University News

WIU 2014 Undergraduate Research Day Student Winners

April 17, 2014

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MACOMB, IL – Nine students earned awards at the Western Illinois University Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day, Wednesday, April 16. Sponsored by the Centennial Honors College, the daylong event, an annual "Celebration of Research, Scholarship and Creativity," was held in the University Union and featured students' research in poster, podium and performance sessions.

Winners include of the 2014 of the Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day include:

Poster Winners

  • First Place—Brian Knecht, senior (Macomb, IL), with Professor Leslie Melim, geology: "Stable Isotope Analysis of Pool Finger Fabrics from Cottonwood Cave and Hidden Cave, Lincoln National Forest, New Mexico"
  • Second Place—Nicholas Stewart, senior (Chicago, IL) with Associate Professor Redina Herman, meteorology: "The Effects of the Bishop Hill Illinois Wind Farm on Near-Surface Wind Patterns"
  • Third Place—Chris Corzatt, senior (Camp Point, IL), with Assistant Professor Mark Bernards, agriculture: "Cover Crop Response to Corn and Soybean Residual Herbicides"

Podium Winners

  • First Place—Jamey Garth, senior (Lake Villa, IL), with Assistant Professor Jonathan Day, political science: "Applying Game Theory to Interrogation Situations"
  • Second Place—Hannah Van Eendenburg, senior (Bloomington, MN), with Professor Heather McIlvaine-Newsad, sociology and anthropology: "Food Alienation: Distributors, Producers and Consumers in Macomb, Illinois"
  • Third Place—Mikaela Simmons, senior (Illinois City, IL), with Associate Professor Brian Locke, music: "As Fertilizing to an Artist as Life Itself: Musical and Artistic Connections in Erik Satie's Parade"

Performance Winners

  • First Place—Jillian Escobar, freshman (Hanover Park, IL), with Professor Tammie Walker, music: "A Study of Un Sospiro by Franz Liszt (1811-1886)"
  • Second Place—Benjamin Rogers, freshman (Savanna, IL), with Professor James Stegall, music: "A Comparative Analysis of Two Art Songs Set to Paul Verlaine's Les donneurs de serenades"
  • Third Place—Katie Kaminskas, senior (Downers Grove, IL) with Professor Candace Winters-March, theatre and dance: "Longing For"

"Western's Undergraduate Research Day enables us to showcase our brightest and most talented students," said Rick Hardy, director of the Centennial Honors College. "We continue to be amazed by the breadth and sophistication our undergraduate students."

President Jack Thomas spoke at the event and emphasized the importance of research and praised the students and their faculty mentors for their meritorious projects. Additionally, Thomas and Provost Ken Hawkinson presented certificates of achievement to each poster presenter.

This year's keynote speaker was Anne Millen, a 2008 honors graduate of Western and an assistant scientist at DuPont Nutrition and Health in Madison (WI). In her address, "Reflections from an Early Career Scientist," Millen discussed her undergraduate research as a biology major and how it served as a springboard to her current position.

The winners received awards supported by the WIU Foundation. The provost and vice president for academic services established the prizes, which are supported by the deans of the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, College of Business and Technology and the College of Fine Arts and Communication and University Libraries.

To view the abstracts of the 2014 Undergraduate Research Day, visit and select "Honors Sponsored Events."

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