Undergraduate Research Festival Celebrates Student Scholarship

Published on April 9, 2018

Undergraduate Research Festival 2018

The Undergraduate Research Festival sponsored by the Center for Undergraduate Research (CUR) celebrated the breadth of research projects being conducted by undergraduate students and their faculty mentors in a variety of labs and classrooms across campus. The three-day event formally began with ribbon cutting ceremonies by President Dr. Paul Katz. 

From March 13 through 15, the festival hosted “Images of Research and Scholarship,” a visual competition featuring nine stunning images produced by undergraduate researchers on display in the atrium of the McNeil Science and Technology Center. In addition to faculty judges for the images, an online poll was held to determine a “popular choice award” from the CUR Facebook page.   

Two groups of elevator research talks featured undergraduates speaking about their research in non-specialist language to a broad audience. The elevator talks train undergraduates to communicate their science and scholarship in plain language to the community.

The festival continued with the Undergraduate Research Symposium featuring five oral presentations and 34 research posters, including from students from Ursinus College and Rosemont College. The evening was capped with award ceremonies and a video slideshow displaying the activities of CUR over the last year.

Undergraduate Research Festival Awards:

Oral Presentations:

First Prize: Zachary Friar C'18 “Polymer CORALS: A Novel Responsive Surface” Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Two Runners-up: Victoria Pobok BI'20 “Ancient Egyptian Literature, Death and Dying, and Primitive Forms of Exposure Therapy

Jaspal Brar BI'18 “A novel anti-triple negative breast cancer compound isolated from medicinal herb Myrothamnus flabellifolius” Department of Biological Sciences

Elevator Talks:

Two First Prizes: Andrew Yuhas BI'18 Investigation into the Attachment Mechanism of Infectious Bacteria in Plant Tumor Formation

Timothy Little PhSci'18 Evaluation of phenylalanine ammonia lyase activity in ethyl cellulose microcapsules.

Images of Research & Scholarship:

First Prize: Matthew Marshall BI'19 “In Control”

Second Prize: Brett Conti Phys'20 “A Demonstration of Superconducting Magnetic Levitation: Meissner Effect Third Prize: Victoria Pobok BI'20 “Four Sekhmet Statues with other unnamed goddess”

Popular Choice Award: Gabrielle Pisano BC'20 and Kevin Chao BMS'20 “Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster) brain expressing human huntingtin”

Poster Awards: Caitlyn McConnell BMS'18 Phys'18 and Brett Conti Phys'20 “Multiple Energy Gaps via Soft Point Contact Spectroscopy of Doped Ba(1-x)KxFe2As2”


Mia Truman, from Ursinus College, “Processing and Properties of Laser Exposed Nanostructures in Arsenic Sulfide”


Alexis Schirling BMS'19 “Activating HIV Through RUNX1 Inhibition and Nucleosome Placement Modification”

Kent Pham BI'20 “Development of a Selective Media and Methods of Detection for Saccharomyces cerevisiae var. diastaticus in the Brewery”


Owen Vazquez BC'19 “Aromatic Oligoamide Foldamer for Protein-Protein Interactions: a Computational Investigation”


Sydney Shearouse Neuro'21 “Negative Recency in Probability of First Recall”

Nicholas Makosiej BMS'20 “Novel Small Molecule That Selectively Targets Aggressive Triple Negative Breast Cancer Cells Through Reactive Oxygen Species and DNA Damage”

Nessreen Ghanem PharmD' 20 "Development of a Cell Based Assay for Evaluation of Neuroprotective NMDA Receptor Antagonists"


Timothy Little PhSci'18 "Evaluation of phenylalanine ammonia lyase activity in ethyl cellulose microcapsules"

New Ideas Poster Award:
Magdalena Kalinowska BC'20 and Klaudio Mehmeti BC'19 "Understanding and Removing the Dependence of SAM II RNA on S-Adenosyl Methionine to Form a Triple Helix by Site-Directed Mutagenesis"

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