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Supporting Undergraduate Research at Abilene Christian University since 2009

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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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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Chandler Graf- Biochemistry

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in STEM, Student Researcher, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Chandler Graf- Biochemistry

Name: Chandler Graf

Major: Biochemistry

Classification: Junior

Hometown: Georgetown, TX

Mentor: Dr. Autumn Sutherlin

Why I’m interested in research:It is something that I really enjoy doing. It adds quite a bit of depth to the field that I am studying, to actually see how these things play out in a lab setting. As I hope to pursue a career as a medical professional, research is something that I hope to continue, as it drives the best possible care that can be given to patients.

What I study: My research is in the field of biochemistry, investigating interaction between proteins in a bacterial enzymatic pathway in hopes to better understand and bacterial metabolism, and synthesis of more effective antibiotics.

Conferences Attended:

  • Attending SNO conference (Society of Neuro Oncology) in November 2015


  • “Familial Predisposition to High Grade Astrocytoma (Presenting at SNO Conference)”
  • Pending: “New Directions and Perspectives in the Management of Posttraumatic Seizures”



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Kayla Holcomb- Computer Science

Posted by on Oct 5, 2015 in Feature, STEM, Student Researcher | Comments Off on Kayla Holcomb- Computer Science


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Name: Kayla Holcomb

Major: Computer Science

Classification: Junior

Hometown: Wichita Falls, TX

Mentor: Raymond Pettit

Why I’m interested in research:I do research to prepare for grad school and build my resume. It has provided me with many opportunities to apply and build upon the concepts I learn in my classes.

What I Study: My research is in the field of Computer Science education, specifically the development and use of automated tools to accept student programming submissions and assess them for style, correctness, and other similar measures.

Conferences Attended:

  • Awaiting admission to SIGCSE 2016 (presenting research)


  • Co-Author of a published paper through ASEE 2015 (American Society of Engineering Education)
  • Poster submission in for the 2016 ACM SIGCSE (Special Interest Group, Computer Science Education) Conference


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