Research Tracks

A publication of the Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University

URSA honors top student research from 2014 Scholars Week


The 2014 edition of Scholars Week was one of the largest ever, with 165 students presenting the results of their independent research and scholarly activities.  The event included two days of platform presentations and two days of poster sessions where students had the chance to present their research findings to their peers.  The OVPR thanks the Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement (URSA) Steering Committee as well as students involved in Baylor Undergraduate Research in Science & Technology (BURST) for all their hard work.

This year, for the first time, the URSA Steering Committee and Baylor University Libraries presented awards for the most outstanding platform presentations.  Library staff attended each presentation and selected the most outstanding student research in four divisions: Arts and humanities, nursing, social science and STEM.

As in previous years, the top research posters in a number of departments were recognized by faculty with outstanding poster designations.  The anthropology, biology, environmental science, geology, physics and psychology & neuroscience departments, along with the Louise Herrington School of Nursing, recognized top posters presented by students mentored by their faculty.  These posters are currently on display in the walkway between the Moody and Jones libraries.  The exhibition will continue through commencement weekend, May 16 and 17.

Click “Continue Reading” to see a full list of outstanding platform presentations and posters from Scholars Week 2014.

2014 Scholars Week Outstanding Platform Presentations

Arts and Humanities

Amanda Mintz
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Clay Butler
Who’s got the power? Conversational Dominance in Same-gender Discourse

Rebecca Young
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Marie Smart
Mystical Spirituality in American Abstract Expressionism

Hayley Sharma
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Frieda Blackwell
Moratin’s Solution for Spanish Theatre Reform in the 18th Century


Abigail Pinto and Chelsea Goodman
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Shelby Garner
Identification of Student Nurses’ Perceptions of Nursing in Bengaluru India: A Photovoice Study

Social Science

Chance Coppedge
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Scott Spinks and Ms. Holly Joyner
Mercosur: Protection and Quality of Life in Argentina and Brazil

Natasha Jordan and Jacquelyn Clark
Faculty Mentor: Ms. Carol Macaulay-Jameson
Bringing Down the House: Waco Urban Renewal

Rebecca Klein
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Linda Perry and Ms. Carol Macaulay-Jameson
Metates and Starch Grains: Evidence of Maize and Seed Processing in Coryell County


Bayless Drum
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tamarah Adair
RNA-seq Reveals Changes in S. aureus Transcriptome after Blue Light Illumination

Thomas Elston
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joaquin N. Lugo
Aniracetam and Behavior

Meredith Rosenthal
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tamarah Adair
Variation in Response to Blue Light among Staphylococcus aureus Isolates

2014 Scholars Week Outstanding Posters


Tara Brynell and Jessica Hinshaw
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Sara Alexander
Risky Business? Challenges of Climate Change for the Tourism Industry in Belize


1st Place Team

Gerardo Martinez, Aaron Hopkins, Lana Joudeh, Molly Kudela and Nick Norris
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Crystal Usenko and Dr. Erika L. Abel
Comparative Toxicity of Brominated Flame Retardants in Zebrafish

2nd Place Team

Stephanie Ortiz and Jonathan Tijerina
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Crystal Usenko and Dr. Erika Abel
Effects of Brominated Flame Retardants on Neurological Development in Zebrafish

3rd Place Team

Nick Norris, Annie Janise and Molly Kudela
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Erika Abel and Dr. Crystal Usenko
Investigation of the Role of Oxidative Stress in PBDE-induced Toxicity

Honorable Mention Team

Shelby Armstrong, Sam Marshall and Shanze Zar
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Diane Hartman and Dr. Jacquelyn Duke
The Unearthing of New Antibiotics Produced by Soil Microbes

1st Place Individual

William Jones
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Tamarah Adair
The Effect of Pigmentation and Passaging on Response of S. aureus to Blue Light

2nd Place Individual

Katherine Hooker
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ryan King
NMR Reveals Effects of Alder Cover on Leaf Litter Breakdown in Alaskan Streams

3rd Place Individual

Catherine Howard
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Bill Neilson
Fibroblast-Endothelical Cell Interaction in the Heart

Environmental Science

Madison Baxter, Joel Kaufman, Marnie Hazelhurst, Cynnie Curl and Amanda Gassett
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Rebecca Sheesley
Residential Exposure to Indoor and Outdoor Volatile Organic Compounds

Stacy Sebastian
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Erica Bruce
The Development of a State Geodatabase for the Analysis of Vector-Borne Diseases


1st Place

Rebecca Davis
Faculty Mentor: Dr. William Hockaday
Burn It To The Ground: An Investigation of Geosequestered Bioxhars Using 13C NMR

2nd Place

Charlie Keracik
Faculty Mentors: Dr. Steven Driese and Dr. William Hockaday
Assessing Source Rock Potential of the Eagle Ford Shale Using Solid-State NMR

3rd Place

Hunter Allen
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Steven Driese
Depositional Environments and Petroleum Resources of the Eagle Ford Shale


Kaitlyn Drenckpohl
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Becky Spencer
Addressing the Health Needs of Somali Refugees


Blake Birmingham, Yaobiao Xia, Dmitri Voronine and Kenneth Park
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Zhenrong Zhang
Copper Phthalocyanine Thin Film Growth for Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering

Jeremy Smallwood
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Lorin Matthews
Investigation of the Photophoretic Force

Psychology & Neuroscience

Nanjing Gao and Gregory Smith
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Joaquin Lugo
Kv4.2 Knockout Mice Have Learning Deficits in the Lashley Maze

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