Festival of Excellence

This is an archived program. To view the program for the current year, please go to suu.edu/excellence/program.

Festival of Excellence Honor Roll

About the Honor Roll

The Festival of Excellence Honor Roll recognizes exceptional student presentations. Award recipients are selected by the dean of their academic college based on the students' ability to disseminate their work to an interdisciplinary audience. The number of recipients in each college is based on the total number of presentations from the college. Each awardee receives a certificate in recognition of their accomplishment and a $150 SUU Bookstore gift card.

2015 Honor Roll Recipients

College of Performing & Visual Arts

Inspiration vs Desperation: Recital and Lecture

Presentation ID: 309

Presenters: Alex J. Byers & Jacob Lee
Mentor: Dr. Keith Bradshaw
Presentation Type: Performance
Category: Creative Expression

Abstract:


An honest discussion of the musical composition and the influence of deadlines, assignments, and day-to-day life on creativity from the perspective of two student composers. The recital will showcase world-premieres of 8 different compositions, performed by SUU faculty and students. The lecture, which will take place prior to the recital, will feature a discussion of the process involved in writing and revising the music performed.

School of Business

Ball Don't Lie

Presentation ID: 116

Presenter: Gentry Julian
Mentor: Dr. Joshua Price
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Scholarship to Increase our Physical and/or Mental Well-being

Abstract:


Beginning in the 2006-07 season, the NBA began to use a synthetic ball instead of the traditional leather basketball. My research alongside Dr. Joshua Price is to examine if player performance is affected by the use of the two different balls. This article is designed to be submitted to an academic peer-reviewed journal. We hope to submit our work by February 2014.

Walter Maxwell Gibson College of Science & Engineering

Electronic Transitions of Cyclic Molecules

Presentation ID: 141

Presenter: Matthew B. Prater
Mentor: Dr. Amber McConnell
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Innovation in Specialized Disciplines

Dean's Comments:


Matt went to his Physical Chemistry instructor and asked to complete an Honors contract for that class. This was the first time Dr, McConnell had ever had such a request. The project, which is publishable, uses a numerical methodology (the introduction of a constant) to bring computational chemical data into agreement with experimental data.

Abstract:


Mathematical models for the path and energy of electrons have long been studied and used to understand properties of particles on the atomic scale. The particle in a ring model is under-used because of its limitations, and this project focuses on broadening the application. Following the work of understanding those limitations, work was undertaken to find a mathematical correction that would account for the differences between the model and the experimental results. Preliminary results show that this new model works and can be used to corroborate experimental data with theoretical understanding for laboratory experiments. Undergraduate students my find it very useful to visualize how the theoretical does not always match exactly with the experimental results.

The Effects of Umbellularia californica Essential Oil on the Cutaneous Vasculature of Frogs

Presentation ID: 083

Presenter: Stephan Maman
Mentor: Dr. Matthew Weeg, Mary Jo Tufte
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Scholarship in the Outdoors

Dean's Comments:


In this project an essential oil from a common plant, reported to improve circulation, was tested on frogs. Actual video showing the vascular dilatation was shown. An impressive piece of research for undergraduates.

Abstract:


Most plant species produce chemical compounds called secondary metabolites that enhance fitness in a variety of ways. Many of these compounds are also physiologically active in vertebrates and have widespread medicinal uses. The most ubiquitous secondary metabolites are the terpenoids, many of which cause vasodilation of the aorta and mesenteric arteries. In this study, we examined the vasoactive effects of the essential oil of Umbellularia californica, which contains the terpenoid umbellulone. Oil obtained via steam distillation using aerial portions of U. californica was applied directly to cutaneous arterioles of frogs. Arteriole diameter was monitored both before and after oil application by video microscopy. Within seconds of application, the oil caused significant vasoconstriction that persisted until the oil was washed off. Our control, medical grade sesame oil, caused no observable effects when applied using the same protocols. These results are opposite to the vasodilatory effects of terpenoids on aortic rings and mesenteric arteries. This suggests that the vasoactive effects of umbellulone are different from other terpenoids, that the vasoactive effects of terpenoids differ depending on blood vessel type, or that application of the complete essential oil affects vasculature differently than application of the isolated terpenoid.

A Microfluidic Device for Oxygen Quantitation in Anoxic Waters

Presentation ID: 223

Presenter: Samantha McKay & Lohra Miller
Mentor: Dr. Chris Monson
Presentation Type: Poster
Category: Innovation in Specialized Disciplines

Dean's Comments:


A very clear poster presentation of a difficult problem and the attempts to solve it. Lohra was extremely knowledgeable and presented herself, and the project very well. Although this is a team project, I was particularly impressed with this presenter.

