonDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

"Environment and Society," situating an object of concern (The Risks and Hazards Associated With The Production And Use of Concrete) at the intersections of environment and society

Awards and/or presentations:

Schlemme, Camille. "The Risks and Hazards Associated With The Production And Use of Concrete." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Ben Whipkey

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:59
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: BiologyResearch Mentor: Elizabeth BergeyDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

The Tiger Snail (Anguispira alternata) is an eastern land snail that extends into northeastern Oklahoma. Beyond this range, a large disjunct population occurs in the central Oklahoma (Cleveland and McClain Counties). We assessed possible mechanisms for long-distance dispersal, using timed searches of preferred habitats in woodlands in 19 counties extending westward from the eastern Oklahoma range limit. No snails were found in between historical and disjunct populations. However, empty shells were found in Bryan County (southcentral Oklahoma), washed up along the shoreline of Lake Texoma. These shells originated in the Washita River drainage and were carried downstream to Lake Texoma during floods – indicating that the disjunct population is widely spread (e.g., possibly in Garvin County). Because snails move slowly, the lack of tiger snails between the known and disjunct sites indicates movement via human activities, such as the transport by firewood or the plant trade, rather than...

Awards and/or presentations:

Whipkey, Ben. "Long distance travel - at a snails pace." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Elizabeth Van Swearingen

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 14:55
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Spanish/Modern Languages, Literature, and LinguisticsResearch Mentor: Julie WardDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

I analyze a theatrical piece done by Perla de la Rosa that is called "Antígona: las voces que incendian el desierto". This work addresses the violence against the women in Ciudad Juárez, México. According to her text and other articles, I conclude that she adapted Antigone from Sophocles in order to draw attention to the idea that not only is the violence against women a problem, but also that the government is aiding and abetting this violence by denying the women their due justice. I also suggest a solution for the violence, according to Perla de la Rosa's work and related articles.

Awards and/or presentations:

Van Swearingen, Elizabeth. "Antígona en Juárez: Perla de la Rosa y las culpables por la violencia." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Kooper Taylor

Spotlight Feed - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 16:11
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: SpanishResearch Mentor: Julie WardDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

My research aim is to investigate the representation of femicide in various films and theatrical productions. Femicide is the term used to refer to the period of brutal violence towards women in Juarez, Mexico from 1993 to the early 2000s. Since that time, it has received significant international attention and has become the inspiration of many cinematographic and literary pieces. In order to investigate its representation in contemporary works, I analyzed a selection of documentaries, fiction films, and plays in order to see how each author attempts to convey the topic as well as highlight any underlying messages in relation.

Awards and/or presentations:

Taylor, Kooper. "Representation and Criticism of Femicide in Contemporary Film and Theatre." Curiosity to Creativity Spring Symposium, 25 April 2018, Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Daniel Hayden

Spotlight Feed - Wed, 05/30/2018 - 00:23
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Plant BiologyResearch Mentor: Dr. Laura BartleyDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

Plants maintain a beneficial symbiosis between their roots and mycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhizal fungi influence nutrient uptake in plants while increasing tolerance to environmental stresses. I research mycorrhiza in cereal crops, that are critical for producing food, feed, fiber, and chemicals. These uses stem from the high biomass yield of cereal crops which is due to their cell wall, a complex structure containing sugar chains surrounding the cell. Grasses, including cereals, contain an abundance of the compound Ferulic Acid (FA) that crosslinks sugar chains of the cell wall and increase cell wall integrity. Besides decreasing the sugars released from the cell wall, FA crosslinks could act as a physical barrier to mycorrhizal fungi and reducing FA may increase mycorrhizal colonization. Understanding mycorrhiza in cereals might lead to higher efficiency in nutrient uptake and help cereal crops better survive environmental stresses that are becoming more apparent through climate change.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

I would say to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. When it comes to research, there will be many opportunities that require you to step up and take charge of your path. It’s always better to try new things than look back and regret that you didn’t attempt anything new. Coming in as a freshman, I wanted to just do work for my lab at OU and stay there all the time. Then opportunities presented themselves and next thing I knew I was researching at the University of Arizona then a year later, abroad at Cambridge University in England. When it comes to these opportunities in research, they often always yield good results and provide you a great life experience. Undergraduate research provides you the flexibility to find what you’re passionate about and what you want to pursue in graduate school or in industry. Thus, this is the perfect time to try new things and learn more about yourself. Always believe that you can achieve your goals and trust the process.

