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Research-Enriched Academic Challenge - REACH

Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities

2014-2015 awardees Main Content

Minka Bentley

Senior, Major: Geology, Edwardsville, IL 

Minka’s project investigates the isotope composition of freshwater in Southern Illinois to develop a hydrological model for a better understanding for the water cycling in Southern Illinois. 

Faculty Mentor: Liliana Lefticariu, Ph.D., Department of Geology

bolinRosemary Bolin

Senior, Major: Anthropology and Animal Science, Sauk Village, IL  

Rosemary’s project investigates the relationship between humans and domestic dogs at a prehistoric Woodland-period archaeological site in southern Illinois known as the Black Earth site. By using stable isotope analysis of skeletal remains of dogs to compare similarities and differences in diet and use, her project aims to better understand the different statuses these animals held in life based on their role in human society.  

Faculty Mentor: Heather Lapham, Ph.D., Center for Archaeological Investigations


Sidney Brothers

Junior, Major: Communication Disorders and Sciences, Carterville, IL

Sidney’s project studies a dynamic assessment tool used to differentiate between a language disorder and language difference among English language learners. The goal of the project is to further understand the proper age of administration and language of administration for this assessment, as well as whether or not this assessment correlates with other standard measures of language.

Faculty Mentor: Valerie Boyer, Ph.D., Rehabilitation Institute

Chris Crow

Senior, Major: Forestry, Chesapeake, VA

Chris’ project aims to determine which safety light designs best increase the safe passing distance between commuter bicycles and overtaking motor vehicles on the road for enhancing bikers safety.

Faculty Mentor: Logan Park, Ph.D., Department of Forestry

Nicholas Flowers

Senior, Major: Plant Biology, Murphysboro, IL 

Nicholas’ project investigates effects on the ecological role light pollution plays in the development and competition of native and non-native plants. 

Faculty Mentor: David Gibson, Ph.D., Department of Plant Biology

grayKenyahtta Gray

Senior, Major: Communication Disorders and Sciences, Lansing, IL 

Kenyahtta’s project investigates early vocalization data from young children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder to better understand patterns of development in this population and to provide a detailed description of auditory milestone development as it coincides with vocalization development.

Faculty Mentor: Sandie Bass-Ringdahl, Ph.D., Rehabilitation Institute

Savhannah Haslett

Senior, Major: Zoology, Farmington, IL 

Savhannah’s project investigates the effects of a known Ranavirus infection in prometamorphic amphibian larvae to describe the costs of eliciting an immune response and supporting metamorphosis simultaneously as well as provide a physiological explanation for increased mortality rates and provide data to model Ranavirus outbreaks in the wild. 

Faculty Mentor: Robin Warne, Ph.D., Department of Zoology

marchettaJohn Marchetta

Sophomore, Major: Physics, Chicago, IL 

John’s project investigates levitating a neutral, anisotropically polarizable atom in a vacuum using the laws of Casimir physics. 

Faculty Mentor: Kuloth V. Shajesh, Ph.D., Department of Physics

Tim Marshall

Junior, Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering, South Holland, IL 

Tim’s project investigates how plastic microparticles found in facial cleansers enter the water system and explores how they can be kept from polluting our waterways as well as removal methods. 

Faculty Mentor: Lizette Chevalier, Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering

martinSean Martin

Junior, Major: Engineering Technology, Glendale Heights, IL 

Sean’s project proposes to incorporate an artificial vision system on an UAV platform to enable the UAV to accept gestural commands and aid in navigating complex environments. 

Faculty Mentor: Garth Crosby, Ph.D., Engineering Technology

RogersTravis Rogers

Senior, Major: Psychology, Carbondale, IL 

Travis’ research examines the interaction of a subset of factors from a model of child anxiety proposed by Kertz and Woodruff-Borden (2011) in an attempt to predict child worry and contribute to the sparse literature on child anxiety. 

