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ACU Undergraduate Researchers Presented at a Variety of Conferences this Fall

Posted by on Nov 15, 2015 in Arts, Conferences, Feature, Humanities, Social Sciences, STEM, Student Researcher | Comments Off on ACU Undergraduate Researchers Presented at a Variety of Conferences this Fall

ACU undergraduate researchers have been traveling to conferences this fall.

Ryan Wilson traveled with Dr. Darby Hewitt of the Department of Engineering and Physics to present his work at the Frontiers in Optics/ Laser Science Conference.

Hannah Lowry, Kristen McNally, Austin Lemmons, and Jake Hall presented at the 2015 CSOTTE Conference: Emerging Scholars Track.

Hannah Choquette and Dr. Stephen Baldridge presented at the North American Christians in Social Work Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.

Bre Heinrich, Kennedy Morrison and Dr. Stephen Baldridge presented at the Lubbock Christian University Healthy Families Conference.

Tyler Salter presented from his McNair Scholars research at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Several faculty and students from the Department of Engineering and Physics attended and presented at the 2015 Fall Meeting of the American Physics Society of Nuclear Physics in Santa Fe, NM. Rueben Byrd, Hannah Hamilton, Cecily Towell, Paul Carstens, Lauren Slensky, and Zhaojia Xi all received scholarships to present their work at the conference.

Fourteen McNair scholars presented at McNair Conferences at the University of New Mexico or the University of Wisconsin. Read about the conference at UNM on the McNair blog.

Twenty seven students traveled to the Texoma Region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing Conference to compete in Oklahoma City with Dr. Rick Piersall and Dr. Julie Pruett. Among the students were Megan Lewis, Mikalia Bradberry, Jasmine Washington, Teonna Murphy, Kendall Stubblefield, Kristen Gillis, and Keely Smith.

Caitlin Norquist sang the role of Casilda at the Utah Vocal Arts Academy/Utah Lyric Opera festival.


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Recent ACU Undergraduate Publications

Posted by on Nov 12, 2015 in Announcement, Journal Articles, Social Sciences, STEM, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Recent ACU Undergraduate Publications

“Assessment for the Masses: A Historical Critique of High-Stakes Testing in Reading” – Elizabeth Rockwell (With lead author, Dr. Andrew Huddleston) Texas Journal of Literacy Education (Summer 2015)

“Di- and tetraosmium carbonyl complexes with dicarboxylato ligands serving as intramolecular rings and intermolecular bridges” A. G. Fikes, N. Gwini, S. H. Yoon, V. N. Nesterov, and G. L. Powell, Journal of Organometallic Chemistry.

“Blogging Ferguson in Black and White” The Journal of New Media and Culture. Doug Mendenhall and 47 undergraduate that were enrolled in Media Issues, the introductory course within the ACU Department of Journalism and Mass Communication. The students were supervised by Jessica Clark.

Nine articles published with ACU undergraduates published by faculty and students from the Nuclear Physics Group in Physical Review C and D in the last year. Current and former undergraduates include A. T. Basye, K. Gainey,  K. R. Andrews, T. Jones, A. J. Miller, R. Pinson, D. Thomas, M. Towell, R. Towell, R. M. Wright, D. S. Jumper,  R. M. Wright, K. Gainey, N. A. Sparks, and J. P. Wood.

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Undergraduate Research Dinner Fall 2015

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Activities, Feature | Comments Off on Undergraduate Research Dinner Fall 2015

2015 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year finalists: Marc Gutierrez, Bre Heinrich, and Soo Hun Yoon. (Not pictured Caleb Orr, Kristen Clemons, and Hannah Hamilton)

2015 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year finalists: Marc Gutierrez, Bre Heinrich, and Soo Hun Yoon. (Not pictured Caleb Orr, Kristen Clemons, and Hannah Hamilton)

Thursday, October 30, ACU undergraduate researchers and their mentors got together to celebrate research done by ACU students in the past year. Dr. Richard Beck and student Marc Gutierrez talked about the importance they saw in undergraduate research.

Undergraduate Researcher of the Year Finalists and Winners were announced in two categories: STEM and Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

The finalists in STEM were Hannah Hamilton (Engineering and Physics), Kristen Clemons (Biology) and Soo Hun Yoon (Chemistry and Biochemistry). Soo Hun Yoon was named 2015 STEM Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.

The finalists in Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences were Caleb Orr (Communication and Sociology and Political Science), Bre Heinrich (Social Work), and Marc Gutierrez (Music).  Caleb Orr was named the 2015 Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Undergraduate Researcher of the Year.

