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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Students present year-long research

More than 30 undergraduate students participated in a 25-year-old tradition presenting year-long research projects at the UA Honors Research Expo on Wednesday.

Every spring, students have the chance to apply for the UA’s undergraduate research program.

Each student is partnered with a professor to research a topic he or she is passionate about. If a student has a good idea, but does not know the right professor to work with, the Honors College guides the students toward someone appropriate.

Students can receive a grant of up to $1,500 for their project, which can cover an array of topics from multimedia to science.

“The wide variety of topics is what makes this expo special,” said Danielle D’Adamo, the Student Affairs marketing specialist.

The Undergraduate Research Program was started 25 years ago by Marlys Witte, a professor of surgery. Witte said she was struck by the amount of success undergraduate researchers had with only a small percentage of grant money for funding.

“Something that really stands out this year is the breath of the proposals,” said Patricia MacCorquodale, dean of the UA Honors College. “Also, that students are able to explain research in nontechnical terms, even though it often is very technical.”

While some students decide not to continue their research after the expo, many of them continue their work and even earn fellowships and admission to graduate schools because of their projects, MacCorquodale said.

Other times their study might fail, but then the student may become inspired to research another topic. MacCorquodale said that two years ago a student wanted to study pests that were coming to Arizona, but she failed because she could not keep the pests alive. She was then inspired to find a way to keep the pests alive, and spent two years researching a way to do this.

Out of the 32 students who participated in the research program, 25 of them came from the Honors College.

Andrew Richard, an anthropology junior, was one of the seven non-honors students in the expo. Richard said he found out about the research project in an anthropology class, and decided to enter. For his project, Richard pursued his interest of the outdoors and researched locating unknown populations of Pinus aristata, commonly known as the Rocky Mountain Bristlecone Pine, in Southern Arizona.

Rebecca Patterson-Markowitz, an international studies senior, researched the “discourse of transitional justice women’s rights and the emergence of justice organizations in Guatemala City” while she was studying abroad in Guatemala.

Patterson-Markowitz worked with women’s organizations in Guatamala that aimed to help women who had experienced sexual violence during an armed conflict that lasted 32 years. The conflict was later classified as genocide by the U.N.

“I was introduced to international justice my sophomore year in my International Relations class and I liked the idea of post conflict healing,” Patterson-Markowitz said.

Patterson-Markowitz said she wants to continue with similar studies about gender perspectives in international conflict when she attends graduate school.

Farid Eythrib, a junior studying physiology and molecular and cellular biology, researched why birds, who have higher blood glucose levels than diabetic humans, do not suffer from the same inflammatory response in their blood vessels that diabetic humans do. This inflammatory response can eventually lead to fluid buildup, amputation and Alzheimer’s disease.

Eythrib is continuing this study during his last year at the UA and in graduate school. Eythrib said he hopes to eventually control similar damage that occurs in diabetics.

The Undergraduate Research Program is now accepting applicants for next year.

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