Undergraduates showcase their research and creative expression at ISU April 17

AMES, Iowa -- What's the best light setting for public spaces? Can resistant starches help prevent colorectal cancer? How does foot rotation during stair navigation affect knee motion and injury? Does spring flooding alter the nesting of female turtles?

These are just a few of more than 100 research projects Iowa State University students will share during the university's sixth annual Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression. The symposium will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in the Memorial Union on the ISU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Since its inception in 2007, the symposium has grown from 36 to 107 presentations. The symposium provides undergraduates from all majors with an opportunity to share their research through 15-minute oral presentations. More than 130 undergraduates from 45 majors will present on topics ranging from artificial intelligence in aircraft systems engineering to retinal tumor cells in zebrafish. Students' scholarship in art and design will also be presented, and work by artists in the FOCUS juried art exhibit will be on display. Departments with the greatest number of students presenting are psychology, biology and architecture.

"These undergraduates are gaining valuable experience learning how to conduct and present a research project," said Dana Schumacher, an assistant director of the University Honors Program and symposium coordinator. "With so many Iowa State faculty involved as mentors, and others volunteering as session moderators, the symposium offers a terrific opportunity to showcase the rich diversity of research going on at ISU."

Stephanie Hansen, assistant professor of animal science, will present opening remarks at 9 a.m. in the Pioneer Room. Hansen conducted research as an Iowa State undergraduate and now mentors undergrads in their research.

Concurrent presentation sessions will be from 9:30-10:45 a.m., 11 a.m.-12:15 p.m., 12:45-2:00 p.m., 2:15-3:30 p.m. and 3:45 - 5:00 p.m. A midday break features undergraduate artists whose works are part of the FOCUS Exhibit.

A detailed schedule of symposium events and presentation abstracts is online. Following is a sampling of the research being presented:

• "Learning Techniques Used to Detect Disease in Wildlife," Alejandra Navarro, animal ecology

• "How Cells Think: The Influence of Collagen in Cell Migration," Carin Lightner, chemical engineering

• "Exploring Internal Barriers to Help-Seeking in Military Personnel," Amanda Thill, psychology, and child, adult and family services

• "Incorporating an Artificially Intelligent Decision Support Apparatus into System Diagnostics," Shaun Humes, aerospace engineering

• "Variability of E. coli Concentrations within the Squaw Creek Watershed," Andrew Paxson, environmental science and environmental studies

• "Case Study of the Monona County-Mapleton, IA EF3 Tornado that Occurred on 9 April 2011," Laura Hoaglund, meteorology

• "Style Tribes: Fashions from the 1960s," Carissa Drake, Hanna Mosley and Kelsey Feldmann, apparel merchandising and design

• "Developing a Methodology for Designing and Evaluating Medical Decision Aids: A Research Collaboration with Mayo Clinic," Brandon Alvarado and Leah Willadsen, graphic design

• "Garden Design in Time: 1750-1950," Jacqueline Kolpek, landscape architecture

• "Stability of Corn Prices as a Function of Monetary Systems," Liam Vincent, agricultural business

• "Characterizing Global Recombination Rates in Maize Inbreds," Mischa Olson, biology and Spanish