Developing Scholars showcases undergraduate student research

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Research projects with titles like “Parenting a Child with Down Syndrome,” “Data Fusion Algorithm for Mapping Crime” and “Water and Food: The Efects of the Decrease in Water Supplies on Agriculture” were on display in the K-State Student Union Ballroom on Sunday afternoon as part of the Developing Scholars Program at K-State.

Dozens of students set up displays and explained their research to visitors circling the room.

Phouc Bui, senior in microbiology, presented a project entitled “A Focused Microarray for Screening Rat Embryonic Stem Cell Lines.” He said the display helped him understand his research better.

“The more I explain it, the better I understand it, because if you can’t explain if you don’t know it,” Bui said. “And it’s nice to explain the research and get the word out.”

April Mason, university provost, attended the program and engaged the students at several exhibits.

“I’ll be giving awards and recognizing developing scholars and mentors who have been working with them,” Mason said. “We’re very proud of them, and it’s a great culminating experience to see what the students have been working on.”

Many of the topics were science-intensive, but other research was focused on less technical fields, with titles like “What Makes a Successful Logo.”

Anita Cortez, administrative director of the Developing Scholars Program, said 157 students who participated in the program have graduated so far. She said it grants many prospects to the current group of 70 students.

“The world … is allowing students to come in as freshmen and have the opportunity to do research with a professor who may be a world-renowned scientist,” Cortez said. “And it literally opens the world to the students; they learn how to think and how to question.”

Cortez said the program looked for applicants who are academically capable.

“We focus on underrepresented students in this program, students of color or first-generation college students,” Cortez said.

Visitors browsing the variety of posters paused for an awards ceremony in which students and faculty received recognition for scholarships, internships and awards.

At the beginning of the program, students greeted the audience in different languages, including Japanese, Vietnamese, Spanish, French, German and Chinese.

Michelle Foster, junior in political science and American ethnic studies, received an award for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average,

“I feel very happy that my work is appreciated; it’s not easy getting a 4.0,” Foster said. “I’m happy the Developing Scholars recognized my hard work and the hard work of others.”

Her topic was entitled “Ugly Betty’s Immigration Narrative: The Personal and the Political.” She said she spent three years working on the project.

Foster said in the first year, she focused on Latino men and masculine sexuality. In the second, she researched the immigration debate and citizenship for children, and this year, she analyzed the television show Ugly Betty, which is now over, and examined the portrayal of the title character’s father, Ignacio.

Foster said she looked at stereotypes of him from before and after his deportation on the show and what it means to be an illegal immigrant.

James Craven, junior in horticultural science, said he found the topics very interesting.

“I just decided to drop in and see what’s going on,” Craven said. “My roommate’s in the program. It’s pretty good; there’s some good research.”

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