News & Updates


CARA Pro-Bono project in Dilley, TX

“I volunteered a week for CARA Pro-Bono project at Dilley, Texas. The CARA Pro-Bono project was focused in a detention center for women and children seeking asylum. I was a translator helping prepare clients for their credible fear interview with the asylum officer. As a student majoring in social work, it was very difficult for me to assist these women with children because I wanted to do everything to help them but there was only so much I could do to assist. Hearing their stories was very heartbreaking because these strong women were leaving their countries to save their child’s life as well as their own. Often times, they were being threatened by dangerous gangs, running away from extremely abusive relationships, and many more issues. Nonetheless, my experience at the detention center was very powerful and I will continue to advocate for these individuals.”
Graciela Popoca with a group of people during the project.
Graciela Popoca (SWK ’21), faculty mentors: Anette Sikka and Deborah Anthony

CARA Pro-Bono project in Dilley, TX

CARA Pro Bono group photo


“Hello! My name is Alexander Phelps. I am currently finishing my degree in Political Science and Global Studies. This summer I had the unique opportunity to travel to Dilley, Texas in order to serve as a legal assistant at the South Texas Family Detention Center. Along with five other students and two faculty members, my group and I spent a week preparing clients at the detention center for their credible fear interviews to receive asylum in the United States. For over twelve hours each day, I conducted “preps” in Spanish while taking notes of each client’s individual case. While the work was very difficult, I was consistently encouraged by the strength, dignity, and courage of the women and children in the detention center. Upon reflection, my time in Dilley was particularly impactful because it forced me to reevaluate my degree from a new perspective of immigration reform, justice, and humanism. I will always remember working with my clients, and it is for this reason I am grateful to the University for providing us the financial means to conduct our work; to Dr. Sikka and Dr. Anthony for their guidance; and to my incredible group of classmates who went to Dilley with me: Vanesa, Yuli, Sonia, Maria, and Graciela.”

Alex Phelps (PSC ’20), faculty mentors: Anette Sikka and Deborah Anthony


Summer Airborne Particulate Matter in Urban Chinese Cities

Lee Crank (MS ENS)

“The summer of 2019 will forever be remembered as the time I spent six weeks in Japan and China performing graduate level research. Looking back on the experience, I still cannot fathom the opportunity as it was such a privilege to experience two very different cultures while also monitoring air quality.  I am also thankful to have received a GSR fund as it provided me with a means to perform valuable air quality research! I was motivated to monitor particulate matter while in China, especially after learning about China’s implementation of new air quality standards from my professor Tih-Fen Ting [ENS] – I was curious to see whether China’s new air quality policies were localized or not. The GSR fund allowed me to purchase an IGERESS air quality monitor that measured PM 10, PM 2.5, PM 1, formaldehyde, total volatile organic compounds, temperature, and humidity. I believe the data I collected…shows an interesting relationship between anthropogenic air pollution levels and China’s monsoon season – weather directly effecting air quality.”

Lee Crank (MS ENS), faculty mentor: Dennis Ruez (ENS)

Short-Term Monitoring of Ambient Sulfur Dioxide in China

Caleb Froidcoeur

“While I was in China, I was able to perform air quality research with a professor and a few other students. Although I learned a lot while I was in China, if it weren’t for the GSR fund, I would have learned less about the air quality. I was surprised several times that the air readings were far better than I had expected. However, there were also days where the air readings were worse than I thought possible. In numerous ways, measuring China’s air quality on a daily basis helped me to develop a better understanding of the environmental situation there – I began to ask myself why I was getting the readings, and I was often surprised by what we determined to be the cause of that day’s air quality readings.”

Caleb Froidcoeur (MS ENS), faculty mentor: Dennis Ruez (ENS)

Comparative study on indoor and outdoor volatile organic compound levels between US and China

Lucy Perlman ENS 2020

“My experience during the Wanxiang Fellows trip was truly unforgettable. I met so many amazing new people from a culture so different from my own while in China, yet we were still able to become friends. I learned a vast amount about a variety of subjects, from renewable energies to Chinese culture, language, and of course, food! While in China I visited Beijing, Shanghai, and Hangzhou, which is where we were stationed for the majority of the program. The money granted by the USR fund provided me with the opportunity to test air quality abroad, and to continue with air quality testing in the U.S., giving me the ability to further my own research in the field. The program was a once in a lifetime experience that I will cherish for years to come, both because of the knowledge I gained academically, and the exposure to a new culture!”

