Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Winners Honored

  • April 16th, 2021
A room of people viewed from above as they examine research poster presentations.
The 2021 UA Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference.

This year’s winners of the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference at The University of Alabama highlight the ingenuity and dedication of those who rigorously pursued research and creative avenues outside the classroom.

The premier research event to highlight undergraduate research at UA spurs interest in research among undergraduate students and helps students polish their communication skills. The winners of the 14th annual conference, hosted by the Office for Undergraduate Research, include:

Presentation Category: Arts & Humanities

First Place Completed Research: Samantha A. Hoffman (Biological Sciences). Mentors: Laura Reed, Chinmay Rele. “Analyzing the evolutionary rate of wrd in connection to its position in the insulin signaling pathway.”

First Place Work in Progress: Kyler Durrence (Theatre and Dance). Mentor: Lawrence Jackson. “Modus Dance Methodology.”

Presentation Category: Business

First Place Completed Research: Ashton Royal (Management). Mentor: Theresa Welbourne. “Diversity Catalyzing Solutions: The Impact of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) on COVID-19 Crisis”

First Place Work in Progress: Catherine Besand (Marketing). Mentor: Stacey Robinson. “What’s In It For The Untitler: An Exploration of The Impact of Untitling Women.”

Second Place Work in Progress: Jonathan Oakley Prell (Information Systems, Statistics and Management Science) Mentor: Burcu Keskin. “Illicit Wildlife Trade: Network Interdiction.”

Presentation Category: Computer Science, MIS, Cybersecurity and Statistics

First Place Completed Research: Utkarsh Singh, Stephen Gregory (Computer Science). Mentor: Jeff Gray. “A Computer Vision Pipeline for Automatic Large-Scale Inventory Tracking.”

First Place Work in Progress: Utkarsh Singh (Computer Science). Mentor: Chris Crawford. “AvaFlow: Learning to Design Intelligent Virtual Agents through Flow-Based Programming.”

Presentation Category: Education

First Place Completed Research: Hallie Ruffin (Human Development and Family Studies). Mentors: Nahide Gungordu, Maria HernandezReif. “The Family Interaction Project: Correlations Between the Home Environment and Young Children’s Sleep, Cortisol Stress Hormone Levels and Empathy.”

First Place Work in Progress: Madelyn Armstrong (Psychology). Mentors: Cailee Nelson, Laura Morett. “The effect of transitioning to online classes on students with and without Autism Spectrum Disorder.”

Presentation Category: Engineering, Transportation and Energy

First Place Completed Research: Oreoluwa Agede (Chemical and Biological Engineering). Mentor: Amanda Koh. “Studying the effects of electrolytes and initiators on Poly-HIPE foams.”

First Place Work in Progress: Josh Perch (Chemical and Biological Engineering). Mentor: James Harris. “Synthesis and Characterization of Metal Catalysts for Selective Oxidation Reactions.”

Presentation Category: Health Sciences

First Place Completed Research: Alegna Contreras (Management). Mentor: Lingyan Kong. “Inhibitory Effect of Lipid Guest Compounds on the in vitro Digestion of Starch.”

Second Place Completed Research: Aly Gutierrez (Biological Sciences). Mentor: Lingyan Kong. “Inhibition of Carbohydrate Digesting and Metabolic Enzymes by Food Antioxidants.”

First Place Work in Progress: Abby Foes, Savannah Walker (Biological Sciences, Chemistry). Mentor: Ayanjeet Ghosh. “Evaluating Chemical Heterogeneities of Amyloid Aggregates in Alzheimer’s Disease Tissues with Infrared Microscopy.”

Second Place Work in Progress: Jonathan Parrish, Nicole White, Lacey Ryan (Biological Sciences). Mentors: Nathan Culmer, Todd Smith. “Analyzing the Effectiveness of Implementing Mental Health Screenings in Dental Related Practices.”

Presentation Category: Life Sciences, Mathematics and Water

First Place Completed Research: Caroline Terry (Biological Sciences). Mentor: Ryan Earley. “A Computer Vision Pipeline for Automatic Large-Scale Inventory Tracking.”

Second Place Completed Research: Madison Knapp (Biological Sciences). Mentors: Carla Atkinson, Megan Kubala. “Effects of Mussel Physical Activity on N-Removal Potential.”

First Place Work in Progress: Ashley White (Biological Sciences). Mentors: Ryan Earley. “Learning mechanisms underlying winner-loser effects.”

Second Place Work in Progress: Brian Kmiecik, Ava Horvat (Biological Sciences). Mentor: Stanislava Chtarbanova. “Development of a standardized Wolbachia testing procedure for Drosophila melanogaster.”

Third Place Work in Progress: Gabrielle Humber (). Mentor: Brandon Kim. “MicroRNA regulation in the human blood-brain barrier during bacterial meningitis.”

Presentation Category: Physical Sciences

First Place Completed Research: Isabella Dugas (Physics and Astronomy). Mentor: Preethi Nair. “Occurrences of Active Galactic Nuclei in Close Galaxy Pairs.”

First Place Work in Progress:  Nathan Silvey (Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics). Mentor: Marcos Santander. “Characterizing the Long-Term behavior of Gamma-Ray Blazars Using the Fermi-LAT Space Telescope.”

Presentation Category: Social Sciences

First Place Completed Research: Emily R. McKenzie (Archeology Research). Mentor: Elliot Blair. “For “Wood” Measure: Exploring the Applicability of Elemental Analysis in the Study of Charred Wood.”

Second Place Completed Research: Turner Koch (Political Science). Mentor: Daniel Levine. “Climate Change in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: A Structural-Liberal Analysis of Pathways to Cooperation and Crisis Management.”

First Place Work in Progress: John (Jack) Kappelman (Political Science). Mentor: Richard Fording. “COVID-19 and Sky-Rocketing Gun Sales.”

Second Place Work in Progress: Caroline Watson (Human Development and Family Studies). Mentor: Mengya Xia. “Influence of Technology-Based Engagement Versus Active Engagement of Adolescent’s Parents and the Influence on Parent-Child Relationship Quality: A Pilot Study.”

Presentation Category: Creative Activity

1st place for the Virtual Creative Showcase: Austin Phillips, Christian Hatcher, Annalese Starzec (Theatre and Dance). Mentor: Stacy Alley.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.