Faculty Mentor: Sarah J. Kertz, Ph.D., Psychology

Kevin Schrader

Senior, Major: Physiology, Collinsville, IL 

Kevin’s project aims to learn more about the tumorigenesis of ovarian cancer and how a whole flax diet affects the proliferation of Cox-1 active cells.

Faculty Mentor: Dale V. Hales, Ph.D., Department of Physiology

ShivakumarSuddarsun Shivakumar

Junior, Major: Mechanical Engineering, Tamilnadu, India 

Suddarsun’s project seeks to find the geometry of an arbitrary dielectric surface for which the Casimir energy is minimized between this surface and a perfect conductor in an effort to better understand the Young’s equation for contact angles.

Faculty Mentor: Kuloth V. Shajesh, Ph.D., Department of Physics

SmithBenjamin Smith

Senior, Major: Communication Studies, Carbondale, IL 

Benjamin’s project uses an ethnography of speaking approach in exploring how Black men on collegiate universities use the “Chiraq” narrative as identity construction.  Benjamin’s goal is to gather data to help combat Black male underachievement in post secondary institutions

Faculty Mentor: Derrick Williams, Ph.D., Center for Inclusive Excellence

suitHannah Suitt

Junior, Major: Animal Science, Johnston City, IL 

Hannah’s project investigates the effects carcass disposal of animals who are euthanized with barbiturates has on water runoff, impact of plant growth and development, and transference to animals through consumption. 

Faculty Mentor: Karen Jones, Ph.D., Department of Animal Science Food and Nutrition

AliB. Rael Ali

Senior, Major: Studio Art, Carbondale, IL 

B. Rael’s project aims to create a mural to give visual representation of exemplars that SIU students believe to be most influential to help create a culture that transcends the bounds of ethnicity and increase unity between different ethnicities and cultures.

Faculty Mentor: Sally Gradle, Ed.D., Department of Art Education

walkerJacob Walker

Senior, Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carbondale, IL 

Jacob’s project aims to research and produce a portable and accurate noise analysis apparatus which utilizes a customized printed circuit board and 4 microphones with an analog to digital converter, and then test the noise analysis device in the lab as well on predetermined mining job sites in the Southern Illinois area. The goal is a more effective method of protecting miners and prevent noise induced hearing loss, which effects an estimated 30 million American on the job every year, with U.S. miners in many ways exposed to more harmful and destructive noise in mines as well as processing centers. 

Faculty Mentor: Jun Qin, Ph.D., Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

WestHannah West

Junior, Major: Animal Science, Marion, IL 

Hannah’s project examines management practices by evaluating the impact of food particle size and feeder types used to enhance the efficiency of pig growth and costs of production at the SIU Carbondale Swine Farm. 

Faculty Mentor: Gary Apgar, Ph.D., Department of Animal Science Food and Nutrition

WillisAlexandra Willis

Senior, Major: Psychology, Arnold, MO 

Alexandra’s research examines the relationship between parent personality and child acting out behaviors, including delinquency and aggression. 

Faculty Mentor: Lisabeth DiLalla, Ph.D., Department of Psychology

WolfeShaun Wolfe

Senior, Major: Physics and Mathematics, Bloomington, IL 

Shaun’s project examines the relationship between fiscal policy and the economy to determine if there is a correlation between fiscal stimulus and elevated activity in the housing market. 

Faculty Mentor: Kevin Sylwester, Ph.D., Department of Economics

WurlBradley Wurl

Senior, Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering, Murphysboro, IL 

Bradley’s research project goal is to identify optimal conditions to maximize bio-oil yield to increase knowledge base on the possibilities available in meeting energy needs in attempt to bring renewable, sustainable energy a reality. 

Faculty Mentor: Yanna Liang, Ph.D., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Gregory Zimay

Junior, Major: Chemistry, Cary, IL 

Gregory’s project examines and investigates catalysts for possible use to enhance MRI approaches and results. 

Faculty Mentor: Boyd Goodson, Ph.D., Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry