University News

WIU 2015 Undergraduate Research Day Winners

April 16, 2015

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MACOMB, IL - - The Western Illinois University Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day, "A Celebration of Research," was held Wednesday, April 15 at the University Union.

During the annual event, WIU President Jack Thomas offered welcoming remarks praising students for their sound research, innovations and creative activities, as well as presented certificates of achievement to each poster presenter with WIU Provost Ken Hawkinson.

Helm, WIU professor emeritus and former Centennial Honors College director, who was responsible for establishing the event, spoke and briefly traced the history of the program and stressed the importance of research in undergraduate education.

The day concluded with a keynote address given by Ryan Gordon, physics assistant professor. Gordon, a WIU alumnus who earned his bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics in 2005 from Western and his doctorate in condensed physics matter at Iowa State University in 2011, discussed a myriad of research opportunities available to students.

"Undergraduate Research Day is one of Western's signature events," said Rick Hardy, director of the Centennial Honors College." We were pleased with the significant levels of participation and sophistication by our students, faculty and staff."

Poster Winners
First Place—Shealyn Ashby, senior (Pekin, IL), with Chairperson Stacy Betz, communication sciences and disorders: "Determining Appropriate Guidelines for Eliciting Child Language Samples"

Second Place—Sophia Caban, senior (Chicago, IL), with Assistant Professor Catherine Miller-Hunt, biology: "Surveillance of Aedes Mosquitoes in Western Illinois: Detection of Aedes triseriatus in a La Crosse Endemic Region and New Distribution Records for Aedes japonicus, an Invasive Species"

Third Place—Nicholas Breslin, junior (Galesburg, IL), with Assistant Professor Saisudha Mallur and Associate Professor P. K. Babu, physics: "Effect of Semiconducting Nanoparticles on the Optical Band Gap of Lead-Borate Glasses"

Podium Winners
First Place—Bette Dunn, senior (Macomb, IL), with Professor Susan Czechowski, art: "Apt. 3: A BFA Exhibition"

Second Place—Curtis Howd, junior (Metamora, IL), with Instructor Graber, philosophy: "Intrigue, Nostalgia, and the Nature of Aesthetic Response"

Third Place—Kirsten Belisle, senior (Roscoe, IL), with Professor Jennifer McNabb, history: "Mary, Queen of Scots: Trials and Tribulations"

Performance Winners
First Place—Tuesdai Perry, senior (Gary, IN), with Assistant Professor Rachel Chaves, theatre: "Embracing the Madness: On Directing George C. Wolfe's 'The Colored Museum'"

Second Place—Hannah Porter, senior (Macomb, IL), with Professor James Stegall and Professor Paul Paccione, music: "'Unpretentious as the Wild Rose': The Life of the American Female Composer, Carrie Jacobs-Bond"

Third Place—Charles Evans, senior (Saint Peters, MO), and Eli Roth, senior (Oro Valley, AZ), with Assistant Professor Anita Hardeman, music: "Marini's Early 17th Century Violin Mixed Tape"

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 2015 Undergraduate Research Day, visit and select "Honors Sponsored Events."

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