Montevallo, Ala. – The University of Montevallo held its 19th annual Undergraduate Research Day on Wed. March 23 in Harman Hall on the University campus.
Over 50 students representing all four UM colleges participated in the event with the advisement of 34 faculty mentors. Students presented oral presentations and poster presentations, with the first through third place presentations in each division receiving cash prize awards.
The program facilitates the undergraduate research experiences between students and faculty mentors, enhancing the liberal arts experience, which will help prepare students for graduate or professional schools.
For students like senior chemistry major, Bryant Thurman, the experience serves a springboard to prepare for graduate school. “Undergrad research gives students a plethora of experiences to include on applications for graduate school,” Thurman stated. “I’ve had opportunities to present at conferences and I now have recommendation letters for the application process.”
Thurman participated in both the oral and poster presentations and won third place in oral presentations for his research on a Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Lab with faculty advisor Dalila Matthews. His poster presentation included research of new methods of creating drug precursors for pharmacy companies, an area he hopes to continue researching in after completing his graduate work.
The mission of the Undergraduate Research Program is to provide opportunities for undergraduate students to foster their academic knowledge and understanding through collaborative research efforts, scholarly activity and creative endeavor. The program allows students in any major or course of study an opportunity to complete a research project.
“This opportunity has prepared me for real life theatre work,” said senior theatre major Kaitlyn Beddingfield, who explored the pros and cons of 2-D makeup application and silicon molds for theatrical makeup.
“After this experience I have a better knowledge of both makeup processes, but I will also be more prepared for design and production meetings in my career. I will know how to find solutions to problems myself and articulate the reasoning behind my answers,” Beddingfield said.
The Undergraduate Research program is made possible by the generosity of the University of Montevallo Foundation and Alumni Association. The gifts of Dr. Jo Rayfield ’62, have also allowed the program to succeed.
“We had a thirty-three percent increase in oral presentations this year,” Dr. Cindy Tidwell explained. “Dr. Rayfield’s gift to support Undergraduate Research Day allows us to enable more students with other opportunities, such as travel grants to present research all over the country.”
Ten students that participated in Wednesday’s activities will be selected to present at the Southeastern Regional COPLAC Undergraduate Research Conference in April.
Oral presentation winners from session one were:
First place: Keshia McClantoc, “Welcome to the Arena: Deconstructing the Female Character in Dystopian Literature”
Second place: Anleia Nance, “Perceptions and Credibility of Interviewed Subjects Based on Race and Gender”
Third place: Donovan Cleckley, “Just Folks and Sordid Things: Is That All There Is?”
Oral presentations winners from session two were:
First place: Brandy Duncan, “Catalina de Erauso: An Exceptional Life”
Second place: Emily Long, “Giving Voice to the Silent Generation: Embracing Life Histories and Opportunities in Rural Alabama”
Third place: Bryant Thurman, “Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell Lab”
Poster presentation winners were:
First place: Reggie Holifield, “TGFB/TGFBR3 Signaling Pathways”
Second place: Evan Dixon, “Microorganisms in Milk (Characterization and Abundance During the Aging Process)”
Third place: Carrie Narvaez, “Complex Matrices and Their Eigenvalues”
About The University of Montevallo
The University of Montevallo seeks to be unique in higher education in Alabama, by providing students from throughout the state an affordable, geographically accessible, “small college” public higher educational experience of high quality. Settled within an atmosphere of national historic beauty and offering a tradition of innovative cultural expression, we seek to provide professional programs supported by a broad base of arts and sciences that are designed for intellectual and personal growth in the pursuit of meaningful employment and responsible, informed citizenship.