The mentors for these students in order as listed above were Dr. Rusty Towell, Dr. Jennifer Huddleston, Dr. Greg Powell, Dr. Suzie Macaluso, Dr. Stephen Baldridge and Dr. Rick Piersall.


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Mackenzie Sanderson- Political Science

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Social Sciences, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Mackenzie Sanderson- Political Science

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Name: Mackenzie Sanderson

Major: Political Science

Classification: Sophomore

Hometown: El Paso, TX

Mentor: Carmen Price

Why I’m interested in research: As a Political Science major, I enjoy studying the leaders, governments, and people of the world around me. I am specifically interested in international relations and comparative politics. I love to learn about how and why countries and cultures function differently, especially as a result of past history and tradition influencing modern life.



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Tina Johnson- Biology

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in STEM, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Tina Johnson- Biology


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Name: Tina Johnson

Major: Biology

Classification: Senior

Hometown: Fairfax, Virgina

Mentor: Dr. Josh Brokaw

Why I’m interested in research:I do research because I enjoy learning about things in great depth–truly exploring the ins and outs of something. Research also gives me perspective on life. It allows me to accept my mistakes and failures and keep moving forward. Basically, research is 25% ideas and 75% perseverance.

What I study: During my time at ACU, I have worked with Dr. Josh Brokaw studying the evolutionary and molecular biology of a plant species known as Mentzelia monoensis. Outside of ACU, I have had the privilege of studying apoptotic stress in the endoplasmic reticulum at Pepperdine University and the epigenetics of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma at the Mayo Clinic.

Conferences Attended:

  • NCUR 2015
  • Alpha Chi National Convention 2014-2015
  • ACU Undergraduate Research Festival 2013-5
  • American Society of Cell Biology 2015
  • MBB Undergraduate Research Symposium (UTHSCSA) 2015
  • Meeting for the Society for Integrated and Comparative Biology, 2014
  • The Evolution Conference, 2013


  • ACU Undergraduate Researcher of the Year—Office of Undergraduate Research 2014
  • 2nd Place Poster Presentation— UT Health Science Center 2014
  • MBB Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • ACU Biology Researcher of the Year—Department of Biology, 2014
  • The Blake and Trish Janutolo Prize in Organismal and Ecological Biology—2014
  • Alpha Chi National Convention


“Edaphic Specialization in the cryptic species Mentzelia monoensis (loasaceae).” Madroño, April 2015


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Julia Taylor- Biochemistry

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Feature, STEM, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Julia Taylor- Biochemistry

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Name: Julia Taylor

Major: Biochemistry

Classification: Sophomore

Hometown: Abilene, TX

Mentor: Dr. Sarah Lee

Why I’m interested in research:I love to research because, in most compulsory labs, the answer to the question asked of me is already known and established. I know the “right” answer already, and am simply trying to replicate accepted results. In research, we are in uncharted waters. We may have speculations and expectations, but there is no guarantee that they will be met. This inspires my curiosity and passion for the world around me.

What I study : Biochemistry- We work with transcription mechanisms and gene expression in yeast. By stimulating various types of stress and tracking the transcription responses of different genes, we can investigate the role that said genes have in the life and survival of a cell.

Conferences Attended:

  • 2015 TAS Meeting


  • Outstanding Poster Presentation in the STEM category at ACU Undergraduate Research Festival 2015


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Laura Hill- Psychology

Posted by on Oct 13, 2015 in Social Sciences, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Laura Hill- Psychology

Name: Laura Hill

Major: Psychology

Classification: Junior

Hometown: San Antonio, TX

Mentor: Cherisse Flanagan

Why I’m interested in research:I am doing research to build my resume up for graduate school. I know that it is highly valued by schools and I want to be as prepared as possible for my future. Also, I am a McNair scholar and is required that we participate in research. I hope that my experience with research will help me get funded for graduate school so that I do not inquire more debt.

What I Study: My McNair research project was on the correlation between experience of love and depression. Experience of love being that you believe you receive love or do not receive love, regardless of whether you actually do or not. My second research project was on the relationship that makeup has on anxiety levels. The idea was that women where makeup because they feel anxious if they do not. This project was done with two other Psychology majors (Traci Bricka and Kaila Bellinghausen).

Conferences Attended:

  • McNair Scholars Conference (New Mexico; fall 2015)
  • SWAPA (spring 2016)


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