Students display their research accomplishments at Frontiers
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 00:10
Students from a variety of academic disciplines displayed their thought provoking research in the Wilbur Cross building Wednesday night.
The Frontiers in Undergraduate Research event is “the annual poster exhibition of student research, scholarship, and creative projects,” UConn’s Office of Undergraduate Research said. Yesterday marked the 16th annual Frontiers event, with the 17th to come in spring 2014, with applications available beginning in February 2014.
The researchers who participate in the Frontiers event display their “findings, methods, and conclusions,” to an open-house audience. The event is the largest of its kind at the University of Connecticut, and it is sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research, Research Enrichment programs and the Honors Program.
The different projects ranged from hard sciences to the humanities. Krisela Karaja, a 7th-semester English and Spanish literature major, is working on research for her professor, Guillermo Irizarry, an associate professor of literature, culture and languages. The focus of her work is on Hispanic and Latin American transnational narratives, which will contribute to a book currently being developed by Irizarry on the war and violence such narratives speak to. Her painstaking work took an entire semester, though Karaja admits Irizarry could have completed it sooner.
“He could have done this in three weeks, but hey, I learned how to correctly research,” said Karaja. “I learned I needed to be more efficient in my years at UConn, and this project was a great learning process.”
Karaja took texts related to her topic and broke them down systematically. She also mentioned that the Frontiers showcase is a part of the requirement for being awarded undergraduate research funding. She received a $1,500 stipend from the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Research Experience (SHARE) Award.
Students Daniel Gifford, a 7th-semester chemical engineering major, Marta Chlus a 9th semester chemical engineering major and Zachary Rom, a 7th-semester chemical engineering major, were at the event presenting research they had been working on in class.
“We expanded on research already established in the Chemical Engineering field,” said Chlus. “Basically, we took plastic material and heated it up into a vapor.”
“We changed a monomer to a polymer, using a ultraviolet light that forms free radicals (ion, atom, or molecule with unpaired electrons),” Gifford said. “It went from the vapor phase to the solid phase, eliminating the liquid phase.”
The group used the chemical hexyl acrylate, developing their research through their senior chemical engineering lab under the supervision of Aravind Suresh, a resident assistant professor in chemical and biomolecular engineering. The group did not receive a grant for their research, as it is a part of their class, but they were asked to display their work for the Frontiers program.
There was a wealth of grants, awards and funds in the Wilbur Cross South Reading room, including representatives of the McNair Scholars program, Holster Scholars, University Scholars and students who received the Summer Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Award, the Office of Undergraduate Research Travel Award and members of the UConn Technology program.