Collaborative Undergraduate Research

"I will graduate with two national presentations and a peer-reviewed publication. Not many undergraduates can say that. My future is bright; I feel like the sky is the limit!”
– Summer Scholar participant


  • BENEFITS

    Why collaborative undergraduate research?

    You will work alongside your professors as part of a team, resulting in meaningful collaboration, mutual support and, in many cases, outcomes resulting in peer-reviewed presentations, publications, and exhibits. Since the Collaborative Undergraduate Research program began in 2010, teams representing dozens of disciplines have conceptualized projects, conducted the work and shared their outcomes with experts in their discipline—from biology to studio art; nursing to theology.

  • SUMMER SCHOLARS

    Make significant contributions to scholarship.

    Have you heard about research assistants who get stuck entering data into a computer all day? Not at St. Kate's! This intensive 10-week experience emphasizes meaningful, rich experiences for students that allow them to make significant contributions to scholarship. You’ll collaborate alongside one faculty member and possibly another student, to actively participate in the development, acquisition, and dissemination of scholarly work.

    Collaborative research involves:

    • Mentoring
    • Mutual learning
    • A commitment to intellectual inquiry
    • The pursuit of multiple perspectives
    • Possible presentation at a national undergraduate conference
    • Possible presentation at a national or international discipline-specific conference
    • Publishing research on the University’s Sophia Database

Art

Multimedia Documentary Shorts
Muna Scekomar ’18, Ashley Alex ’18, Todd Deutsch

Biology

Hox Gene Regulation of Sex-Specific Neurogenesis in Caenorhabditis Elegans
Taylor Olin ’18, Andrea Kalis

Exploring the Effect of Exercise on Mood and Trust
Sara Brakke ’18, Ngozika Ezenagu ’19, John Pellegrini

Chemistry

Synthesis and Characterization of 2D Tin Sulfide Nanosheets
Elizabeth Juarez Diaz ‘18, John Dwyer

Communication Studies

Nationalism and Populism Abroad: France, Germany, and the United Kingdom
Addison Cross ’20, Rafael Cervantes

English

A Reading Guide for Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans
Emma Hargreaves ’17, Janie Sisson ’17, Cecilia Konchar Farr

Exercise and Sports Science

Does Resistance Training Affect Speed of Movement in Older Adults?
Natalie Barron ’18, Michelle Perri ’18, Joshua Guggenheimer

Mathematics

Extended Symmetric Spaces and Theta-Twisted Involution Graphs of the Alternating Symmetric Group
Emma Holzbach ’20, Autumn Mortenson ’20, Jessie Lenarz, Kristy Pelatt

Nutrition

Assessing Consumer Knowledge of Added Sugars
Rose Maniates ’19, Courtney Vanderheiden’18, Nuala Bobowski

Campus Health and Ideas for the Future
Mary Jane Voss ’18, Holly Willis

Physics

Stratospheric Thermal Effects Related to the August 2017 Total Solar Eclipse
Vina Onyango-Robshaw ’18, Ana Taylor’19, Alynie Walter’18, Erick Agrimson

Psychology

Community Response to Police Shootings: An Experimental Exploration
Katelyn Byers-Carter ’18, Gabrielle Filip-Crawford

Biology

Characterization of DNA-binding Proteins in Lumbriculus Sperm
Kay Tweeten, Mysee Lee, and Kelsey McKenna

The GaiterTM: Testing How Well a New 4-wheel, pivoting Walker Promotes Natural Walking Movements
Marcie Myers, Courtney Kirkeide, Chi Moua, and Nicole Szyszka

Genetics and Nutrient Conditions of Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris Arundinacea) Populations at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve
Martha Phillips and Danielle Meyer

Chemistry

Mechanochemical Synthesis of Photoluminescent Transition Metal Complexes
Daron Janzen and Dominique Rabaey

Characterization of Reduced Graphene Oxide
Gina Mancini-Samuelson, Madisen Hyatt, and Alexa Trusty

Characterization of Dilated Cardiomyopathy Linked R25 Mutants of Phospholamban
Kim Ha and Mara Exline*

Extracting Biologically Active Metabolites from Minnesota Fungicolous Fungi
Ani Jordan, Elizabeth Sperry, and Odi Mentari

Economics

What’s the Value of a Degree? Evidence from Egypt, Jordan, and Tunisia
Caroline Krafft, Zea Branson, and Taylor Flak

Exercise and Sports Science

Exercise Duration and Associated Fitness Improvement
Mark Blegen, Leigha Embertson, Sophie Olson, and Jenna Thompson

Mathematics

Invariants of Random Threshold Hypergraphs
Chris Ross and Kat Wallick

Convexity of Neural Codes
Kristy Pelatt and Ruby Bayliss*

Physics

Measuring Histograms of Viral Production v. Time for Individual Isolated Cells using Fluorescence and Microfluidics
Jolene Johnson and Emily Anderson*

Public Health

Child Spacing Decision-Making and Couple Communication among Somali Men and Women in the Twin Cities
Carie Cox and Fathi Ahmed

Theology

Ladies and the Law: Considering Women in Ancient Legal Codes
Elaine James and Shannon Tacheny


*Clare Boothe Luce Scholars

Apparel Design

Technology Meets Sustainable Fashion
Anupama Pasricha and Rachel Greeninger

Biology

Investigating the Evolutionary History of Ammonium Transport Genes
Tami McDonald, Madison Olimb, and Shelby Ward

Chemistry

Precedence for Fungi as a Source of Bioactive Natural Products
Ani Jordan, Mara Exline, Sophia Hani, Alexa Harnagel*

Tuning the Properties of the Nanomaterial Graphene Oxide
Gina Mancini-Samuelson, Denyce Alvarez, and Alexa Trusty

Synthesis of a Cyclopropene-Containing Substance for Protein Farnesyltransferase
James Wollack and Kristine Her

Communication Studies

Women’s Voices: Reimagining the Public Speaking Curriculum
Rafael Cervantes and Brianna Byram

Economics

The Impact of Free Full-Day Kindergarten on Maternal Labor Supply
Kristine West, Ashley Erceg, and Katie Tholke

Exercise and Sports Science

Does Resistance Training Affect Range of Motion, Quality of Life, and Balance in Older Women?
Joshua Guggenheimer, Donielle Kurvers, and Sarah Olsen

History

Back Talk: Unwed Mothers, Adoption, and the Mass Media, 1950-1970

Kim Heikkila and Amanda Campbell

Mathematics

Games on Directed Threshold Graphs
Chris Ross and Rose Winter*

Psychology

Work/Life/School Balance of College Students
Andrea Olson, Lee Danielsen, and Kelly Kroening

Theology

Beyond Annulment: Rethinking Pastoral Care for Divorced Catholics
Colleen Carpenter and Jane Wolfgram

*Clare Boothe Luce Scholars

Biology

Analysis of Extracellular Matrix Molecules in Lumbriculus Embryos
Kay Tweeten and Kyrstin Danielson

The Effect of Agriculture and Urbanization on Coupled Nutrient Cycles in Minnesota Lakes
Jill Welter, Kerrick Sarbacker, and Bree Vculek

Chemistry

NMR Resonance Assignment of Fatty Acid Binding Protein-4
Kim Ha and Yenchi Tran

Triboluminescent Materials: Design of Pressure-Sensitive Phosphorescent Systems
Daron Janzen and Safia Hirsa

Biologically Active Natural Products Produced by Fungal Pathogens of Alfalfa
Ani Jordan, Marne Louters, and Nicole Blanshan

Communication Studies

Women’s Voices: Reimagining the Public Speaking Curriculum
Rafael Cervantes and Brianna Byram

Nutrition and Exercise Science

Assessment of Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors Associated with Legume Intake by Parents and Their Children
Teri Burgess-Champoux, Lynn Luecke, and Kayla Guerrero

The Effects of Low-intensity Resistance Training on Joint Range of Motion in Older Women
Joshua Guggenheimer, Alexis Barret, and Christina Ramsdell

Physics

Research and Development of a Low Cost Robotics Platform
Kaye Smith and Kassandra Surma

Psychology

Influence of Media Images on Food Choice and Food Intake
Anaya Mitra, Lauren Lund, and Alexandria Thompson

Theology

The City in the Song of Songs
Elaine James and Jasmine Kurth

Apparel, Merchandising, and Design

Trudy Landgren and Megan Buysse, Explorations of Milkweed Floss Use in Apparel Design and Textile Fabrication

