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Student researchers from the University of Missouri-St. Louis present at Capitol

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Kelly Wiemann

April 04, 2017

Legislators learn about diverse student research conducted at all four UM System campuses

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Forty-two students representing the four campuses of the University of Missouri System participated in Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol today. The annual event gives students an opportunity to share with state elected officials the wide variety of undergraduate research and innovations taking place across the university system.  

“As the state’s only public research university, our students are provided unique opportunities to work alongside our talented faculty to conduct cutting-edge and groundbreaking research on our four campuses every day,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “These experiences, which range from science to medicine to the humanities, help to prepare our students for graduate and professional studies at prominent universities as well as careers in leading industries.”

The student researchers were selected in a competitive process to present their projects to Missouri’s elected officials. Among the 42 participants, two students represented the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

  • Michael Austin is a senior studying biology at UMSL. His presentation titled, “FlyQ: Testing Evolved Intelligence Across Multiple Contexts,” was completed under the guidance of Aimee Dunlap, assistant professor of biology. Michael is the son of Marianne Austin and William Austin of Wildwood.
  • Chris Summers is a senior studying social work at UMSL. Her presentation titled, “Missouri’s Need for an inclusive Nondiscrimination Act,” was completed with direction from Courtney McDermott, assistant teaching professor and assistant director of field work for the department of social work. Chris is the spouse of Rob Summers of Fenton.

In addition to UMSL students, 21 students from the University of Missouri-Columbia, 12 students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and seven from Missouri University of Science and Technology represented the UM System. Each student had the opportunity to visit with their hometown legislators.

“Student engagement in research projects with faculty members at each of our campuses is a staple of the undergraduate academic experience and enhances student outcomes,” Bob Schwartz, interim UM System vice president for academic affairs, research and economic development said. “The experience exposes students to the wonders and possibilities of research and innovation, and helps develop them as future scientists and entrepreneurs whose discoveries could result in new technologies and businesses, and improve the quality of life for Missourians.”

Students highlighted the broad spectrum of research conducted at across the UM System’s four campuses including research in the areas of education, health, agriculture, biotechnology, transportation and infrastructure, social services and economic development.

The UM System is one of the nation’s largest public research and doctoral level institutions with more nearly 76,000 students on four campuses.