Lucy Perlman (ENS ’20), faculty mentor: Dennis Ruez (ENS)

Legally Imposed Racial Trauma and Historical Memory Post-Brown

“I have researched the implications of the Brown vs. Board of Education decision and the unintended consequences it had on teachers of color. The most confounding finding was that over 38,000 African American teachers lost their job as a result of integration. Considering the current shortage of teachers of color nationally, I wanted to determine if there is a link to Brown and the current teacher shortage. This idea and the support from the school has allowed for me to travel and present my research at the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry (ICQI) in Champaign, IL. It was an honor to be considered a member of the research community and speaking alongside doctoral students.”

Jennifer Brooks (TEP ’20), faculty mentor: Jennifer Martin (TEP)

Green Chemistry and Nanotechnology for Environmental Remediation

Natalie Kerr
Natalie Kerr presented at the 2019 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at Kennesaw, GA.

“Embarking on an undergraduate research project was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far at UIS because of the direct faculty support provided and the ability to be directly involved in every step of the project. Learning how to develop my own project and goals provided me with essential skills. It made me a far better reader, critical thinker, and scientist who is comfortable both in the lab and in the literature! ​Presenting at NCUR, STARS, and the Emiquon Science Symposium taught me to fluently discuss my project and to tailor my explanations to my audience. Undergraduate research also taught me about my own limitations and time management, I have endless admiration for the researchers who tirelessly and determinedly persevere to better our understanding of the world. My project focused on using clean, green, sustainable methods to manufacture an iron nanoparticle capable of water remediation. The interdisciplinary nature of UIS shone through in this project because even though it was a strictly lab-based nano-scale experiment, the environmental, social, business, and health implications of our research were considered throughout.”

Natalie Kerr (CHE ’20), faculty mentor: Keenan Dungey (CHE)

A survey analysis of the impact of residency requirements on municipal employees in Illinois

Jennifer Wellman
Jennifer Wellman (DPA ’19) analyzing the 1,011 responses to her research inquiries.

“My research was conducted in two phases.  Phase one was a request to participate in the research sent to 452 municipalities in Illinois.  The second phase was an employee survey sent by email and snail-mail to a municipal contact person.  In total 1,011usable responses were received from municipal employees in Illinois.  I analyzed the data to understand the effect of residency restrictions on municipal employees’ levels of public service motivation and organizational citizenship behaviors, and their experience of community. The money from the GSR fund was used for printing survey materials and mailing the requests for participation and reminder post-cards to the municipalities.  I have submitted a presentation proposal to the Midwest Public Affairs Conference in September 2019; and I look forward to sharing my research at STARS and with the UIS DPA community during the 2019-2020 academic year.” Dr. Jennifer Wellman (DPA ’19), Faculty Mentor: Adam Williams (PAD)

Illinois Society for Human Resources Case Competition Team

Hanxiao Gu, Cuong Nguyen; Trin Tran, Le Tran, Alexis Eddings, Tracy Cessna, and Marina Gendek
The UIS SHRM Case Competition Team placed 2nd at the 2019 ILSHRM. Team members include Hanxiao Gu, Cuong Nguyen; Trin Tran, Le Tran, Alexis Eddings, Tracy Cessna, and Marina Gendek. Faculty Mentor: Donna Skowronski.

“My experience at the ILSHRM Student Case Competition and Jeopardy Games was a once in a lifetime experience. It truly is the best way to form professional connections with reputable HR leaders and other students who are going into the workforce in the same direction and career path as you are. We learned how to participate as a team effectively, bringing together strong points from each individual to showcase to the judges, how to communicate ideas professionally, learn HR education, gain public speaking skills, confidence, and set goals and made a path to accomplish those goals.” Alexis A. Eddings (MGT ’19), ILSHRM Student Case Competition team captain.

UIS Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) student team places at the national conference

Mike Kirchgesner, Shreyas Shirish, Rohith Madamshetty, and Turner Clark competed at the 2019 International Management Conference of the Society for Advancement of Management in Orlando, FL.

