Tag Archives: Chris Akers

Student Research Week 2014 – Leave Your Mark

By Hayley Cox

SRW2014Poster

The 17th annual Student Research Week (SRW), a student run event on the Texas A&M campus, was a success in showcasing undergraduate research throughout the last week of March. This event illuminates the outstanding research undertaken by Texas A&M graduate and undergraduate students, allowing students to receive feedback from their peers as well as experts in their respective fields of research.

“Student Research Week 2014 is a platform for showcasing outstanding research undertaken by graduate and undergraduate students of Texas A&M University. This week long celebration of presenting innovative ideas is our initiative to inculcate the spirit of research amongst the present generation. The event offers an opportunity to meet stalwarts in the respective fields of research, interact with them and receive valuable feedback from them and their peers.” (http://srw.tamu.edu/)

This year’s SRW theme “Leave Your Mark” encouraged students to bring as much to the table as possible during their careers at Texas A&M, and to leave a legacy that will be remembered.

First place winner in the Earth Sciences category of the SRW oral presentations, Dillon Amaya, presented the research he did this past summer at the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory. Amaya, also an Undergraduate Research Ambassador, looked at the different impacts El Niño and Modoki El Niño have on tropical Atlantic sea surface temperatures. Amaya said, “I’m honored to have been chosen for this award.” He said, “Student Research Week was a great opportunity to improve my scientific communication skills and I would encourage others to participate in the future.”

First place winner in the Math category of the SRW oral presentations, William Linz,  University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar (UGRS) presented his project of enumerating derangements on a Ferrers Board. Linz explained, “Simply put, for a set of objects, a permutation is an ordering of that set of objects. Given a permutation of those objects, a derangement from that permutation is another ordering of those objects which has no object in the same place as in the given permutation. For example, if {1, 2, 3} is a given set of objects, and 1 2 3 is the initial permutation, then the derangements from the permutation 1 2 3 are 2 3 1 and 3 1 2. A Ferrers Board is a grid (or chessboard) of some particular size (for our purpose, the size of the permutation) with a section missing.” This research has applications in theoretical computer science and mathematical biology.

The University Honors Student and Scholar said, “I was thrilled to be named an award winner, as it was my first time giving a public presentation over my research.” He said, “I’d like to thank my research mentor Dr. Catherine Yan for all the help she has provided me.”

Second place winner in the Psychology category of the SRW oral presentations, Samantha Guz, worked with Dr. Rispoli and Jennifer Ninci on her presentation in Educational Psychology. Guz, a University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar, studied learning and communication processes in preschoolers with an autism spectrum diagnosis. Guz said, “My success at Student Research Week can be accredited to fantastic mentorship and guidance from the Undergraduate Research Scholars program, as well as Dr. Rispoli and her research team in Educational Psychology.”

Each of the 10 categories that students presented in  during Student Research Week 2014 awarded first and second place prizes for the top poster and oral presentation.  Out of these 40 awards, 23 went to students who are members of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Fourteen students winning these prizes are University Honors Students, and four prize-winners currently participate in their respective study’s departmental honors program. The first and second place winners in the Earth Science oral category, Dillon Amaya and Matthew McMahon are both Undergraduate Research Ambassadors. McMahon is also a University Honors Student. What a great showing for Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR)!

In competition with around 300 contenders, members of Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) took over 70% of the undergraduate prizes. See the list below for details on SRW 2014 undergraduate prize-winners:

Astronomy:
Oral
1st Sherwin Chiu (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Chris Akers (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Austin Schneider (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)
2nd Alyssa Shyan Rosas

Biology:
Oral
1st Aaron Griffin (University Honors, University Scholar and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Amrita Sherlekar

Poster
1st Ramsey Yusuf
2nd Kaylee Davis (University Honors, University Scholar,  and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Earth Sciences:
Oral
1st Dillon Joseph Amaya (Undergraduate Research Ambassador)
2nd Matthew McMahon (Undergraduate Research Ambassador and University Honors)

