A group of students standing in front of the Bryant Museum.

Undergraduate Students Honored for Outstanding Research

The Randall Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award Program honored 22 students from a variety of majors for their exceptional research efforts at the Capstone.  

Faculty and staff research directors nominated students based on their significant research efforts. The students honored were selected by a panel of UA research faculty and past recipients of the Burnum Distinguished Faculty Award and were recognized during a luncheon this month.

Riley Nold received the H. Pettus Randall Jr. Endowed Scholarship this year, which is awarded to the highest vote recipient who is a junior in the Randall Research Scholars Program.

Nold is a physics/mathematics major whose research focus is the prediction and realization of atomically ordered spintronic Heusler alloys. 

Riley Nold and UA President Dr. Stuart Bell.
UA President Dr. Stuart Bell with Riley Nold.

2024 Winners

Brent Christian
Major: math, computer science       
Research Topic: Nonlocal transport in layered media: role of interface of heterogeneities
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Mojdeh Rasoulzadeh

Cole Christie
Major: computer engineering, physics         
Research Topic: Fractional-order capacitor analysis and design
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Todd Freeborn

Isabella Concannon                 
Major: biochemistry
Research Topic: Biochemical characterization of the extracellular matrix of glioblastoma organoids
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. John Kim

Taryn Crone   
Major: psychology, human development and family studies      
Research Topic: The development of children’s creativity
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Ansley Gilpin

Fiona Gill          
Major: management information systems 
Research Topic: Investigating #BookTok: platforms, cultural production and traditional publishing
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Jessica Maddox

Jenna Hartzler              
Major: biology                 
Research Topic: Linking mild traumatic brain injury and depressive-like behavior — the role of the blood-brain barrier
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Ryan Earley

Sarah Hathcock          
Major: microbiology  
Research Topic: Blood-brain barrier disruption during disease and novel insights into therapeutic drug delivery to the brain
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Brandon Kim

Rachel Lane  
Major: chemical engineering, philosophy  
Research Topic: The ompact of incorporating RGD peptide in hyaluronic acid hydrogels on the behavior of brain metastatic breast cancer cells
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Shreyas Rao

Sofia Luna       
Major: chemical engineering               
Research Topic: The impact of matrix stiffness on the drug response of brain metastatic breast cancer spheroids
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Shreyas Rao

Julia Mamana                
Major: biology, communication studies     
Research Topic: Blood-brain barrier dysfunction by coxsackievirus
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Brandon Kim

Mary Elizabeth Martin            
Major: chemical engineering               
Research Topic: Synthesis and characterization of rare-earth containing zeolites and zeolite-supported metal phthalocyanines
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. James Harris

Jackson Maxwell
Major: chemistry, mathematics
Research Topic: Reliable predictions of the energetics of stable carbenes, reactive radicals, and actinide fluorides
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. David Dixon

Gabe Miller
Major: chemical engineering
Research Topic: Oxidation of cyclohexane over metal nitrogen-doped carbons and zeolite-supported metal phthalocyanines
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. James Harris

Jenny Nguyen
Major: biology
Research Topic: Global health issues in Thailand and Alabama — a focus on adolescents, seniors, food security, health disparities, and exploration of common challenges and solutions
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Lisa Pawloski

Riley Nold
Major: physics, mathematics
Research Topic: Prediction and realization of atomically ordered spintronic Heusler alloys
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Adam Hauser

Blake Peeples
Major: psychology
Research Topic: Culturally sensitive measurement of knowledge and attitudes toward the queer community in health care and workplace settings
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Allen

Julia Ray
Major: communicative disorders, French
Research Topic: The bilingual advantage in children across a continuum of proficiency
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Luca Campanelli

Kali Rhodes
Major: athletic training
Research Topic: Biomechanics of head impacts in collegiate football
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Ryan Moran

Morgan Sharbaugh
Major: marine science/biology, chemistry
Research Topic: Factors influencing sedimentation and sediment biogeochemistry in natural and restored coastal wetlands along the Mississippi-Alabama Gulf Coast
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Julia Cherry

Christian Stephens 
Major: psychology; criminal justice
Research Topic: Forensic evaluators’ considerations of contextual information sources in competence to stand trial cases
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Jennifer Cox

Rilyn Todd
Major: interdisciplinary studies
Research Topic: Sustainable extraction of metals from Ti3C2Tx MXene synthesis residuals using membrane technology
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Mostafa Dadashi Firouzjaei

Michael Zengel
Major: physics, mathematics
Research Topic: First-principles calculations of the structural and electronic landscape of the Heusler alloy material system
Nominator/Research Mentor: Dr. Adam Hauser


Jennifer Brady, UA Strategic Communications, jennifer.brady@ua.edu