Published on 04/05/19

Student researchers shine at annual CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium

By Sadie Lackey

On April 3, almost 70 College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) undergraduate students presented their research in the annual CAES Undergraduate Research Symposium.

This event gives students the opportunity to communicate their research findings to faculty, students and staff, and to compete for cash prizes.

For Vivian Yang, whose project is titled “Quality Change in High Pressure Processed Beef: A Study on How Edible Coatings and Spices Can Mitigate the Effects,” the opportunity to gain experience in talking about her research is one of the most rewarding parts OF the symposium.

“It’s been a growing experience for me,” Yang said. “Being a part of this symposium has helped me develop my self-confidence in conducting research and communicating it intelligently.”

Faculty members from across the college served as mentors for these students throughout the research process. While assisting the students with research is the top priority, mentors also help students discover the many personal and professional benefits that come with conducting a research project.

“Being involved in research exceeded my expectations,” said Macy Rowan, a third-year biological sciences major. “My professor and doctoral student were not only concerned with my research tasks, but also me as a person and with my professional development.”

The research presented covered a wide range of topics from food science, animal science and plant science to economics and communication.

“The high quality of our CAES undergraduate student research projects continues to amaze me," said Doug Bailey, CAES assistant dean for academic affairs. "The CAES annual undergraduate initiative and our research symposium continue to grow. This year we are at an all-time high of $53,000 given to support 63 student projects, and the symposium consisted of 67 student presentations. We are extremely proud of our students and very grateful to the faculty mentors who give so generously of their time and resources allowing our students such wonderful research experiences.”

The competition was split between oral presentations and poster presentations. Prizes were given in each session to ensure uniformity in the judging process. The winners, their project titles and their mentors are listed below.

Poster Session A

Katelyn Cavender

Title: “The Effects of the Corazonin Gene on the Mating Behavior of Sunflower-fed Oncopeltus fasciatus Males”
Mentor: Patricia Moore

Adrea Mueller

Title: “Investigation of Chromosome Breaks in Canine Ocular Neoplasms of Melanocytes”
Mentor: Paige Carmichael

Christian Powell

Title: “The Impact of Birth Order, Birth Weight, and Teat Location on Overall Growth Performance of Neonatal Pigs”
Mentor: Robert Dove

Posters Session B

Sowmya Radhakrishnan

Title: “Analysis of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Spatiotemporal Gait Parameters in Response to Tanshinone IIA Loaded Nanoparticle Treatment in a Pig Model” 
Mentor: Franklin West

Kylie Graden

Title: “Testing for Influences of Ovarian Follicle Growth Rate in Japanese Quail”
Mentor: Kristen Navara

Elizabeth Hunt

Title: “The Effect of Differing Se and Mg Levels on Growth Performance in Nursery Pigs”
Mentor: Robert Dove

Oral Session A

Grace Boothby

Title: “The Impact of Genetic Selection on Skeletal Health and Development in Broilers”
Mentor: Laura Ellestad

Destiny Eaker

Title: “Treatment Decisions for Presumptive Mastitis Using Dairy Heifer Secretions”
Mentor: Valerie Ryman

Oral Session B

Thomas Gottilla

Title: “An Investigation into the Response of Paspalum vaginatum to Saline Conditions”
Mentor: Katrien Devos

Jade Samples
Title: “Determining Accuracy of a Novel Culture System for Mastitis Pathogens in Dairy Cattle”
Mentor: Valerie Ryman

Oral Session C

Courtney Cameron

Title: “Terminal Die-back, the Result of a New Neofusicoccum Species”
Mentor: Marin Brewer

Kristen Pisani

Title: “The Effect of Terpenoids on the Foodborne Pathogenic Bacteria Salmonella Newport in Vitro”
Mentor: Todd Callaway

To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities available to CAES students, visit Photos from the symposium can be found at

Sadie Lackey is a student writer for the CAES Office of Communications and Creative Services.

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