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Forty-Five U.Va. Undergraduates Receive Harrison Research Awards

April 2, 2004 -- Forty-five students pursuing 43 projects have received Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards at the University of Virginia.

The Harrison Awards, first presented in 2000 and funded by the family of David A. Harrison III, support students who present detailed plans for independent-study research projects that have been endorsed by a faculty mentor. Students receive up to $3,000, and the faculty mentor, who oversees the project, receives $1,000.

Edward L. Ayers, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, unveiled the research awards-winners in a ceremony held today at Jefferson Hall, during a break in a symposium that included presentations from previous Harrison award-winners.

“The Harrison Awards are the flagship grants that enable undergraduates to incorporate research in their curricula,” said Nicole F. Hurd, assistant dean of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which serves as a clearinghouse for undergraduate research projects. “Research plays to the strength of the University. We are a major research University with an intimate learning environment.”

This year, the Harrison Awards totaled $160,000, with the winners selected from a pool of 140 applicants. In the first four years of the program, 150 Harrison research grants have been presented.

“One of the strengths of the University is how many students are pursuing research, regardless of funding,” Hurd said. In the past five years, undergraduate research has tripled, according to Hurd.

Approximately 50 percent of U.Va.’s 12,907 undergraduates are engaged in some form of research, including classroom and independent work, said Hurd, who noted that students who conduct research make better candidates for fellowships, graduate and professional school admissions, and career placement.

“Research has been opening doors and advancing students in meaningful ways,” she said.

Although the traditional image of research involves white coats, laboratories and test tubes, many of the undergraduate research projects are based in the humanities.

“Unlike many of our peer institutions, U.Va. has a large number of students doing research in the humanities and social sciences,” she said. “We have had more Harrison Awards given out for humanities research than for the hard sciences.”

This year’s award-winners and their research topics are:

Haitham Ahmed, Charlottesville, Va., “The Effect of 2-Methoxyestradiol on Acute Leukemia Cells”;

Kathleen Baireuther, Lancaster, Pa., “Generating Local Support for Human Rights Initiatives through Non-Governmental Organizations”;

Colin Bateson, Santa Cruz, Calif., “How Small Cracks Can Cause Big Catastrophes”;

Abigail Bellows, Vienna, Va., “Approaches to Renewal in American and British Jewish Communities”;

Jon Bernt, Arlington, Va., “Public Education as a Means of Assimilating the Berbers Under the French Protectorate in Morocco”;

Thomas Bliss, Attleboro, Mass., “Morphing Structures Technology and Its Application to Flight Control”;

Sarah Bond, Roanoke, Va., “Symbolic Space: The Spatial Significance of Roman Statues from 753 BCE to 337 CE”;

Philip Boone, Chesterfield, Mo., “Constructing a Phase Response Curve for Nocturnin Mutant Mice”;

Beth Brenner, Richmond, Va., “Regulation of the Maternal to Zygotic Transition During Vertebrate Development”;

Jennifer Buenzle, Great Falls, Va., “The Role of Estrogen in the Pathology and Treatment of Depression”;

James Casey, Richmond, Va., “Glutamine-Rich Plants as an Effective Treatment for Intestinal Diseases”;

Christina Chen, Burke, Va., “Effect of Early Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibition in the Developing Kidney of Neonatal Rats with Partial or Complete Unilateral Ureteral Obstruction”;

Emily Cubbon, Half Moon Bay, Calif., “Architecture and Social, Political and Ritual Organization in the Regional System: Chaco Canyon and Its Outliers”;

Laine D’Augustine, Cincinnati, Ohio, “Analysis of Cardiac Wave Images to Characterize Human Atrial Fibrillation”;

Elizabeth Ellis-Marino, Phoenix, Ariz., “Piety and Violence in Reformation Lubeck”;

Brenda Goguen, Woodbridge, Va., “Synthesis of Biocompatible Polymeric Metal Complexes for Use as a Research Tool and Therapeutic Treatment”;

Paige Gottheim, Melville, N.Y., “An Analysis of Recent Australian Sperm Laws: Viability, Implementation and Motives”;

Andrew Gray, Nashville, Tenn., “Nationalism and Recent Political Turmoil in Bolivia”;

Zeina Hamad, McLean, Va., “Arab-Israeli Identity”;

John Hardcastle, Glen Gardner, N.J., “A Numerical Method to Optimize Infrared-Mediated Thermocycling of the Polymerase Chain Reaction”;

Reema Hijazi, Oak Hill, Va., and Sam Brody, New York, N.Y. , “Changing Strategies and Emerging Movements — the Transition in Palestinian and Israeli Approaches to Peace Following the Second Intifada”;

Cassandra Hill, Warrenton, Va., “Relaxation of Polarized Nuclei for Use With MRI”;
Zane Johnson, Lynchburg, Va., “Vocal Music in Kathakali Performance”;

Katherine Koen, Burke, Va., “Improving Upon Rape Kit Processing Using Lab-on-a-Chip Technology”;

Anne Krome-Lukens, Toano, Va., “Who Are These People? The Use of Anthropological Experts in Planning U.S. Occupations”;

Qiao Ma, Jiangmen City, Guangdong Province, China, “Credit Cards and Credit Culture: Creating Institutions in the U.S., Korea and China”;

Andrew Matz, Lorton, Va., “The Redl Affair: Identity and Sexuality in Fin-de-Siecle Vienna”;

Katharine Morrow, Bethesda, Md., “Latino Immigrant Reactions to President Bush’s Proposal for a Temporary Worker Program”;

Ali Naini, Vienna, Va., “Grameen Banking in the Third World City”;

Sara Page, Salem, Va., “Discovering a Democracy in CCP China”;

Amanda Pallais, Richmond, Va., “Effect of Group Size on Rationality”;

Zachary Rowinski, Earlysville, Va., “Buddhism and the Science Web Portal”;

Maho Shibata, Ichikawa Chiba, Japan, “Drosophila as a Model System to Study Epigenetic Regulation”;

Jennifer Silvers, Bethesda, Md., “The Physiology of Elevation: Can Oxytocin Make You a Better Person?”;

Michael Simmers, Vernon, Conn., “Tracking the Dynamic Remodeling and Stabilization of the Endothelium in Response to Hemodynamic Shear Stress Wave Forms”;

Annis Steiner, Bryn Athyn, Pa., and Larissa Kravanja, East Brunswick, N.J., “Gender Equality: A Case Study of Ghana”;

Anne Stephens, Greenwood Village, Colo., “Exploring the United States’ Involvement in the Creation of the International Criminal Court”;

Meghan Sullivan, Greensboro, N.C., “Armstrong’s Mouse: Combinatorialism and the Metaphysics of Possibility”;

Yogesh Surendranath, Kent, Ohio, “Tungsten-Mediated Dearomatization of Nitrogen Heterocycles”;

Arsalan Tavakoli, Reston, Va., “Battling Censorship: U.S. Foreign Policy and Its Effects in Iran”;

Katherine Timpano, Montpelier, Va., “MEMS Fatigues Reliability: Miniaturizing Our World”;

Sarah Tuke, Nashville, Tenn., “The Influence of U.S. Assessment of Soviet and Chinese Intentions and Capabilities on the Perceived Threat of Communism in Vietnam Under J.F.K. and L.B.J., 1962-1965”; and

Amber Turner, Ewing, Va., “Explorations in Angiogenesis: Inducing Capillary Network Formation via Mechanical Stimulation of Vascular Endothelial Cells.”

Contact: Nicole Hurd, (434) 924-7727

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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