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Last updated: Saturday, 14-Mar-2009 19:10:25 Central Daylight Time

April 5, 2002


UW-RF Students Attend National Research Conference

Fifty UW-River Falls students and faculty members from all majors and departments will display posters that represent the research they have worked on at the National Council for Undergraduate Research, to be held April 25-27 at UW-Whitewater. The conference, which focuses on undergraduate research, covers all types of creative or scholarly activity.

Though the conference has been held annually for nearly 15 years, this is the first year it has been in Wisconsin. Students and faculty members from across the nation will be in attendance to share their projects.

A faculty member oversaw each student project. Assistant Professor of psychology Cyndi Kernahan, a faculty mentor for a student project, said the mentoršs job includes helping the students to develop their ideas into something testable and to point them to relevant literature.

"We help them through the internal review board process, and we help them analyze their data," Kernahan said. "Students cannot do it alone; they need some help getting through it all. Itšs nice they can present their projects because they work hard on them."

NCUR was established in 1987 as an association supportive of college and university faculty, students, and administrators that works to promote undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study. It enriches undergraduate teaching and learning by providing opportunities for students to experience firsthand the processes of scholarly exploration and discovery that characterize academic life.

The NCUR also works to assist faculty and others to understand and appreciate the goals, methods, and results of diverse areas of inquiry and ways of knowing.

The following UW-RF students will present posters on their research work:

Harsh Aggarwal, a sophomore from Woodbury, Minn., majoring in biology will present a project on placental cellular development to explain the role played by an unusual class of normal genes that are directly related to retroviruses.

Niti Aggarwal, a senior from Woodbury, Minn., majoring in biology and Casey Micale, a junior from Fort Atkinson majoring in chemistry, will present a project on synthesizing compounds similar to capsaicin, the substance in chili peppers that makes them hot, which may have the ability to render a person insensible to pain without loss of consciousness.

Jillene Beuke, a junior from Forest Lake, Minn., majoring in biology will present a project on the characterization and identification of psychrophiles, organisms that thrive at a relatively low temperature, from the Kinnickinnic River.

Scott Bollman, a senior from Rice Lake majoring in agronomy, will present a project on the growth analysis of giant chickweed in alfalfa.

Clayton Carlson, a senior from Fort Atkinson majoring in biology and Kurt Fleschner, a senior from Fond du Lac majoring in biotechnology, will present a project about DNA secondary structure and how it relates to DNA replication error rates.

Kelly Cusick, a senior from St. Paul, Minn., majoring in chemistry and Lori Kutcher, a junior from Mounds View, Minn., majoring in biology, will present a project on the effects that the compound capsaicin has on C.elegens, nematodes, or microscopic soil worms. The compound capsaicin is believed to have potential for treating chronic pain in humans.

Erin Dahlke, a senior from Edgar majoring in chemistry and Jake Vergin, a junior from Rice Lake majoring in biology, will present a project on the organic synthesis of a ten-carbon piece of the large molecule Peloruside A; in particular, a carbon-carbon bond forming reaction called metathesis.

Jennifer Firchow, a junior from Arden Hills, Minn., majoring in political science, will present a project on a college campus study related to expanding the research on D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education).

Gregory Golombeski, a senior from Morristown, Minn., majoring in animal science, will present a project on a feed additive for lactating dairy cows called "Menefeed." The additive is actually a type of peat-like soil with properties that may stimulate the cow's rumen microorganisms to digest feed more efficiently, resulting in more milk.

Jacob Hovden, a senior from Owatonna, Minn., majoring in health and human performance will present a project that compares and analyzes the National College Health Assessment Survey based on behaviors between smokers and non-smokers.

Jill Janikowski, a senior from Burnsville, Minn., majoring in psychology and Jason McLean, a senior from River Falls majoring in psychology, will present their study examining changes in an animal's preference for a large reward over a small one as the wait for the large reward increases.

Lisa Johnson, a senior from Spring Lake Park, Minn., majoring in broad area business administration, will present a project on a study of UW-RF business students that measures personality differences and college student expectations.

Peter Krohn, a senior from Wisconsin Rapids majoring in chemistry, will present a project on chemical synthesis that attempts to create new molecules resembling or mimicking capsaicin.

Emily Lombard, a senior from Shafer, Minn., majoring in physics, will present her work on characterizing the behavior of objects that are held in place with focused laser beams.

Carolyn Lovmo, a senior from Maple Grove, Minn., majoring in psychology, will present a project on the relationship between self-esteem and motivation and task evaluation.

Arriety Lowell, a junior from River Falls majoring in physics, will present a project on controlling the random motion of a magnetic pendulum.

Melissa Ludack, a senior from Ashland majoring in chemistry, will present a study on DNA polymerase activity. The enzyme DNA polymerase is what replicates DNA inside of cells. The only way to study the enzymešs replication mechanisms is to monitor its activity. Currently, the only way to do this is with radioactive molecules, but the project attempted to monitor DNA polymerase activity using UV spectroscopy.

Christa Nichols, a senior from Eden Prairie, Minn., majoring in chemistry, will present a project on a method to determine the amount of unreacted material left after the manufacturing process of a protective polymer film.

Susan Olsen, a senior from Woodville majoring in English broad area education, will present a project on the effects of the caste system in India on both males and females, focusing primarily on males.

Aida Pinero, a senior from Las Piedras, Puerto Rico, majoring in broad area business administration, will present a project on a baseline study of environmental awareness and practice among diverse businesses in Puerto Rico.

Gina Searls, a junior from North Freedom majoring in animal science, will present a project on data concerning the underlying biological cause of a muscle-cramping condition that occurs in about 5 percent of Thoroughbred horses.

Patty Speegle, a senior from Burnsville, Minn., majoring in history, will present a collaborative public history project on the chancellors of UW-River Falls.

Kara Stein, a senior from Mahtomedi, Minn., majoring in psychology, will present a project on personality changes during alcohol consumption by college students.

Joel Westfield, a senior from Ellsworth majoring in sociology, will present a project on the impact of peer pressure and its influence on adolescent sexual behavior.

Zachary Zimmer, a sophomore from Hastings, Minn., majoring in chemistry, will present a project on a technique to look for pharmaceuticals and their metabolites in bodies of water.


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