Poster
1st Kathryn Westerman
2nd Kathleen McDaniel (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Engineering:
Oral
1st Robert Tyler (Undergraduate Research Scholar from TAMUG) Tim Kroeger (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Hari Shrestha
2nd Lauralee Mariel Valverde (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Health:
Oral
1st Amie Maree Klein
2nd Rachel Guess (University Honors)

Poster
1st Edwin Mathew Savio
2nd Jessica Justice (Undergraduate Research Scholar) and Conor Irwin (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

History:
Oral
1st Jacquelyn Sariah Hill (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Alexandra Frenzel

Poster
1st Mikayla Paige Hall (Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Saad Dawoodi (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Math:
Oral
1st William Linz (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Ryan Olivieri (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Tyler Jered Biehle (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Ruiz Akpan

Medicine:
Oral
1st Keith Krenek (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Jason Szafron (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Zachary Andrew Steelman (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)
2nd Emily Veerkamp (University Honors)

Plant Science:
Oral
1st Konni Kelso (Departmental Honors)
2nd Vincent Provasek (Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Anna Kathryn Blick
2nd Kerstin Alander

Psychology:
Oral
1st Taylor Vestal (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)
2nd Samantha Rachel Guz (University Honors and Undergraduate Research Scholar)

Poster
1st Esteffania Adriana Lezama
2nd Victoria Kimmel (University Honors)

Melbern G. Glasscock Humanities Award:
Esteffania Adriana Lezama

Sigma Xi Theme Award:
1st Edwin Mathew Savio
2nd Hari Shrestha

Sigma Xi interdisciplinary Award:
1st Victoria Kimmel (University Honors)
2nd Taylor Vestal (Undergraduate Research Scholar and Departmental Honors)

Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) is extremely proud of its students, as well as all of those who participated in Student Research Week. Way to Leave Your Mark!

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Meet Our 2013 National Fellowship Nominees!

By Hayley Cox

Honors and Undergraduate Research (HUR) has nominated nine students for National Fellowships including the George C. Marshall Scholarship, the George Mitchell Scholarship, and the American Rhodes Scholarship!

The Marshall Scholarship finances up to 40 young Americans of high ability to study for a graduate degree in any field of study in the United Kingdom. The selected scholars’ direct engagement with Britain through its best academic programs contributes to their ultimate personal success.

The Mitchell Scholarship is a nationally competitive award sponsored by the US-Ireland Alliance. It was named in honor of former U.S. Senator Mitchell’s contribution to the Northern Ireland peace process and designed to introduce upcoming future American leaders to Ireland, while fostering scholarship, leadership, and community commitment.

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest international fellowship awards around the world. 32 young Americans are selected each year as Rhodes Scholars from 300 American colleges and universities. These scholars are chosen for outstanding scholarly achievements along with character, commitment to others, and for their potential leadership in their career aspirations. The Rhodes Trust, honoring Cecil J. Rhodes, provides full support for Rhodes Scholars to pursue a degree at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

HUR’s 2013 nominees for these prestigious fellowships include:

Chris Akers – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Dillon Amaya – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Shelby Bieritz – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Emily Boster –Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee
Daniel Miller – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Stephen O’Shea – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee
Andy Sanchez – Rhodes Scholarship Nominee, Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Kindall Stephens – Marshall Scholarship Nominee
Philip “Dane” Warren – Marshall Scholarship Nominee, Mitchell Scholarship Nominee

Chris Akers
Chris Akers
Chris Akers, a physics student pursuing minor degrees in both math and philosophy, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces at the Imperial College London or Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Akers is the co-founder and Vice President of the revamped Society of Physics Students at Texas A&M in which he invented Physics Phamilies groups and transformed the leadership structure. He was a Fish Camp Co-chairperson from November 2012 to September 2013, and he assists Dr. Tatiana Erukhimova in her presentations of her famous physics show to children in grade school. Akers has also made three research symposium presentations including his work “Assembly Database for the VIRUS Project” at the TAMU Astronomy Symposium. He is a President’s Endowed Scholar at Texas A&M and was awarded the “Mechanics Scholar” title for his excellent score on Texas A&M’s Mechanics Scholar test. Akers is a runner, plays chess, and trains in Crossfit.