Biology

Dawn Foster-Hartnett and Britta Wass, Differentiation of Verticillium alfalfi Populations with Microsatellite Markers

Chemistry

Kim Ha*, Adedolapo Ojoawo, and Choua Xiong*, Determining the Impact of Dephosphorylation on Therapeutic Mutants of the Cardiac Protein Phospholamba

Daron Janzen and Morgan Stamp, Triboluminescent Materials: Design of Pressure-Sensitive Phosphorescent Systems
Communication Studies (with Psychology)

Jamie Peterson, Joshua Haringa, Janet Bishop, Moira Kuehn, and Hilary Stein, Digital Media and the Support of Service-Learning

Nutrition and Exercise Science

Teri Burgess-Champoux, Katrina Groshens, and Anna Laitinen, Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Community Garden Experiences on Fruit and Vegetable Preferences and Intake of Preschool-aged Children: Implications for a Pilot Intervention

Mathematics

Kristy Pelatt* and Michelle Johnson*, Combinatorics in the Sinha Spectral Sequence

Philosophy

Susan Hawthorne and Cody Flaherty, Community Connections: Digitally Enhanced Community-Based Learning in Philosophy

Physics

Erick Agrimson, Mara Blish, Rachel Hedden, and Amanda Grove, High Altitude Ballooning as a Means for Studying Atmospheric Phenomena

Jolene Johnson*, Rachel Hanson*, and Sara Olson, Designing and Building Microfluidic Devices Using Nanofabrication for Studying Gene Expression in Single Isolated Cells

Psychology (with Communication Studies)

Jamie Peterson, Joshua Haringa, Janet Bishop, Moira Kuehn, and Hilary Stein, Digital Media and the Support of Service-Learning

Social Work

Sarah Ferguson and Nora Smyth, The Transition from Grassroots Movement to Social Service Agency: The Influence of Organizational Culture on Battered Women’s Shelters

Richa Dhanju, Eleanor O’Neil, and Caitlyn Wright, Between Local and Global: Assessing Relevance of International Curriculum in Training “Globally Competent” Social Workers

Sociology

Hui Wilcox and Ardo Jimale, Life at Extraordinary Times: Muslim American Women’s Experiences after 9/11

Theology

Colleen Carpenter and Elea Ingman, In the Beginning Was the Story: Narrative and Imagination in Theology

*Clare Boothe Luce Scholars

A key outcome of Undergraduate Collaborative Research projects is sharing research and/or projects with a larger scholarly community.

Students from St. Kate’s have a higher-than-average acceptance rate for the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), and more than 90% of teams have presented at an undergraduate or discipline-specific regional, national or international conference.

  • CLARE BOOTHE LUCE SCHOLARS

    Year-Round, Grant-Funded STEM Research

    A 2012 grant from the Clare Booth Luce program of the Henry Luce Foundation has helped increase and enhance collaborative undergraduate research opportunities for women majoring in:

    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Chemistry/Biochemistry

    Scholars collaborate with faculty in the fields in which women are underrepresented. They participate in the Summer Scholars community during the 10-week summer program and then continue their research through the academic year, meeting periodically to learn about Clare Boothe Luce, discuss issues facing women in STEM, and developing strategies for success in male-dominated fields.

Chemistry

Precedence for Fungi as a Source of Bioactive Natural Products
Ani Jordan and Alexa Harnagel

Mathematics

Games on Directed Threshold Graphs
Chris Ross and Rose Winter

Chemistry

Understanding the Mechanical Properties of a Unique Nanomaterial, Graphene Oxide
Gina Mancini-Samuelson and Elicia Olson

Mathematics

Games on Threshold Graphs
Chris Ross and Rose Winter

Enumerating Perfect Matchings in Benzenoids
Jessie Lenarz and Marie Fallon

Physics

Investigation of the Thermal Wake Beneath Ascending Stratospheric Balloons
Erick Agrimson and Rachel Newman

Physics

Designing and Building Microfluidic Devices Using Nanofabrication for Studying Gene Expression in Single Isolated Cells
Jolene Johnson and Rachel Hanson

Mathematics

Combinatorics in the Sinha Spectral Sequence
Kristine Pelatt and Michelle Johnson

Chemistry

Determining the Impact of Dephosphorylation on Therapeutic Mutants of the Cardiac Protein Phospholamba
Kim Ha and Choua Xiong