Awards and/or presentations:

Udall Scholarship

Daniel Hayden, Dr. Uta Paszkowski, and Dr. Laura Bartley. “Altering Cell Wall Components Increases Beneficial Fungal Colonization in Rice Roots”. Poster Presentation. Curiosity to Creativity Symposium. Norman, OK.

Daniel Hayden, Dr. Uta Paszkowski, and Dr. Laura Bartley. “Rice Cell Wall Components Alter Fungal Symbiont Colonization”. Oral Presentation. National Council on Undergraduate Research Conference. Edmond, OK

Daniel Hayden, Dr. Uta Paszkowski, and Dr. Laura Bartley. “Rice Cell Wall Components Alter Fungal Symbiont Colonization”. Oral Presentation. McNair Research Conference. Denton, TX

Daniel Hayden, Dr. Uta Paszkowski, and Dr. Laura Bartley. “Rice Cell Wall Components Alter Fungal Symbiont Colonization”. Oral Presentation. McNair Heartland Conference. Kansas City, MO

Daniel Hayden, David Thomas, and Dr. Laura Bartley “Cell Wall Alterations in Root Emergence and Implications for Fungal Symbiosis”. Poster Presentation. University of Oklahoma Creativity Symposium. Norman, OK

Daniel Hayden, Liz Bowman, Shuzo Oita, Dr. Betsy Arnold. “The Effects of Fire on Ectomycorrhizal Communities of Pinus ponderosa in the Santa Catalina Mountains”. Poster Presentation. OK-LSAMP 22nd Annual Research Symposium. Stillwater, OK

Published Work:

n/a

Sarah Miles

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:38
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: HistoryResearch Mentor: Dr. Sandie HolguinDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

In a paper I wrote for my senior History Capstone class, I explored the failure of the Mississippi women's suffrage movement around the turn of the 20th century. My project, an approximately 30 page paper, utilized primary and secondary sources on the women involved in the suffrage movement in Mississippi and the Mississippi Women's Suffrage Association itself. Though the movement was ultimately a failure-- Mississippi did not ratify the 19th Amendment until 1984-- I believe that this lack of success is still a salient part of Mississippi's history and of southern suffrage history more broadly.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

As I came to this topic without much prior knowledge of early American history, this was a project which truly stretched my abilities, forcing me to question and reconsider my assumptions to fit the evidence I found. My intention was originally to research Southern suffrage movements in the United States before the Civil War, only to discover that there were almost no active suffragists in the South in this period! I had to revise my project to fit with this evidence. Throughout this project, I was confused by new evidence, discovered primary sources which forced me to change my thesis, and worked hard to make sure that I was analyzing the evidence, not choosing evidence to fit my analysis. Historical research forces the researcher to do this sort of critical analysis which is extremely useful for a multitude of tasks and occupations.

Awards and/or presentations:

n/a

Published Work:

Miles, Sarah. OU Historical Journal 5 (Spring 2016). http://history.ou.edu/journal-2016

Benjamin Ignac

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:33
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: GeographyResearch Mentor: Dr. Renee McPherson, Aparna BamzaiDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

In collaboration with the South Central Climate Science Center and the Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability I was conducting a research study titled “Climate Change in the Mind of a College Student - A Survey of Climate Change Perceptions at OU”.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

I learned how OU students are generally more concerned about climate change than the general US adult population. I also learned that religiousness of political affiliation does have an effect on a student's view on climate change.

Awards and/or presentations:

n/a

Published Work:

I am currently finishing a manuscript that I will submit to the journal Climatic Change.