The Society for Advancement of Management (SAM) student team competed at the 2019 International Management Conference in Orlando. The team placed third in the International Collegiate Business Skills Championship. The case involved determining a strategic vision and creating a recommendation the company should take to improve, sustain, turn around, or correct its performance.  Team members included Mike Kirchgesner (BBA ’19), Shreyas Shirish (MIS-MS), Rohith Madamshetty (MIS-MS), and Turner Clark (BBA ’19).

“It has always been my goal to create experiences and memories for others and to help inspire people to achieve their full potential. There are so many great networking opportunities at these conferences to help college students prepare for life after college. Attending these events helps motivate us as a student organization and be able to spread that motivation to our fellow student body,” said Kirchgesner.

2018-2019 the Student Organization of the Year award was granted to the SAM student chapter at UIS, and the University of Illinois Board of Trustee conferred the Pursuit of Excellence to SAM at UIS.

Four UIS Students Participate in the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference

Malavika Mujumdar, Kate Dumstorff, and Kayla Thomas
Malavika Mujumdar, Kate Dumstorff, and Kayla Thomas participated in the 2019 Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference in Portland, OR.

“My experience at AWP was one of the highlights of my college experience as of yet. I learned an exorbitant amount of information in regards to the literary and writing community, in addition to meeting countless publishers, novelists, poets, and editors. And the event itself was an engaging and eye opening experience, as I was able to attend panels, discussions, and readings. The notebook I brought to record what I learned was filled by the time I left Portland. I feel grateful I was able to attend the AWP conference in Portland, and I hope to attend next year’s conference as well.”

Kate Dumstorff (ENG ’21), Alchemist Review editorial staff

Three UIS Undergraduates Present at the Midwestern Association of Latin American Studies

Chloe Compton, Conor McKenzie, and Payton Raso
Chloe Compton, Conor McKenzie, and Payton Raso present their research at MALAS 2018.

“My experience at the Midwestern Association of Latin American Studies conference in El Paso, Texas was eye-opening. I have to admit that when I first began to work toward my presentation I was nervous. There was a sense of imposter syndrome, that I did not belong there discussing these complex topics with real academics. Once I got there, however, I found those at the conference to be approachable and engaging. I had a fantastic experience at the MALAS conference and I highly endorse attending it if you have any thoughts about pursuing academia.” Payton J. Raso (PSC ’19)


Miranda Mogle
Miranda Mogle and Chancellor Koch

Miranda Mogle wins at 2018 Illinois Capital Innovation Awards Night

Undergraduate student Miranda Mogle named “Innovator of the Year” by Innovate Springfield at the 2018 Illinois Capital Innovation Awards Night. She invented a “Good News Now” app, which she described at STARS and the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day.

UIS Philosophy Major To Work With Army Research Lab

Based on his work with Prof. P. Boltuc, UIS Philosophy major, Jonathan Milton, has been awarded a research mentorship with Dr. Troy Kelley of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) in Aberdeen, MD.  It is a part of the recent grant Sciences for Maneuver Basic Research Refresh entitled “APPLE: Adaptive Perception Processes for Learning from Experience”.

Mr. Milton will be participating in a research program designed to look at modern Artificial Intelligence problems, specifically, learning from experience over a long period of time.  The mentorship with ARL is expected to last from 2017-2020 years, mostly in an online format, and will extend during and beyond Jonathan’s graduation from UIS. In students own words: “While I was enrolled in the Philosophy Senior Seminar last fall semester, Dr. Boltuc (UIS Philosophy Department) encouraged me to write my final paper on existing problems with regard to robots and artificial intelligence. I am extremely flattered that Dr. Boltuc thought so highly of my paper, and after it was graded I was encouraged to send it to Dr. Kelly at the ARL whose work we covered in class, in order to get some constructive feedback from subject matter experts. I am extremely excited at the prospect  of visiting the ARL to see the work being done there firsthand.”


Liberati, Frost, Piotrowski, Dungey, Laubersheimer
Library Undergraduate Thesis Award

Congratulations to Shyleen Frost, winner of the third annual Brookens Library Undergraduate Student Research Award.  Shyleen received the award from Dr. Pattie Piotrowski, during the 2017 Student Technology, Arts, and Research Symposium at UIS.  Her paper was entitled “Toxicity of E-liquid Flavors and Base Components on the AGS and A549 Cell Lines.”  Her research mentor was Dr. Teresa Liberati of SIU School of Medicine.

Abigail Norville won second place and Vanessa Pratt won third place.

Eleven UIS Students Presented at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research

National Conference on Undergraduate Research 2017
UIS students at NCUR 2017


UIS sent its largest contingent of students to present at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.  Students were selected to submit abstracts from UIS in a competitive process by the Undergraduate Research Steering Committee. All eleven students were accepted by the national conference committee.  The students represent multiple programs and colleges.  Turner Clark (BMA), Gabriel Broughton (BBA), Ebony Forslund (PSY), Shyleen Frost (BIO), Eli Hahn (PSY), Marquiera Harris (BSW), Elizabeth Karras (SOA), Allie McIntire (PSY), Amanda Monke (ENG), Nhan Khanh Le (BBA), Alex Skarr (SOA and PSC). 

The 30th annual National Conference on Undergraduate Research is a program of the Council on Undergraduate Research and will take place at the University of Memphis April 6-8, 2017.  Around 4,000 students from around the country presented their research and creative activities.  UIS is an institutional member of CUR.  The students were accompanied by Dr. Tiffany Saunders, professor in the Sociology/Anthropology Department, and Dr. Keenan Dungey, director of the Undergraduate Research Support Program, which sponsored the students’ travel.

2016-2017 Undergraduate Student Research Grant Award Winners

Eli Hahn, Department of Psychology- clinical/counseling

Project: Developing a body image scale culturally specific to Asian American women

Eli Hahn


Ebony Nicole Forslund, Department of Psychology 

Ebony Forslund

We looked at mistreatment and how that could be selective in nature, meaning that people who have certain demographic variables may experience more incivility or mistreatment than their counterpart. We think that older female minorities will experience more incivility or mistreatment than younger white males. We also think these experiences of mistreatment will influence how they perceive their workplace as being a negative place. This relationship is mediated by co-worker and supervisor incivility or mistreatment.


Alyssa Boyd, Hannah Latif, Rebecca Smith, and Miaomiao Liu, Department of Chemistry

Group photo of Miaomioa Liu, Alyssa Boyd, Hannah Latif, and Rebecca Smith

Atrazine has become one of the most common general-use pesticides in the world. In rural areas where farming is the primary industry, chemical runoff has major effects on the environment. It is difficult to contain because field runoff goes in all directions, ending up in surface waters, like the Illinois River. The Illinois River is a source of drinking water for many communities, therefore it is necessary to monitor and regulate this chemical pollutant. The EPA regulates the use of atrazine, and the Safe Drinking Water Act states the tolerance level to be no more than 3 ppb. As a weed killer, atrazine also kills beneficial plant life in rivers and wetlands, affecting the entire ecosystem and starving fish and other herbivores in these systems. Further effects include stunted growth and reproductive issues in amphibians and fish. To determine the atrazine content in water, we selected an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) technique as it has the advantage of being highly accurate, quick, and simple to use. The Abnova Atrazine ELISA kits were purchased with the USR funds to help our research team determine the concentration of atrazine present in Thompson Lake (at Emiquon) and the Illinois River.​


Marquiera Harris, Department of Social Work

Marquiera Harris

My co-researchers and I along with our faculty advisor/mentor are conducting research on Asian American female body image issues. We are doing this research because there is little to no existing literature culturally specific for Asian American women. We have been through in-person interviews to put together a survey that would and could be used for all Asian American women. The research was conducted using a survey we created that was sent to organizations at colleges/universities with large Asian American populations as well as social media groups. Our first sample, 264 women, showed that the four factors we came up with all correlate and even the items in each factor correlate. We are hoping to replicate these results in a second sample, and if we do, then this will be the first Asian American female body image scale.

Alex Skarr, Department of Sociology/Anthropology and Political Science

Alex Skarr presentation photo

Prominent leaders and participants of the Moral Mondays Movement such as Reverend William J. Barber, II and Bob Zellner, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee’s (SNCC) first white staff member, have placed the Moral Mondays movement in the broader historical context of the experience of Blacks during Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement as well as more recent events like the death of Trayvon Martin (Barber 2014). This project presents a framing analysis of the Moral Mondays social movement, and argues that the appropriation of the Civil Rights master theme, combined with the individualized framing in each state to fit that state’s particular needs has played an important role in the development of this social movement.


