A student engaged in biosensors research and a student studying how science courses are taught have been named grand prize winners of Michigan State University’s University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum.
Faculty chooses grand prize awards in two categories: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and Social Science, Humanities and Arts. The pool of entries comes from the students who were awarded first place at UURAF, which was held in April.
Matthew Vasher won the STEM grand prize for the research he conducted alongside Professor Evangelyn Alocilja titled “Detecting Pathogens Using a DNA-Based Biosensor.”
The research will lead to more cost effective and faster methods of detecting disease-causing agents, protecting lives and food crops. Vasher is an Honors College senior majoring in biosystems engineering and is from Pinckney.
Sonny Ly won the SSHA Grand Prize for the research he conducted alongside Assistant Professor Becky Matz and Research Associate James Laverty in the CREATE for STEM Institute as well as Assistant Professor Sarah Jardeleza with the Center for Integrative Studies in General Science. The research is titled, “Questions in the classroom: How often do students respond?”
This research examined the frequency in which an instructor asks students non-rhetorical questions and when students speak out loud to the class. The goal is to improve how biology, chemistry and physics courses are taught. Ly is a junior majoring in physics and is originally from Holt.
“The University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum is a tremendous opportunity for students to share the research they’ve performed alongside talented faculty with a broader community,” said Cynthia Jackson-Elmoore, dean of the Honors College. “The grand prize winners represent the best of the best in their respective categories. Congratulations to Matthew and Sonny for their accomplishments.”
More than 750 students participated in this year’s UURAF – a record-setting number for MSU. Grand prize winners each receive $500.
“Recent studies have highlighted that institutions of higher education play an essential role in fueling entrepreneurship and innovation,” said Doug Estry, associate provost for undergraduate education and dean of undergraduate studies. “Undergraduate research is a critical part of the educational experience at MSU and is integral to maintaining a healthy economy, as discoveries made through university research create businesses and jobs both across our state and throughout the world. I am proud of the important research our undergraduate students do and want to personally congratulate Matthew and Sonny on their Grand Prize wins at the 2015 University Undergraduate Research & Arts Forum.”