Undergraduate students to showcase research at EURECA forum Nov. 21

Alejandro Hernandez and Taylor Duval, mechanical engineering seniors, set up their poster April 24 at the EURECA Poster Presentations in the Clark Student Center Atrium. File Photo by Lauren Roberts.

Alejandro Hernandez and Taylor Duval, mechanical engineering seniors, set up their poster April 24 at the EURECA Poster Presentations in the Clark Student Center Atrium. File Photo by Lauren Roberts.

More than 25 undergraduate students from various colleges will showcase their research at the third Enhancing Undergraduate Research Endeavors and Creative forum Nov. 21 in the Clark Student Center atrium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Magaly Rincon-Zachary, director of undergraduate research said, “The EURECA program provides funds to assist students to research and created activities and to foster interdisciplinary measures among the students.”

The university funds the program annually which exceed more than $200,000 per academic year.

“The return is more than $200,000. We cannot put a dollar amount to the experience that the students had and the opportunity each student has received to say that they did an undergraduate research at Midwestern State University,” Rincon-Zachary said.

While the majority of students who participate in EURECA study sciences, Rincon-Zachary said she is working to get more students from the fine arts and education colleges to participate.

“I would encourage the student body to come out, enjoy and learn a lot from other student’s research at the forum on Friday because all of the presenters will be on their best,” Rincon-Zachary said.

Lance Henry, mechanical engineering senior, will present his research on the mathematical aspects of a multi-geared transmission in wind turbine technology.

“Initially the research was challenging, but as I progressed, I began to get results and it ended up working for me,” Henry said. “My research can be used in multiple applications in real life.”

Jacob Hardin, senior in kinesiology, and two other co-researchers set out to write a textbook that incorporates movement into classroom lessons from science and math to social studies and English.

“These movements can range from being as simple as raising their hands or walking to a designated area to more complex movements such as dancing or throwing a ball around,” Hardin said.

The idea, Hardin said, is to discover whether or not there is a positive correlation in a hands-on experience when students are learning.

Lance Henry, mechanical engineering senior explains "Mathematical Aspects of a Multi-geared Transmission in Wind Turbine Technology" to judges Nov. 21, 2014 during the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity forum poster presentations in the Clark Student Center. Photo by Lauren Roberts

Lance Henry, mechanical engineering senior explains “Mathematical Aspects of a Multi-geared Transmission in Wind Turbine Technology” to judges Nov. 21, 2014 during the Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity forum poster presentations in the Clark Student Center. Photo by Lauren Roberts

“Most classroom instruction is primarily lecture-oriented and students have little engagement in the content. Also it has been found that students have a better chance at retaining information when more connections can be made with the content,” Hardin said. “This is a fairly new idea so there is not a lot of information and studies that have been concluded. But luckily the information that has been retrieved so far does show some encouraging findings. There is a wide range of studies from elementary aged students up to college students as well.”

But the research is only half of the work. Now Hardin and his group must deal with presenting their findings on Friday.

“I’m a little nervous to present but excited to share with whoever may pass by about to see his findings,” Hardin said. “It’s an exciting study because the concepts we are finding apply to all levels of education and could help even college students when studying for their classes. Hopefully there will be numerous questions brought to us that we could expand on and further our research.”

Molly Lord, environmental science senior, and Kari Brickhard, geosciences senior, worked together to research subsurface granite in South-Central Oklahoma.

“We were looking at the granites at southern Oklahoma,” Lord said. “We used well samples from the mountain and analyzing them with a laser and trying to determine from different depths in the well to determine the rock type.”

Brickhard said she enjoyed the experience so much that she recommends more students in her department take part in the research program.

“I am encouraging all students to take part in the undergraduate research,” Brickhard said. “I am telling the physical geology classes since I am a teaching assistant. I am forever counting on the freshmen, once they find what they want to do, I think they should research it.”

Lord and Brickhard used this same research at the Undergraduate Research Opportunity and Summer Workshop forum last fall.

Brikhard said, “The last forum was a rewarding experience for me, I don’t get nervous around people very easily but my professor who knew what I was talking about walked by and I got tongue tied but otherwise it was a great experience. The questions that came from some students were amazing which shows that they are very interesting in what we have researched.”