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Undergraduate research puts Cameron students in the spotlight

A group of Cameron University students had the opportunity to present their undergraduate research projects during the university’s recent President’s Partners celebration, an event recognizing the contributions of donors to the Cameron University Foundation.

“Undergraduate research plays a significant role in the quality of education we provide to our students,” says CU President John McArthur. “Since many of these projects are funded by the donations of Cameron’s President’s Partners, we wanted to provide an opportunity to show the members how their contributions are used.”

Conducting undergraduate research allows students to exercise critical thinking as they approach the overall task. Mentored by CU faculty members, students determine a research project or interest. Each student then establishes a theorem, gathers and analyzes data, develops a conclusion based on the data analysis and presents his/her findings through poster presentations and/or submissions of papers. Research is presented at Oklahoma Research Day, Research Day at the State Capitol and a variety of discipline-specific national and regional conferences.

Research topics presented at the President’s Partners event tackled a variety of topics.

Jadance Black, a biology major from Elgin, sought to determine if adenoviruses (which can cause respiratory diseases in humans) are found in bats in west Texas, since adenoviruses had been found in one bat species in Oklahoma. She found that three species of bats, located in Big Bend National Park, did carry adenoviruses.

Nathalie Moro, a chemistry major from Lawton, studied the photophysics and hydrodynamic properties of fluorescent Texas red dyes to understand the photophysics of the dyes in reverse micelles of varying sizes. The study can be used as a template to investigate biomolecular dynamics using reverse micelle as a simple model system.

Connor Holt, a political science major from Lawton, examined the Social Security trust fund. He set out to determine if citizens would rather have their taxes raised to defray the costs of Social Security than have their Social Security benefits reduced. In his conclusion, he states that respondents do not appear to like either option, but would rather have their taxes increased than benefits reduced.

Sean Falkenstein, a business major from Lawton, examined the organizational attendance policies of a local automotive parts manufacturer in order to recommend policy changes that would improve employee buy-in and corporate/employee satisfaction. He made several recommendations that would benefit the company, concluding that incentivizing quality work is an effective way to encourage employees to excel beyond their set tasks and show they are capable of progressing within the organization.

Landon Holley, a senior physics major from Duncan, analyzed ionospheric drift using ionosonde data. The results of this research can be important in terms of space plasma studies and space weather predictions, which play a significant role in radio and satellite communication as well as GPS navigation.

Torie Ortiz-Jones, an education major from Cache, used her personal experience with Cowden Syndrome, a genetic condition that is characterized by the presence of multiple non-cancerous tumor-like growths and an increased susceptibility to certain cancers. Her findings indicated that being able to isolate a specific gene and making testing more accessible would help more undiagnosed patients get testing and treatment.

Alexandra Moya, a biology major from Elgin, studied the cutaneous evaporative water loss (CEWL) in bats found in arid environments. She found that bats maybe able to reduce CEWL by some mechanism, and that reducing rates of CEWL may be of significant importance in smaller bat species, especially in desert habitats.



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