Laura Kincaide

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:24
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: Economics, LettersResearch Mentor: Dr. Robin Grier, Dr. Janet WardDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

My main research focus is international development and comparative economic systems, and I specifically look at the development of post Soviet states and their relationships with Western Europe. I completed a year-long research project under the mentorship of Dr. Robin Grier as a part of the McNair Scholars. In my paper I compare the use of a monetary regime called a Currency Board Arrangement (CBA) in Estonia and Lithuania after regaining independence in 1991, analyzing motives for initial CBA adoption, the impact of the CBAs on restructuring, cultural and political factors contributing to adherence to CBA regulations, and the influence the CBAs had on alignment with Western integration as evidenced by EU membership and EU adoption.In an unrelated project, I wrote a paper on the influence of Christianity on the White Rose, a student led resistance program against the Nazis that originated at the University of Munich in 1942.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

The most important thing I learned during my research experience is the importance of having a good working relationship with your faculty mentor. Occasionally you will run into roadblocks or slumps in your research, and having someone experienced and inspiring to help you find your way again is invaluable.In addition, I learned that it is impossible to completely finish a research project because there will always be more information to look through and new ideas to consider. I thought my topic was narrow at first, but quickly had to focus my essay even more to include sufficient detail to make a meaningful argument and contribution. In the end, it is important to remember that your work does not end with one project. Even now that I am done with my paper I keep finding things that relate to my research and that I hope to work on in the future. I highly recommend that everyone who is interested become involved in undergraduate research. In addition to learning more than you can imagine, contributing to your field is extremely fulfilling and exciting, and will undoubtedly change the course of your career.

Awards and/or presentations:

I presented my CBA research at the 2014 McNair Heartland Research Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

Published Work:

Kincaide, Laura. “Religion and Resistance: An Analysis on the Influence of Christianity on the White Rose Resistance Movement."

Tara Rodgers

Spotlight Feed - Tue, 05/29/2018 - 15:12
Undergraduate Spotlight

OU Major: GeographyResearch Mentor: Mark ShaferDescribe your undergraduate research or creative project:

I worked with the Gulf Coast Joint Venture in Lafayette, LA through a research opportunity with the Southern Climate Impact Planning Program (SCIPP). I examined the weather effects on wintering waterfowl habitat in the Gulf Coast region. The main goal of my research was to identify indices that would be able to help predict the acreage of flooded habitat each year. My initial research only focused on the coast of Texas, but I'm currently expanding my research to encompass the whole Gulf Coast region. I initially found that some drought indices were significant, but I would like to see if that would differ in another part of the Gulf Coast. This particular project combined a variety of climatic and weather indices to help determine the most significant index. The overall experience was a great one. I moved to Lafayette, LA, and experienced a different state for a little bit. It was really nice to also work in a government building, and see how possibly working for the government might feel. The people there were really nice, and walked me through any road blocks I might have come across in my research. SCIPP was also a tremendous resource as they guided me to what would benefit me the most through this research process.

Explain what you learned or give advice to fellow students:

I learned a lot about climatic data, and how to compile it into a form that is easier to understand. I also learned how to collaborate with people that are in different fields of discipline than I am. Finally, I learned how to present my work, and organize it so that it made sense to people that had no idea what my research consisted of.Students that might be interested in doing research should have an open mind about projects, and different subjects other than their current field. I learned a lot about a field that I was not necessarily interest in, and it provided me an experience that I would not have normally had.

Awards and/or presentations:

I have presented my work as a poster at the 2014 Southwest Association of American Geographers in Albuquerque, NM. I also presented my work at as an oral presentation at the 2015 The American Meteorological Society Conference in Phoenix, AZ. I will also present my research again at the Association of American Geographers in April in Chicago, IL.

Published Work:

n/a

Courtney Geller

Spotlight Feed - Wed, 05/16/2018 - 15:33

Rose Marinaro

Spotlight Feed - Wed, 05/16/2018 - 15:30

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