A diversity of summer undergraduate research projects
Whoa, pink concrete. What?
That would be civil engineering major Jewel Janke’s summer research project on the development of photocatalytic concrete, concrete that is coated with a substance that causes a surface reaction in sunlight.
And Janke’s was a special type of photocatalytic concrete – not simply because it’s pink, but because its nanosized titanium dioxide has the ability to reduce air pollution in the presence of ultraviolet rays.
Her project was on display at UMKC’s 5th Annual Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunity — known as SUROP — Poster Symposium at the Miller Nichols Learning Center.
“More than anything, this research has enhanced my ability to work on my own without heavy input,” Janke said. “I’m grateful, because this is a good skill to have for graduate school, for my future career, for life.”
Unlike many other universities where intensive research is reserved for graduate students, UMKC offers numerous research opportunities throughout the year for undergraduates.
Sixteen other undergraduate researchers, scholars and artists also presented research. The group of 17 students were part of a highly competitive SUROP summer grant opportunity that awards students up to $1,250 to cover the cost of their research projects. The spring symposium, open to students across the university, includes more than 100 students.
The SUROP research poster displays included diverse topics that include the relationships between stress and eating behaviors; best practices in storm water management; and the incorporation of antifungal agents in bone cement. The School of Biological Sciences, the School of Computing and Engineering and six departments from the College of Arts and Sciences were represented among undergraduate researchers who shared their work.
Anne Crawford, an English major, was inspired by the musical “Hamilton” for her project. She studied Angelica Schuyler Church, sister-in-law of Alexander Hamilton, who lived during the 18th and early 19th centuries and corresponded with some of America’s most powerful leaders. Her research centered on “remembering by repurposing” the public memory of Church – a new opportunity to focus on important issues of her time despite the limitations imposed on her by society.
Crawford’s research took her to the Schuyler Mansion, Church’s childhood home in Albany, New York.
“This was such a fantastic opportunity to work outside of the classroom and with a faculty mentor,” Crawford said. “I want to go to graduate school and eventually teach English, so this experience was valuable.”