Research, Research and More Research

UNC student Rehab Al-zayer

UNC student Rehab Al-zayer prepares for her poster presentation prior to Research Day.

More than 300 undergraduate and graduate students from nearly every academic discipline at UNC will share information about their research projects during 255 presentations April 12 as part of Research Day, a highlight of the school's annual Academic Excellence Week celebration.

Students will present individually or as part of a group from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the ballrooms and conference rooms of the University Center. During the course of the day, they'll be joined by more than 100 faculty members who served as their research sponsors and upwards of 600 other interested students, faculty and staff.

According to Research Day organizer Loree Crow, the number of presentations this year is up about 30 percent from last year. She attributed the increase to additional promotion of the event and undergraduate research in general by the recently established Office of Undergraduate Research.

Lest you think that all the presentations are science-oriented - such as "An investigation of the effect of kinase inhibitors against mosquito borne flaviviruses replication" - think again. Although there are numerous research projects with even more daunting-sounding science-oriented titles, there are plenty that won't require you to be a science major to understand, or enjoy.

Rehab Al-zayer, a Ph.D. candidate in Special Education, will present her approach on diagnosing learning disabilities in children.

"I have seen that many students are excluded because they can't sit still and have behavioral problems, but they are diagnosed with a learning disability," Al-zayer said.

She will present her poster from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the UC ballrooms.

Ryan Lambert, a senior in Anthropology and English, will present his research on latrinalia, or bathroom wall writing, a term coined by a favorite scholar of his, folklorist Alan Dundis.

"I think this is pop culture," Lambert said. "And we should all strive to understand this."

Lambert will give his oral presentation from 11:40-11:55 a.m. in Aspen B.

Alexandra Krumtum, a junior Anthropology major, and Samantha Brescia, a senior majoring in Journalism, will present research completed while working with refugees through UNC's Center for Engaged Research and Civic Action. The two have been helping expand the program and develop additional advocates for women's health and rights.

"I've already become engaged as a leader in this project, and I want to leave some long lasting organizational structures that can be utilized when I'm not there," Krumtum said.

They will present from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the ballrooms.

Chris Gonzales, a senior double-majoring in Anthropology and English, will present "Theory of the Mind" - how people relate through non-verbal communications. His research is focused on finding a correlation between the unconscious and conscious processes we go through to understand what someone else is thinking.

"There's an idea out there that this can't be tested," Gonzales said. "But that's like saying IQ can't be tested."

His oral presentation is from 3:40-3:55 p.m. in Spruce A.

Prizes will be awarded to the top-scoring posters and presentations among graduate and undergraduate students, with judging by faculty members.

The winners in each category will receive $200, and the overall top presentation will receive a $500 gift voucher for a purchase at Bear Logic, the campus computer store.

For more information about Research Day and other Academic Excellence Week events, visit the AEW website.

For more information about the Office of Undergraduate Research, visit the OUR website.

- Elizabeth Same, Senior Journalism Major


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