Atchie-Student Focus

Mackenzie Atchie, a recent Psychology graduate, conducted her own independent research project under the mentorship of Dr. Frances Shen.  Her project was entitled “The Effects of Masculine and Feminine Physical Traits on Perceptions of Homosexual and Heterosexual Domestic Violence.”  With the support of the Undergraduate Student Research Grant program and the CLAS Student-Faculty Creative Activities award, Mackenzie was able to complete her study and present her findings at the 2016 UIS Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS), 2016 Midwestern Psychological Association annual meeting, and 2016 Association for Psychological Sciences annual convention in Chicago.  Mackenzie is currently a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology MA program at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.


Image of Michael Lotspeich

Michael Lotspeich, a recent Sociology/Anthropology graduate, is currently pursuing a PhD in Applied Sociology at Baylor Univeristy. During his time at UIS, he worked with Dr. Shoon Lio to produce a socio-spatial analysis of University of Illinois enrollment trend data, a meta-analysis of themes in local education agency (LEA) reorganization research, and measure community conflict in building bond support for a rural LEA.  With the support of the Undergraduate Student Research Grant program, he presented this research at UIS Student Technology, Arts & Research Symposium (STARS), COPLAC Southeast Regional Undergraduate Research Conference, Midwest Sociological Society, and the Rural Sociological Society annual meetings.

Grace Latimore presented at the 2016 NCUR

Grace Latimore, an English major, presented at the National Council on Undergraduate Research at UNC Asheville on April 7-9, 2016. She presented her documentary entitled “Black Faces in White Spaces” with the support of the CLAS Student-Faculty Creative Activity funding award. She also presented a paper entitled “The Revolutions Were Never Televised: A Historical Review of Protest and Black Poetry.”  To learn more about Grace, please view her Leadership Lived video.

 2016 Undergraduate Summer Scholar Award

Jarrett Lindsay, a Chemistry major, was awarded the UIS Undergraduate Summer Scholars award for summer 2016. Under the mentorship of Dr. Stephen Johnson, Jarrett researched the “The Isolation and Characterization of a novel sPLA2 from the Venom of the Northern Paper Wasp Polistes Fuscatas” at the Therkildsen Field Station at Emiqoun. He presented his findings at the 2016 Breakfast of Research Champions event on October 8th. The Undergraduate Summer Scholars program provides funding for collaborative summer research opportunities for UIS faculty and students.

2016 University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day

UIURD 2016

The third annual University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day was held at the state capitol on May 5, 2016. Ten students from each of the three campuses of the University of Illinois campuses showcased their scholarly achievements and presented their work to the public. Students also had the opportunity to tour the Illinois state capitol and meet with elected officials.

Students were selected in a competitive process by the Undergraduate Research Steering Committee.  Ashley Park examined the relationship between poverty and adolescent substance use in Illinois with Psychology professor Dr. Sheryl Reminger. Jacob Eikenberry studied the effects of workplace incivility and grit on burnout in domestic violence program employees with Business Administration professor Dr. Benjamin Walsh. Michael Lotspeich researched inter-community conflict to building construction in a rural, consolidated local education agency with Sociology/Anthropology professor Dr. Shoon Lio. David Seidel examined whether geographic ranges predict seedling success in tallgrass prairie restorations with Biology professor Dr. Amy McEuen. Kendra Baber discussed the destruction of archaeological sites and museum by ISIS with Sociology/Anthropology professor Dr. Shoon Lio. Jennifer Hickey researched autism in Illinois with Sociology/Anthropology professor Dr. Shoon Lio. Ashley Hollinshead investigated the optimization of the freshwater denitrification process of heterotrophic bacteria using iron nanoparticles with Chemistry professors Drs. John Martin and Keenan Dungey. Zachary Landes, a visual arts major, created an original artwork entitled “Take It, Don’t Leave It” with Ms. Allison Latcher. John Johnson researched a novel approach to the investigation of solenopsins using high performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem and high resolution mass spectometry with Chemistry professor Stephen Johnson. Tyler Phibbs, a visual arts major, created an original artwork entitled “Cheromerican Warrioer” with professor Michael Miller.

