Undergraduate Symposium propels students into new opportunities

Feb 20, 2023 | Applied and Natural Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, Engineering and Science, General News, Liberal Arts, Research, Students

The 2023 Undergraduate Research and Service-Learning Symposium gave Louisiana Tech University students the opportunity to be propelled into their careers by stepping out of their comfort zones.

Every year, all five colleges come together to share the research and service-learning projects that undergraduate students have been working to complete throughout the course of their collegiate careers. From the inception of research dating back to before COVID-19 to projects that began in late 2022, 50 students and 30 faculty advisors worked diligently to find creative solutions to ongoing problems on the local and national scale.

Allissa Leggio, a senior in Kinesiology, turned a class project into a service-learning opportunity for the Ruston community after discovering that Lincoln Parish public school students only received 45 minutes of exercise activity a week. Leggio’s “Building a Healthier Community Through Collaboration,” presents various programs that could be implemented across Ruston and Lincoln Parish to improve physical activity in elementary age groups.

“The average child should be taking part in 30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day, but our public schools only allow for 45 minutes of play a week,” Leggio said. “I took our class project that analyzed this data from the parish and made it into a service-learning opportunity that could be presented to Mayor Ronny Walker for his support.”

Some students have been working towards presenting their research and service-learning projects since the beginning of their freshman year, while other students are using their projects as the bases for their senior capstone projects. Either way, the students take the knowledge learned through their years in the classroom and apply those practices to their research.

“Undergraduate research allows people to put into practice what they have been learning from their professors and advisors,” said Spencer Stelly, a senior in Chemistry. “It allows us to see what other students are working on, follow their story, and respect the hard work of your peers.”

As a part of his senior capstone, Stelly’s research on negatively charged fluorinated molecules could allow chemists to understand the effects that environmental changes can have on water supply. His poster presentation will be one of the 15 projects representing Louisiana Tech at the University of Louisiana System Academic Summit in April.

“It was really cool to present my research to others with a chemistry background who understood my research, but my favorite part of the undergraduate symposium was sharing my research with those from diverse backgrounds,” Stelly said. “It challenged me. I loved seeing the light bulb turn on in their heads as they began to understand that even though this is one project in Ruston it directly impacts their life.”

Below are the 15 students and their projects, selected by a team of judges, who will represent Louisiana Tech at the University of Louisiana System Academic Summit held at Northwestern State University, April 20-21.

Research – Oral Presentation

An Analysis of Chromatic Polynomials
Presenter: Emerson Statom
Advisors: Dr. Stacey McAdams, Dr. Galen Turner
College of Engineering and Science

The Influence of Microgravity on Adult Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Osteogenesis
Presenter: Lucas Norris
Advisors: Dr. Jamie Newman
College of Applied and Natural Sciences

Next Generation Sequencing Provides Pathogen Monitoring To Rural Communities
Presenter: Michael Foster
Advisors: Dr. Jamie Newman
College of Applied and Natural Sciences

Injury Risk Assessment of NFL Quarterbacks
Presenter: Julie Weems
Advisor: Dr. Stan McCaa
College of Engineering and Science

Advanced Wood Products Infused with Clay Nanotubes for Strength, Flame Resistance, and Mold Resistance
Presenter: Akeena Obaze
Advisors: Dr. Yuri Lvov
College of Engineering and Science

Atomistic Study of the Plastic Behavior in Complex Concentrated Alloys
Presenter: Sam Dinnat
Advisor: Dr. Xiang Chen
College of Engineering and Science

Research – Poster Presentation

Role of the Notch Signaling Pathway and Conditioned Media in Human Adipose-Derived Stem Cells
Presenters: Kate Horton, Olivia Hubbard, Suraj Patel, Isabella Redman
Advisor: Dr. Jamie Newman
College of Applied and Natural Sciences

Investigation of the Effect of Solvent and Concentration of Fluorinated Anions Encapsulated by Cyanostar using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
Presenter: Spencer Stelly
Advisors: Dr. Elisabeth Fatila
College of Engineering and Science

Genome Sequencing for SARS-CoV-2 Surveillance and Future Applications
Presenters: Madeline Robison, Logan Escalon, Kristin Jackson
Advisors: Dr. Jamie Newman
College of Applied and Natural Sciences

Effect of Crystal Structure and Grain Size on the Mechanical Response of LLZO Under Load
Presenter: Nicholas Jones
Advisor: Dr. Xiang Chen
College of Engineering and Science

Dynamic Sequestration of CO2
Presenter: Stuti Khatiwada
Advisors: Dr. Sudhir Amritphale, Dr. John Mathhews
College of Engineering and Science

Service-Learning Presentation

Building a Healthier Community Through Collaboration
Presenter: Allissa Leggio
Advisor: Lacey Deal
College of Education

4Paws Rescue Mission
Presenters: Alyssa McReynolds, Ella Avery, Heather Nutt, Cameron Hunter
Advisor: Brittany Beck
College of Business

How Health Literacy Affects Healthcare
Presenter: Adele Boudreaux
Advisor: Joanna Ward
College of Applied and Natural Sciences

Relevant Primary Sources: Insight on the Revolutionary War Through General Israel Shreve’s Personal Letters
Presenter: Lauren Shirley
Advisor: Dr. Elaine Thompson
College of Liberal Arts

Does an Ambassador Peer Mentorship Program Assist in Stress Reduction and Student Retention in an Undergraduate Associate Degree Nursing Program?
Presenters: Sarah Caldwell, Blake Everett, Cait Goforth, Kara Hodges, Jessica Novak
Advisors: Dewanna Blake, Brittany Killins
College of Applied and Natural Sciences