Dillon Amaya
Dillon Amaya
Dillon Amaya, a meteorology student pursuing a minor degree in oceanography, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Ocean and Earth Sciences at the University of Southampton or Polar Studies at the University of Cambridge, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. An advocate for exercise, Amaya is a member of the Texas A&M Club Racquetball Team and several intramural teams. He is heavily involved with the College of Geosciences Undergraduate Recruitment Team and has given tours to high school seniors interested in the program for the past three years. Amaya was also the Vice President of the Texas A&M Student Chapter of the American Meteorology Society. He aspires to be a professor of climate sciences or physical oceanography at a Tier 1 research university in either the US or the UK.

Shelby Bieritz
Shelby Bieritz
Shelby Bieritz, a biomedical engineering student pursuing a minor degree in mathematics, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Biomedical Engineering at Aston University or Biomedical Research at University College of London. Bieritz has widely spread interests, from engineering to musical performance. She was a member of MSC Town Hall at Texas A&M where she served as the Advertising Executive for the 2011-2012 academic year. Bieritz also organized a regional conference for the National Association of Engineering Student Councils while she was a member of the Texas A&M University Student Engineers’ Council. In the future, the senior hopes to complete a PhD in biomedical engineering with a focus on total artificial heart development in order to create a pediatric heart that can be specialized to a child’s needs and conditions. To accomplish this, Bieritz hopes to manage a laboratory and adapt a heart pump to a variety of congenital heart conditions.

Emily Boster
Emily Boster
Emily Boster, an aerospace engineering student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Engineering Design at the University of Bath or Aerospace Engineering and Management at the University of Glasglow, along with her nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Boster interned at Lockheed Martin Space Systems for 12 weeks in summer 2013 and at Space X for 10 weeks in summer 2010. She also works in Texas A&M University’s Astronomical Instrumentation lab. Boster enjoys playing guitar and composing her own music and lyrics, and she recently started playing along with her church’s band in College Station. Throughout her high school and undergraduate education, Boster was awarded with the Astronaut Scholarship, the AIAA Foundation Scholarship, the President’s Endowed Scholarship, and the Aggieland Bound Scholarship. For the past year, the senior also started fostering retired racing greyhounds and has been working on extending the reach of this Austin-based organization to the Bryan/College Station area.

Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller
Daniel Miller, an electrical and computer engineering (ECEN) and applied mathematics (APMS) double major, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either Advanced Computer Science at the University of Cambridge or Machine Learning at the University College of London. Miller holds a perfect 4.0 GPA at Texas A&M University and has done programming work for both Lincoln Laboratory and Silicon Laboratory. As an Undergraduate Research Scholar, Miller created an energy model for residential solar water heated in which he designed and implemented a data logging and system control board. He is continuing to work on implementing statistical forecasting and predictive control methods to his model. Miller also intends to build a plasma speaker, a Gauss gun and an automated laser flyswatter in his free time. The engineer has been a swimmer since age five and has recently picked up hobbies in running, hiking, and rock climbing. In the future, Miller intends to pursue a Master’s degree in Machine Learning and a Doctorate focusing on renewable energy systems. His overall goal is to improve the global environment, and to address the issues caused by an increasing energy demand.

