Ten Fort Hays State University students attended Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in the rotunda of the Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka.
More than 80 Kansas students representing each of the state’s four-year public universities displayed scientific posters illustrating their undergraduate research projects. Participants were selected through a competitive application process held at each university.
Sponsored by the Council of Chief Research Officers of the Kansas Board of Regents, the event provided a forum for students to share their research experiences and demonstrate the importance of faculty-mentored research at state institutions.
“Institutions in several states incorporate a Capitol event day on their annual calendars,” said Dr. Tim Crowley, dean of the Graduate School and professor of music and theatre at FHSU. “The value for public, tax-assisted institutions is tremendous.”
Fort Hays State University students from the departments of Biological Sciences, Geosciences, Health and Human Performance, Communication Disorders, and Psychology were selected to participate.
Students spent the day discussing research on a wide array of topics with legislators, legislative staff members, government office workers, members of the Kansas Department of Education, alumni and other visitors.
“Legislators and staff members who see what these young students are working on quickly learn the value undergraduate research lends to the state in the development of intellectual capital,” said Crowley. “In particular, students who are working on research projects that align with the concerns of the state are of interest to these policymakers.”
Keri Caudle, a junior in FHSU's Department of Biological Sciences, presented her research project, "Effects of Flooding on Photosynthesis and Root Oxygen Stress in Plants of Different Flooding Tolerance." Under the direction of Dr. Brian Maricle, professor of biological sciences, Caudle is investigating how plants respond to the environment.
"Learning how plants function under stress is of great importance when trying to understand how our environment will benefit future generations,” said Caudle. “I was able to discuss my research with Kansas legislators and explain the available benefits these data had to offer the state in agricultural development."
Caudle, who plans to pursue a doctorate degree in plant biology, enjoyed meeting and discussing research with students from the other public universities, and meeting legislators.
"It was a positive experience to have a collection of Kansas undergraduates showing the importance of research to their legislators," said Caudle. "The event was an amazing opportunity to help legislators understand how research benefits our future career paths."
Other students joining Caudle at the Capitol are listed with their field of study, research project and faculty mentor:
Bentley: Ryan White, geosciences; "Sea Ice Dynamics in Northern Baffin Analyzed Using ICESat and MODIS"; Dr. John Heinrichs, professor of geosciences.
El Dorado: Katharine Goebel, geosciences, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; "The Correlation Between Climatic Factors and Malaria Rates in Ghana"; Dr. John Heinrichs, professor of geosciences.
Hays: Keri Caudle, biological sciences, "Effects of Flooding on Photosynthesis and Root Oxygen Stress in Plants of Different Flooding Tolerance." Dr. Brian Maricle, professor of biological sciences.
Hesston: Melanie Mabrey, psychology; Mabrey presented a group project, "Examining the Connection Between Facebook Wall Posts and Romantic Relationships"; Dr. Jennifer Bonds-Raacke, associate professor of psychology.
Hiawatha: Brad Leupold, biological sciences, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; "Effects Of High-Energy Beta Radiation in The Upper Atmosphere on Antibiotic Resistance in Escherichia Coli"; Dr. Sam R. Zwenger, assistant professor of biological sciences.
Junction City: Laura Rook, geosciences, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; "The Annual Increase of Carbon Dioxide in Relation to the Frequency of Major Hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean (1992-2009)"; Dr. Paul Adams, Anschutz Professor of Education, professor of physics.
Sabetha: Laura Rokey, health and human performance and communication disorders, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; "Warning: Exercise May Be Hazardous To Your Health"; Dr. Jeff Burnett, associate professor of health and human performance, and Dr. Fred Britten, professor of communication disorders.
Topeka: Hayley Disney, biological sciences, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; “Effects of Drought on Kansas Turf Grass"; Dr. Brian R. Maricle, associate professor of biological sciences.
Westminster, Colo.: Jeff Carter, biological sciences; "Changes in the Migration Timing of Twelve Passerine Species Over a 45-Year Interval in The High Plains"; Dr. Greg Farley, professor of biological sciences.
Wichita: Quentin Aker, biological sciences, Kansas Academy of Mathematics and Science; “Effects of Drought on Kansas Turf Grass"; Dr. Brian R. Maricle, associate professor of biological sciences.