University News

WIU Undergraduate Research Day Winners Announced

May 4, 2022

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MACOMB, IL – Students at Western Illinois University were honored for their research and creative accomplishments during last week's Thomas E. Helm Undergraduate Research Day. Students competed in the areas of performance, podium presentations and research poster presentations. Saide Nickels, a 2021 Physics alumna, who is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was the event's keynote speaker.

Winners of the Undergraduate Research Day include:

Performance Presentation
First Place
• Senior Music Performance and Music Composition double major Jessica Schaumberg
, of Streator, IL, with Instructor Suyeon Ko, Music-Performance – "Chen Yi: Asian Representation in Modern Music"

Podium Presentations
First Place
• Senior Law Enforcement and Justice Administration major Caden Buettner
, of LaSalle, IL, with Professor Dean Alexander, LEJA – "American Trucker Convoys: A Volatile Ticking Time Bomb"

Second Place
• Senior physics major Alaric Evans
, of Muscatine, IA, with Professor Gordon Pettit, Philosophy – "Persistence of a Person Throughout Changes in Time"

Third Place
• Senior English manor Darrin Ross
, of Kirkwood, IL, with Associate Professor Rebekah Buchanan, English – "Rethinking Rural Reform: How Modern Efforts to Aid Rural Communities Are Failing"

Poster Presentations
• First Place
Senior General Studies major Jason Olson
, of New Berlin, IL, and senior Biology major Megan Ward, of Lewistown, IL, with Professor Brian Peer, Biology; Physics Chair Kishor Kapale; and Physical Sciences Tech Assistant Shu-Hui (Kay) Tsai, Chemistry – "Development of an Environmentally Friendly Detergent Container"

• Second Place
Senior Agriculture major Kinsey Tiemann
, of La Grange, MO, with Professor Mark Bernards, Agriculture – "Planting Soybean Green: Effect of Termination Time and Supplemental Nitrogen on Soybean Yield and Weed Growth"

• Third Place
Senior Biology major Mei Lin Zheng
, of Silvis, IL and senior Biology major Zahar Chew, of Chicago, with Professor Sue Hum, Biological Sciences – "Antimicrobial Activity of Plant Extracts"

First place in each category received a $200 prize; second place received $100; and third place received $50.

Participation for Undergraduate Research Day is open to all WIU undergraduate students. Participants must submit an abstract in advance to participate in the research day.

For more information about the event, visit

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