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Student researchers from University of Missouri-Columbia 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, 21 students represented the University of Missouri-Columbia:

  • Lindsay Beachner is a senior studying special education at MU. Her presentation titled, “Social Skills Instruction to Reduce Bullying Involvement among Middle School Youth,” was produced under the direction of mentor Chad Rose, assistant professor of special education. Beachner is the daughter of Kim and Elaine Beachner of Lee’s Summit. 
  • Alicia Brueggemann is a senior studying psychology at MU. Her presentation titled, “Integrating Physical Activity with Numeracy in the Preschool Classroom” was completed under the direction of Sara Gable, associate professor of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Alicia is the daughter of Kenny and Mary Brueggemann of Beaufort.
  • Jennifer Buehler is a senior studying special education at MU. She completed a presentation titled, “Social Skills Instruction to Reduce Bullying Involvement among Middle School Youth,” under the direction of Chad Rose, associate professor of special education. Jennifer is the daughter of Mark and Amy Buehler of Manchester.
  • Caroline Dunn is a senior studying psychology at MU. Her presentation titled, “Examining polar growth in Agrobacterium may improve understanding of growth in human pathogens,” was completed under the direction of Pamela Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences. Caroline is the daughter of Tom and Dee Dee Dunn of Houston.
  • Morgan Fryman is a senior studying mathematics at MU. She authored a paper titled, “Fibonacci: Seeable Mathematics,” under the direction of Dix H. Pettey, professor emeritus of mathematics. Morgan is the daughter of William and Brenda Fryman of Steelville.
  • James Monroe Gamble, IV, is a senior studying business administration and economics at MU. His presentation titled, “Does capital punishment have a deterrent effect?” was completed under the direction of Daniel Turban, professor of management. James is the son of Natalie and Darrell O’Bannon of Liberty.
  • Sarah Gebken is a sophomore studying biological engineering at MU. Her presentation titled, “Preparing a Genetic Engineering Technique to Bring into the Brassica Crop Plants,” was produced under the leadership of Chris Pires, professor of biological sciences. Sarah is the daughter of Geri Gebken of Florissant.
  • Caroline Gjerstad is studying health sciences at MU. Her presentation titled, “Loss of the native plasmid in Desulfovibrio vulgaris Hildenborough does not effect biofilm,” was authored under the direction of Judy Wall, curators’ professor of biochemistry. Caroline is the daughter of Michael and Deanne Gjerstad of Santa Cruz, Calif.
  • Kaydee Harper is a senior studying biological and psychological sciences at MU. Her presentation titled, “Neural communication and the modulation of voltage-gated sodium channels by FHF1B,” was produced under the direction of Lorin Milescu, assistant professor of biological sciences. Kaydee is the daughter of Jennifer Crist and Christopher Harper of Wentzville.
  • Lia Howe is studying bioengineering at MU. Her presentation titled, “3D Computational Modeling Used to Predict Joint Health,” was written under the guidance of Ferris Pfeiffer, assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery. Lia is the daughter of Rick Howe and Elaine Wallace of Lee’s Summit.
  • Minh Ma is a senior studying biochemistry at MU. Her presentation titled, “An Economical and Efficient Approach to Degrade Dioxins in the Environment,” was completed under the direction of George Stewart, chair of the Department of Veterinary Pathobiology. Ma is the daughter of Donald Dee and Loah Cochran of Fulton.
  • Kenya Phillips is studying biology at MU. Her presentation on Crown Gall disease titled, “Using Viruses as Biocontrol Against Bacterial Disease of Plants,” was completed under the direction of Pamela Brown, assistant professor of biological sciences. Kenya is the daughter of Tiana Phillips of St. Louis.
  • Annie Rusthoven is a senior studying elementary education MU. Her presentation about bullying was titled, “Social Skills Instruction to Reduce Bullying Involvement among Middle School Youth,” was completed under the guidance of Chad Rose, assistant professor of special education. Annie is the daughter of Robert and Christine Rusthoven of Hinsdale, Ill.
  • Kara Schulte is a senior studying physics and secondary education at MU. Her presentation titled, “How Motivation and Engagement Impact Math Standardized Test Scores,” was completed under the mentorship of Stephen Whitney, director of graduate studies. Kara is the daughter of Jim and Veronica Schrand of O’Fallon.
  • Emily Shaw is a senior studying nutritional sciences at MU. Her presentation titled, “The Effects of a Soy Protein-Based Diet on Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women, As Modeled by Female Rats,” was guided by mentor Pamela Hinton, associate professor and director of nutritional sciences graduate studies. Emily is the daughter of Linda and Ken Shaw of Columbia.
  • Madeline Simon is a senior studying veterinary pathology at MU. Her presentation titled, “Potential therapeutic Target for Patients Living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy,” was produced under the guidance of Christian Lorson, professor of veterinary pathobiology. Madeline is the daughter of Keith and Christine Simon of Columbia.
  • Natalie Stanton is a junior studying elementary education at MU. Her presentation, “Social Skills Instruction to Reduce Bullying Involvement among Middle School Youth,” was completed under the direction of Chad Rose, associate professor of special education. Natalie is the daughter of Ted and Tracey Stanton of St. Louis.
  • Daniel Westfall is a senior studying biology at MU. His presentation titled, “Herbivore Recruitment in Brassiceae,” was completed under the direction of Chris Pires, professor of biological sciences. Daniel is the son of William and Susan Westfall of St. Robert.
  • Brooklynn White is a senior studying biological sciences at MU. Her presentation titled, “Utilizing Tarantual and Scorpion Toxins to Understand Electrical Signaling in the Brain,” was produced under the guidance of Mirela Milescu, assistant professor of biological sciences. Brooklyn is the daughter of Wayne and Renee White of Maryville, Ill.
  • Kirsten Zemke is a senior studying special education at MU. Her presentation titled, “Social Skills to Reduce Bullying Involvement among Middle School Youth,” was completed under the direction of Chad Rose, assistant professor of special education. Kirsten is the daughter of Bill and Karen Zemke of Downer’s Grove, Ill.
  • Katie Ziegler is a senior studying history at MU. Her presentation titled, “Visualizing Abolition: A Digital History of the Suppression of the African Slave Trade,” was written under the guidance of Daniel Domingues, assistant professor of history and Linda Reeder, associate professor of history. Katie is the daughter of William and Elizabeth Ziegler of Jefferson City.

In addition to MU students, 12 students from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, seven from the Missouri University of Science and Technology and two from the University of Missouri-St. Louis 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.