2015-2016 Undergraduate Student Research Grant Award Winners

Mackenzie Atchie (mentor Frances Shen), Department of Psychology

Mackenzie-USR 2016 Photo

Perceptions of Homosexual and Heterosexual Domestic Violence Cases and the Effects of Masculine and Feminine Physical Traits

While gender and sexual orientation in domestic violence cases have been extensively studied, research on the effects of masculine and feminine physical traits is limited. To examine the effects of these variables on public perceptions of domestic violence cases, Mackenzie Atchie’s study used a hypothetical domestic violence case scenario that varied only in gender, sexual orientation, and masculine/feminine physical traits of the perpetrator and victim. She found that variables such as attitude toward punishment, intimate partner violence, sex role stereotyping, and homosexuality, and participants’ demographics affected participants’ judgments of punishment severity and crime seriousness across cases. Masculine and feminine physical traits were not found to be significant predictors of ratings for crime seriousness or punishment severity. She also found that gender and participant demographics such as religion and race/ethnicity may be associated with bias against certain domestic violence cases. These results suggest that people working with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence may need to be more aware of how cases are handled. Mackenzie presented her work at the 2016 STARS, 2016 Midwestern Psychological Association and the 2016 Association of Psychological Sciences conferences in Chicago.


David Bova and Sara Stutzman (mentor Karen Reinke), Department of Psychology

Sara & David-USR 2016 Photo

Individual Differences in Responses to Emotional Faces

Previous work has shown that spatial attention can be modulated with facial expressions. This modulation has been displayed in a variety of tasks, but in particular, with the dot-probe task. Given that the dot-probe task has been used to explore the extent of attention modulation in general, it is used again here in order to explore individual differences. Participants viewed two face stimuli for 250 ms, one left and the other right of fixation. These were immediately replaced by a target dot presented in either location. Reaction times to the target were the dependent measure. There were three trial types: congruent (one fearful face and one neutral face with the target appearing in the location of the fearful face), incongruent (one fearful face and one neutral face with the target appearing opposite of the fearful face), baseline (both faces were neutral and the target could appear in either location). These individual differences were the subject of further exploration utilizing the State Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) and a Face Rating Scale. The Face Rating Scale assisted in exploring whether a participant’s opinion on the facial expression had an effect on the resulting speed of their response. The STAI helped determine if a participant’s level of anxiety (during the study and in general) made them more reactive to fearful faces. The Face Rating Scale and dot-probe task were randomized to ensure there was no third variable influencing responses.  David and Sara presented their findings at the 2016 Association for Psychological Sciences annual convention in Chicago.


Jacob M. Eikenberry (mentor Benjamin Walsh), Department of Business Administration

Jacob-USR 2016 Photo

A Study of the Effects of Workplace Incivility and Grit on Burnout in Domestic Violence Program Employees

(Re)Shaping effective services for underprivileged populations is necessary to affect meaningful changes in the population. Since social service employees act as liaisons between poverty stricken populations and needed resources, protecting relationships between clients and employees is vital. In this research, Jacob Eikenberry examined the effects of workplace incivility and grit on burnout in a sample of domestic violence program employees. They found that workplace incivility was positively correlated to burnout, but they did not find support for the hypothesis that grit would moderate the relationship between workplace incivility and burnout. This suggests that, perhaps, social structural solutions are needed to protect employees from burnout. An interaction effect illustrated that employees low in grit consistently showed burnout when exposed to client incivility, whereas employees high in grit showed burnout only when client incivility levels were low. Jacob presented the poster at the 2016 STARS and the 2016 Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference in Chicago.


Kyle French (mentors Michele Miller and Sheryl Reminger), Department of Psychology

Kyle-USR 2016 Photo

The Effect of Auditory Stimuli on the Emotional Perception of Visual Stimuli

Kyle French’s research sought to measure an interaction between the senses of sight and hearing in the formation of emotional perception.  Specifically, he attempted to measure how the difference in the tempo of music effects one’s emotional perception of what he or she is viewing.  The study was run over a 2-3 month period at UIS.  Kyle presented the findings of this study at the 2016 STARS Symposium and the 2016 Midwestern Psychological Association’s annual conference in Chicago.


