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Student research mentor, posters garner awards

A man and a woman shake hands while holding an award and looking at the camera.

Linda Blockus, MU’s director of undergraduate research, presents Chemical Engineering Department Assistant Professor Matthew Bernard with the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award at an awards ceremony April 24.

At the “Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum” held April 23, chemical engineering Assistant Professor Matthew Bernards won the Office of Undergraduate Research’s 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor Award, and engineering students took top honors for their research posters.

Bernards was selected from a field of 11 student-nominated faculty-mentors. Criteria for the award included a supportive lab environment; student encouragement to both complete research projects and showcase scholarly and creative achievements; promotion of professional development and networking opportunities and student skill mastery.

“Overall, a research mentor needs to be able to motivate their students, encourage them to succeed and present them with opportunities to grow and develop as students, researchers and human beings,” a student nominator wrote, adding that Bernards inspired him on a daily basis.

Also nominated from engineering were Baolin Deng, La Pierre Professor of civil and environmental engineering, who also serves as department chair in chemical engineering, and Yi Shang, professor and director of graduate studies in computer science.

Four students — two men and two women — hold award certificates in a group photo.

The winner and honorable mentions for the Chancellor’s Award in the physical sciences and engineering category at the Undergraduate Research Forum’s poster competition pose for a group photo with their award certificates. From left are, winner James Winkleman, honorable mentions Emily O’Brien, Kyle East and Akia Parks. Not pictured: honorable mention Dakota Botts.

More than half of the 275 students competing in UG Forum were engineers, and five of them were honored in the campuswide event’s physical sciences and engineering category. Bioengineering student James Winkelmann won the Chancellor’s Award for his poster, “Cultivation of a metastatic cancer cell after capture using a photoacoustic flowometry detection system.” Winkelmann works in the lab of Professor John Viator.

Winning honorable mentions for their posters in the physical sciences and engineering category at the MU Undergraduate Forum on April 24 were:

Akia Parks, a bioengineering senior working in the lab of Professor John Viator, for “Photoacoustic detection of Escherichia coli bacteria cells for screening of septicemia.”

Dakota Botts, a chemical engineering sophomore working in the lab of Professor Thomas Marreo, for “Modern methods for pelletization and agglomeration of green biomass-a review.”

Kyle East, a mechanical and aerospace junior working in the lab of Associate Professor Gary Solbrekken, for “Using an optical laser deflection measurement system to analyze flow induced deflection and vibration.”

Emily O’Brien, a bioengineering junior working in the lab of Assistant Professor Heather Hunt, for “Detection of Campylobacter jejuni using whispering gallery mode optical biosensors in an aqueous environment.

Life Sciences Week

Engineers also did well at the 2013 “Missouri Life Sciences Week @ Mizzou!” poster competition in the bioengineering and informatics category.

Jing Wang, a doctoral candidate working with chemical engineering Assistant Professor Sheila Baker, took second place for “Developing microwave-assisted ionic liquid microextraction for the detection and tracking of hydrophobic pesticides in environmental matrices.”

Veterinary pathobiology doctoral student Allison Ostdiek, working with biological engineering Professor Sheila Grant, won an honorable mention for “Assessment of decellularized aortic tissue as a vascular patch material.”

Megan Schroeder, working with chemical engineering Assistant Professor Matthew Bernards, won an excellence in undergraduate research award for her poster on “Investigating polymer based biomaterials for improved medical implant performance.”

Emily O’Brien, working with biological engineering Assistant Professor Heather Hunt, won an honorable mention in undergraduate research for her paper, “Detection of Campylobacter jejuni using whispering gallery mode optical biosensors in an aqueous enviro.”