UM Students Honored at Research Awards Ceremony

April 21, 2014

MISSOULA – The University of Montana awarded the top oral, poster and art exhibition presenters from the UM Conference on Undergraduate Research and the Graduate Student Research Conference during a ceremony Monday, April 21.

The conferences were held earlier this month, and winners were decided by judges’ ratings and comments. UM President Engstrom congratulated winners and presented individual awards at the ceremony. Each award winner received a $100 gift certificate to The Bookstore at UM.

The undergraduate research award winners for oral presentations are:

  • Humanities: David Schaad from Portland, Ore., senior, environmental studies; abstract title: “Environmental Justice & HidroAysén: Pristine Waters to Power Santiago, Multinational Mining Interests in Chile.” Faculty mentor: Daniel Spencer.
  • Life Sciences: Jeanette Comstock from Missoula, senior, human biology;
    abstract title: “The Role of RNase Y in Gene Regulation During Transmission of B. burgdorferi.” Faculty mentor: Scott Samuels.
  • Physical Sciences: Benjamin Campbell from Cut Bank, sophomore, computer science; abstract title: “Modular Abstraction of Complex Real Time Analysis.”
    Faculty mentor: Joel Henry.
  • Social Sciences: Jesse Desrosier from Browning, sophomore, anthropology;
    abstract title: “Second Language Acquisition in Blackfeet Rhythm.” Faculty mentor: Mizuki Miyashita.
  • Visual & Performing Arts: Brooke Carlisle from Hillsboro, Ore., senior, wildlife biology; abstract title: “Dancing Through the Lens.” Faculty mentor: Heidi Jones Eggert.


The undergraduate research award winners for poster presentations are:

  • Life Sciences: Sarah Hendricks from Missoula, senior, human biology;
    abstract title: “Evaluating neurite outgrowth and signal integration in response to NGF and GDNF in neuroblastoma cell lines.” Faculty mentor: Mark Grimes.
  • Physical Sciences: Pamela Lavering from Polson, senior, geosciences;
    abstract title: “Stratigraphic and Sedimentologic Analysis of the Bear Gulch Limestone (Mississippian-Pennsylvanian) near Grass Range, Montana.” Faculty mentor: Marc Hendrix.
  • Social Sciences: Jill Sharp from Sidney, senior, accounting; abstract title: “Donors to Social Welfare Organizations: Are they avoiding gift tax?” Faculty mentor: Joshua Herbold.

The “Best in Show” undergraduate research award winner for the painting and print exhibition is:

  • David Sampson from Corvallis, senior, art; Title of work: “eleutheromania.” Medium: woodcut relief print. Faculty mentor: MaryAnn Bonjorni.

The Graduate Student Research Conference winners are:

  • Jean “Ali” Church from Gatlinburg, Tenn., social work, “A Poverello emergency shelter resident's hierarchy of needs.” Faculty mentor: James Caringi.
  • Rachel Dalton from Muskegon, Mich., biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, “Characterization of rare genetic variation in CYP2D6 using human liver microsomes.” Faculty mentor: Erica Woodahl.
  • Chelsea Morales from Harlem, biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences, “Exploring views of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes about pharmacogenetics research and its translation into tribal health clinics.” Faculty mentor: Erica Woodahl.
  • Kate Morris from Bigfork, theatre and dance, “Writing memory with our bodies: Explorations in student-devised theatre.” Faculty mentor: Bernadette Sweeney.
  • Megan K. Nasto from San Ramon, Calif., ecosystem and conservation sciences, “Symbiotic dinitrogen fixation enhances soil phosphorus acquisition strategies in tropical forests.” Faculty mentor: Cory Cleveland.
  • Kathryn Oost from Seattle, psychology, “Getting physical: How prejudice can impact the health of lesbian and bisexual women.” Faculty mentor: Bryan Cochran.
  • Jeremy Reed from Marshall, English, “Zadie Smith's ritual interest: NW in a postsecular lens.” Faculty mentor: Brady Harrison.
  • John Stegmaier from Brighton, Mich., society and conservation, “Emerging models in environmental volunteerism: The domestic vol.” Faculty mentor: Libby Metcalf.

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Contact: James McKusick, UM Davidson Honors College dean, 406-243-2541, dhc@umontana.edu.