Michael Lotspeich (mentor Shoon Lio), Department of Sociology/Anthropology

Michael-USR 2016 Photo

Community conflict and building construction: Stratification in a remote, consolidated local education agency (LEA)

While much research has been conducted on both state-level stratification of LEAs and LEA reorganization, little attention has been paid to spatial conflicts of identity in rural communities after LEA reorganization. Using a dataset of (N=1974) survey instruments and (N=99) Facebook posts, Lotspeich investigated variables to support or disavow community support for building construction that serves a subset of the consolidated LEA. Using SPSS 23 and ATLAS.ti to create a triangulated analysis, Lotspeich found that LEA voters (a) challenged a new, consolidated identity, (b) felt the new LEA administration and Board of Education poorly communicated with their constituents, (c) felt the burden of aging, poorly-maintained facilities, and (d) was divided between the interests of the ‘North’ and the burdens of the ‘South’.  Michael presented his research at the 2016 Rural Sociological Society annual conference in Toronto, Canada.


Janell Mathus (mentor Kanwal Alvarez), Department of Biology

Mathus Project picture 2016

Prevalence of Hepatitis C among the Homeless in Central Illinois

Janell Mathus’ research sought to determine the prevalence and incidence of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) in the Central Illinois homeless population. This study is important because HCV poses a major health burden that is similar to HIV in that it has comparable rates of morbidity and prevalence. There are also several risk factors for HCV among homeless people have been described, although the mechanism of transmission within this population is not very clear.  Janell administered surveys to determine the participants’ history and any risk factors associated with HCV infection. In addition, she performed blood testing in the form of finger sticks to determine participants HCV status. This study may help develop methods of prevention and treatment, decreasing the incidence of HCV among the homeless population and providing an invaluable opportunity to protect and promote public health.


Lisette Moreno (mentor Shoon Lio), Department of Sociology/Anthropology

Lisette-USR 2016 Photo

Improvisation: Playing and Acting with Autism Spectrum Disorder

A medical /deficit model have dominated the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In an attempt to move away from the deficit perspective, Lisette Moreno outlined a socio-cultural framework, drawn from anthropology, sociology and social psychology, with which to understand the dynamic meaning-and social world-making of individuals with ASD (Conn, 2015; Ochs et al, 2004). Her presentation at the 2016 Midwest Sociological Society’s Annual Conference in Chicago posits that this socio-cultural framework provides educators and human service providers with the theoretical foundation for new forms of interventions such as improvisation, play and drama that empowers individuals with ASD through developing their social capacity for social communication and social expression. Lisette presented her research in a session on undergraduate research in social psychology. She also presented her findings at the 2016 UIS STARS.


Sarah Rowlands (mentor Jorge Villegas), Department of Business Administration

Sarah-USR 2016 Photo

Developing a Network of Care: Increasing Health Outcomes and Reducing Costs among Super-Utilizers of Health Services

Sarah Rowlands conducted this study in collaboration with Brittany Carls, an MBA student, and under the supervision of Dr. Jorge Villegas. This research focused on the economic burden of super-utilizers of local emergency departments. For this specific study, they focused on one local homeless patient that had 100 emergency department visits in one year due to complications from mismanaged diabetes, low health literacy, and socioeconomic barriers. Findings from this project showed the economic benefits of giving patient-centered care and the improvement of quality in care the patient received. In a six month period, the implementation of a care team saved close to $20,000 for a single patient. Sarah presented their research findings at the 2016 Association for Prevention Teaching and Research in Albuquerque, NM.


Taylor Vazquez (mentor Adam Clay), Department of English

Taylor-USR 2016 Photo

2016 Edition of The Alchemist Review

Taylor Vazquez accompanied other UIS students and faculty to showcase The Alchemist Review‘s at the 2016 Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference in Los Angeles, CA. It was a massive convention that took at the Staples Center where thousands of attendees come and enjoy a weekend full of fascinating panels and discussions, networking, and all things relating to the literary world. The bookfair, which was where the Alchemist Review crew manned their own table and passed out copies of the 2016 edition, housed over 800 different publications. While attending this conference, The Alchemist Review staff gained incredible insight into the publishing field through interacting with experienced writers and publishers and hope to apply some new details to future editions of The Alchemist Review.


Click here for 2014-2015 award winners

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Undergraduate research student publications (docx)