Stephen O'Shea
Stephen O’Shea
Stephen O’Shea, an English student with a focus in creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study creative writing at either City University of Kingston University, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship and the Rhodes Scholarship. O’Shea has worked as a writing consultant with the Texas A&M University Writing Center. He also presented a research project on creative writers in the Writing Center at a conference in Corpus Christi and implemented a university-wide Creative Writing Workshop that began in spring 2013. O’Shea’s work has been published by both “Explorations: the Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal” and “The Eckleburg Project: the Literary Magazine of Texas A&M University.” The creative writing student was selected as an executive for Aggie Leaders of Tomorrow (A LOT) during his sophomore year. He participated in the Texas A&M Jazz Band as Lead Tenor Saxophone and played alto saxophone at Aggie home basketball games with the Hullabaloo Band. O’Shea hopes to be an author of research-based fiction, first by completing and publishing his “From the Land of Genesis” collection, and later he hopes to become a professor.

Andy Sanchez
Andy Sanchez
Andy Sanchez, a chemical engineering student pursuing minor degrees in chemistry and creative writing, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to obtain either a Masters in Advanced Chemical Engineering or a Masters in Catalysis at the Imperial College of London, along with his nomination for the Rhodes Scholarship. Sanchez is a screener and editor for the Callaloo Journal of African Diaspora Arts and Letters. He has also worked as a Catalyst Developer with ExxonMobil Process Research doing supplemental projects in catalyst synthesis and modeling. Sanchez is the Corporate Relations Chair of the Student Engineers’ Council (SEC), an organization which seeks to increase engineering awareness and promote professional development of students. He is also a member of the Alpha Psi Omega Theatre Honors Fraternity, and he acted as a Sophomore Honors Advisor. The chemical engineering student has been recognized as a University Scholar, a 2013 Craig Brown Outstanding Senior English Engineer, and an American Chemical Society Scholar. In the future, he plans to pursue research with a focus in petrochemical catalysis, and to ultimately rise to a technical management position to coordinate this research.

Kindall Stephens
Kindall Stephens
Kindall Stephens, an environmental design student, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study Architecture at either the Architectural Association or London Metropolitan University. Stephens worked for LaMarr Womack & Associates Architects as an architectural intern in summer 2013 and has attended four national conferences for the American Institute of Architecture Students. Stephens was a Fish Camp counselor at Texas A&M University, and she has served as Career Fair Coordinator and President for the university’s chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students for the past two years. She is an active member of Habitat for Humanity at Texas A&M and is on the founding committee for a new campus wide service organization called BUILD. She was a member of the Best Overall Team at Design Workshop’s Design Week, a National Winner of AIAS and SAGEW Foundation Renewing Home Student Design Competition, and AIA Brazos Scholarship Recipient. In the future, the architecture student plans to obtain her architectural license and to work as both an architect and a professor.

Philip "Dane" Warren
Philip “Dane” Warren
Philip “Dane” Warren, an economics student pursuing a minor in art & architecture history, has been nominated for the Marshall Scholarship to study either International Public Policy at the University College of London or Global Environment, Politics, and Society at the University of Edinburgh, along with his nomination for the Mitchell Scholarship. Warren has worked for Camp Invention during most summers, but spent this past summer interning with Clean Water Action. Warren was also a Teaching Assistant for the course Energy, Resources, and their Use and Importance to Society. Next semester he will be a Section Instructor, teaching students about the energy industry and writing skills. Warrens work with partner Mariah Lord “Cap and Trade and Global Compromise” was published in Explorations: The Texas A&M Undergraduate Journal. He is currently working on a project to evaluate the effectiveness of residential water utility pricing programs and is the Chair of the Aggie Green Fund Advisory Committee. He is also a Team Leader in Texas A&M’s The Big Event, a student-led volunteering project. Warren presented his research at an academic conference in Hiroshima, Japan and has been recognized as a Texas A&M University Honors Student and Undergraduate Research Scholar.

HUR would like to congratulate all of these outstanding nominees and wish them luck in the selection process for the Marshall, Mitchell, and Rhodes Scholarships! We are so proud of your hard work!