St. Kate’s undergraduate research program reaches new heights

Danielle Meyer '17

Danielle Meyer '17 discusses her research project with visitors during the Minnesota Private College Council's Scholars at the Capitol event. She is among the Katies presenting at NCUR. Photo by Julie Michener

Katies at the 2017 National Conference on Undergraduate Research

For the third year in a row, St. Catherine University students’ acceptance rate to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research is 100 percent. Fifteen Katies will be presenting at the conference in Memphis in early April.

Over the five years St. Kate’s has submitted abstracts, the University’s average acceptance rate has been 98.14 percent. NCUR reports that “typically 80-90 percent of the abstracts submitted are accepted each year."

This year’s student scholars represent seven disciplines and 14 are from 2016 Summer Scholars Undergraduate Research teams. Other Summer Scholars teams have or will present at national conferences in their discipline including the American Chemical Society, PhysCon (physics) and the Population Association of America conference (economics).

The achievement for students in the College for Women is a testament to the strength of the program and exceptional mentoring by faculty who also serve on the Collaborative Research Advisory Council.

“Undergraduate research develops students’ critical thinking and communication skills,” said Lynda Szymanski, psychology professor and program director. “The St. Kate’s Summer Scholar Undergraduate Research program also includes a faculty development component – something that makes our program unique.”

Szymanski’s leadership has brought the quality of student and faculty collaborations to the next level over the past five years. Student-faculty research projects have expanded beyond science departments to encompass 27 disciplines and St. Kate’s teams have presented at over 58 discipline-specific conferences.

Learn more about St. Kate's Collaborative Undergraduate Research.

2017 NCUR Teams

(Faculty mentors in parentheses)


"Analysis of Reproductive Segments and Sperm from the Freshwater Annelid, Lumbriculus, for Protamine-like Molecules"
Kelsey McKenna '17 and Mysee Lee '18 (Kathleen Tweeten)

"Genetics of Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea) Populations at the Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve"
Danielle Meyer ‘17 (Martha Phillips)

"Can practice make perfect? A novel gait training device improves gait patterns"
Chi Na Moua ‘17, Nicole Szyszka ‘17, and Courtney Kirkeide ‘17 (Marcella Myers)

"The expression of Marchantia polymorpha AMT genes in a mutant strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae"
Livianna Myklebust '17 (Tami McDonald)


"Monitoring Graphene Oxide Reduction Using a Green Reducing Agent"
Madisen Hyatt ‘17 (Gina Mancini-Samuelson)

"Derivatization of Secondary Alcohols for the Purpose of Molecular Characterization"
Odilia Mentari ’17 (Annalisa Jordan)

Exercise and Sports Science

"Exercise Duration and Associated Fitness Improvements"
Leigha Embertson ‘17, Sophie Olson, and Jenna Thompson ‘17 (Mark Blegen)


"Convexity of Neural Codes"
Ruby Bayliss '17 (Kristine Pelatt)

"Homology of Permutation Complexes"
Catherine Wallick '18 (Christopher Ross)

Public Health

Child spacing decision-making and couple communication among Somali men and women in the Twin Cities
Fathi Ahmed ‘17 (Carie Cox)


"Women in Biblical Law: How the Daughters of Zelophehad Won and Lost"
Shannon Tacheny ‘17 (Elaine James)

Theology and Art

"Bronze Roses, Pink Crosses, And Feminicide: The Art Of Lament And Liberation In Ciudad Juárez"
Elizabeth Cleary '17

By Julie Michener