Abstract:


Anoxic water, or water containing very low levels of oxygen, are important and relatively common. We are attempting to create a microfluidic device to measure low oxygen levels that will be less expensive and more sensitive than current STOX techniques. Measuring the amount of oxygen present in “anoxic” water (<1% of oxygen saturation) is both challenging and important. Low oxygen levels occur both naturally and experimentally in many different settings, and measuring the actual oxygen level can be important in determining what types of chemical processes can occur. Currently, the method for measuring low oxygen concentration is to use an STOX electrode, which is expensive and relies on a diffusion-limited current to measure dissolved oxygen. We are attempting to create a microfluidic-based STOX-like device employing active (magnetohydrodynamic) transport. This should be much less expensive than an STOX electrode and it should produce a greater current for a given oxygen level, giving our device an overall better oxygen detection limit.

Accuracy of Consumer Fitness Monitors and Agreement with Common Nutrition Assessment Tools and Equations

Presentation ID: 267

Presenters: Kendra Nelson & McKay Erickson
Mentor: Dr. Cynthia Wright
Presentation Type: Poster
Category: Scholarship to Increase our Physical and/or Mental Well-being

Dean's Comments:


Although the sample size was small, I was impressed with the design of the experiment, the ability of Kendra to recognize the limitations of the data, and the clear, concise manner in which she presented her poster.

Abstract:


Ten individuals will be asked to simultaneously wear six devices and use a smart phone-based application designed to track activity such as steps taken and calories burned in order to analyze the accuracy of consumer fitness trackers. These devices will be worn for 24 hours and data from the trackers, as well as subject anthropometric data, will be collected and analyzed. Subjects will have body fat measured via both air-displacement plethysmography and bioelectrical impedance analysis and have their energy expenditure measured via calorimetry. Data from all sources will be analyzed and compared against common energy estimation tools used in the nutrition field to better understand the accuracy of consumer fitness trackers used to estimate energy expenditure.

Study the Stability of Steady Solutions for a Model of Mutualism

Presentation ID: 143

Presenters: Amy Gifford & Brennon Bauer
Mentor: Dr. Jianlong Han
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Innovation in Specialized Disciplines

Dean's Comments:


Although a mathematically heavy presentation, this already published work was well presented. Both presenters spoke clearly, explained difficult concepts well and generally engaged the audience.

Abstract:


Mutualism is the way two organisms of different species exist in a relationship in which each individual benefits from the activity of the other. We study a mathematical model of mutualism. The stability of the steady state solutions of this system will be analyzed. Also, we give some numerical experiments that verify the theoretical results for those steady solutions.

College of Humanities & Social Sciences

The Umbrella

Presentation ID: 026

Presenter: Kenneth Ayers
Mentor: Dr. Danielle Dubrasky
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Creative Expression

Abstract:


This is a story of a man who has coped with his loss in a productive way, though he has overcompensated into OCD. However, he is happy with the life he has made for himself. One day, his son comes by unexpectedly and throws his system of coping into disarray. Once his son leaves, he is ready to let him pass from his life so that he can have a peaceful life once again. At least, until he has a dream that offers an alternative possibility...

Searching for Predictors of Grit

Presentation ID: 093

Presenter: Kelton Whittaker
Mentor: Dr. Bradley Gregory
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Scholarship to Increase our Physical and/or Mental Well-being

Abstract:


Grit—perseverance and passion for long-term goals—is a personality trait related to achievement that can predict success better than talent. Little is known though about how to promote or foster it, but understanding its relatedness to other constructs may help. Locus of control, motivation, and procrastination were examined as possible correlates and predictors.

Contemporary Latin American Narrative

Presentation ID: 058

Presenter: Dayana Lamb
Mentor: Dr. Iliana Portaro
Presentation Type: Oral
Category: Global Scholarship

Abstract:


Students in Spanish 4000 (Introduction to Hispanic Literature) have been practicing close literary analysis through the study of short stories, a novel, poetry, and non-fiction produced in contemporary Latin America. Inspired by the Uruguayan author, Horacio Quiroga (1878-1937) and his ten rules for writing a perfect story, we have focused on the art of articulating and defending interpretations through short analytical essays and presentations. In addition, students have been working on how to lead discussions about literary topics with grammatical and lexical characteristics reflective of an advanced proficiency level in Spanish. In this presentation, students have been selected to present their best completed work and are divided into two groups. One group will discuss their analysis of short stories by Gabriel Garcia Márquez (Colombia), Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), Juan Rulfo (Mexico), and Isabel Allende (Perú/Chile). The second group will examine "Ciudad de payasos" (2011), a graphic novel by the critically-acclaimed Peruvian-American author, Daniel Alarcón. Selected students from the course will also participate as discussants of the short papers presented. This presentation will be conducted in Spanish.