Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship

The Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship offers undergraduate students at UMKC the opportunity to showcase their creative, scholarly, and research work.


About the Symposium

Since 2000, the Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship has showcased the wide variety of research, scholarship, and creative work being done by students and their faculty mentors. Through posters, oral presentations, performances, and visual art, students share their discoveries and original work with the UMKC community. Whether work originated through a SEARCH grant, EUReka course, Undergraduate Research Associate position, faculty grant project, capstone project, or other source, all students are welcome and encouraged to present at the annual symposium. In 2024, the symposium featured 85 presentations from more than 170 students.

Present Your Work

All students who plan to present must register and submit their abstract by the deadline. The priority registration deadline is March 14, 2025, and the final registration deadline is April 7, 2025. Log in to the Google Form with your @UMSYSTEM.EDU credentials.

Register to Present

Students should prepare their presentation materials in advance and bring their own materials on the day of the symposium. For detailed guidelines on abstracts, posters, oral presentations, and more, visit the Presenter Resources page.

Visit the Symposium

The 24th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship will be held Thursday, April 18, 2024, in Pierson Auditorium. UMKC students, facutly, and staff are encouraged to attend, as well as members of the community. Tentative schedule:

Poster session: 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Oral Presentations: 12:00-4:00 p.m.
Reception: 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Awards Ceremony: 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Presentations of Distinction Awards

The opportunity to share their research, scholarship, and creative activity with a wide audience offers students the opportunity to develop communication skills, increase confidence, and receive important feedback on their work. In an effort to enhance those opportunities and to recognize excellence, faculty judges visit each student and select Presentations of Distinction in the following six categories:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Biological and Life Sciences
  • Computing and Engineering
  • Physical and Natural Sciences
  • Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • KC Works, an interdisciplinary division that focuses on research and artistic work embedded in the local community

View honorees to learn more about the exciting work that students are doing at UMKC.

2024 Presentations of Distinction

Arts & Humanities
Josie Newman; Media, Art, & Design
“Welcome to Womontown”
Mentor: Zach Frazier

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Andi Basalo; Political Science / Accounting
Vari Patel; Political Science / Finance
“Legislative Term Limits and Representational Loss”
Mentor: Greg Vonnahme

Kate McKown; Psychology
Ainsley Pickering; Psychology
Emma Angle; Biology
“Trauma-related nightmares predicted by rumination in adults”
Mentor: Westley Youngren 

Ellery Vaughn; Psychology
“Examining Conflict Resolution Styles and Self Control in Couples”
Mentor: Lark Lim

Biological & Life Sciences
Trevor Bell; Biology
“The Role of rRNA Post-Transcriptional Modifications in Escherichia coli Ribosome Biogenesis”
Mentor: Michael O’Connor

Samuel David Herman; Biology
“An Expression Map for Axon Guidance Molecules in the Fruit Fly”
Mentor: Haluk Lacin

Allessandra Smith; Biology
“A Single-dose of rWNT5A During Facial Bone Mineralization Results in Midface Differences”
Mentors: Claire J. Houchen, Portia L. Hahn Leat, and Erin E. Bumann

Computing & Engineering
Kailynn Barnt; Computer Science
“Testing of Generative AI for Disaster Scene Computing and Human-in-the-loop Post-disaster Decision-Making”
Mentor: ZhiQiang Chen

Physical & Natural Sciences
Aleigha Dollens; Earth & Environmental Science - Geology
“Electrical Resistivity Tomography Imaging of the Motagua Fault along the 1976 Earthquake Rupture in Guatemala”
Mentor: Tina M. Niemi

KC Works
Olivia Sours; Health Science
“Charitable Food & Healthcare Industry Partnership Efforts Against Food Insecurity”
Mentor: Kelsey Gardiner

Learn more about these projects and all symposium presenters by reviewing the 24th Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship Abstract Book (PDF).

Arts & Humanities
Park Zebley; Media, Art, & Design
"Happy Milk: A Narrative Short Film & Creative Exploration"
Mentor: Caitlin Horsman

Biological & Life Sciences
Logan Baerman; Biology
Kylie Cushing; Biology
"Examining regulation of the SAGA-DUBm complex during sleep deprivation in Drosophila melanogaster"
Mentor: Ryan Mohan

EunBee Lee, Biology
"Genome-wide DNA Methylation in Granulosa Cells is Crucial for Gonadotropin-Induced Ovarian Follicle Maturation"
Mentor: James Benevides and M.A. Karim Rumi

Lindsy Todd, Biology
"A New Regulator of Ataxin-7 Cleavage in Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7"
Mentor: Ryan Mohan

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Maha Mateen, Accounting
"Regulation in Cryptocurrency"
Mentor: Julie Kline

Zack Smith, Psychology
Alyssa Squires, Psychology
"Mental Health Among the Religious and the "Nones": Examining Attitudes Toward Conventional and Alternative Approaches to Mental Health Care"
Mentor: Melisa Rempfer

Computing & Engineering
Grace Dang, Biology
"Reconfigurable Biomaterials Containing Magnetic Nanoparticles"
Mentor: Zahra Niroobakhsh

Physical & Natural Sciences
Liz Langford, Earth & Environmental Sciences
"Assessing the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor for Midwest Urban Soil Regeneration"
Mentor: Caroline Davies

KC Works
Liz Langford, Earth & Environmental Sciences
"Assessing the Johnson-Su Composting Bioreactor for Midwest Urban Soil Regeneration"
Mentor: Caroline Davies

Learn more about these projects and all symposium presenters by reviewing the 23rd Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship Abstract Book (PDF).

Arts & Humanities
Emma Leonard, Department of History, Honors Program
"Sports and Gender: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Men’s and Women’s Sports in the United States"
Mentor: Diane Mutti-Burke

Biological & Life Sciences
Shea O'Connor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
"AI and The Fly"
Mentor: Zachary Fischer

Behavioral & Social Sciences
Karah Chappel, Conservatory
"Exploration of the Education and Experiences of Music Therapists in Trauma Care"
Mentor: Dawn Iwamasa

Computing & Engineering
Dan Caron, Department of Civil Engineering
"Augmenting BIM with Real Time 3D and Damage Analytics"
Mentor: ZhiQiang Chen

Physical & Natural Sciences
Amanda Pierce, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
"The Effectiveness of Sphagnum subsecundum Moss Removal of Dissolved Carbon Dioxide and pH Balancing of Missouri Freshwater"
Mentor: Caroline Davies

KC Works
Alejandra Frias Fraire, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
"Armourdale's Correlation Between Industry Pollution and Health Inequity"

Learn more about these projects and all symposium presenters by reviewing the 22nd Annual Symposium of Undergraduate Research & Creative Scholarship Abstract Book (PDF).

Arts and Humanities
Carolyn Nordengren, Department of Art and Art History
“Untangling the Stories of Portrait Miniatures”
Mentor - Rochelle Ziskin

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Kayley Morris, Department of Psychology
“Imposter Syndrome at Work: The Effects of Employee Socialization on Workplace Imposter Syndrome”
Mentors - Diane Filion, Seung Suk Kang and Bryan Fox

Biological and Health Sciences
Sarah Rapp, Biological Sciences 
“Discovery of a Circadian Ubiquitin Code”
Mentor - Ryan D. Mohan

Computing and Engineering
Celine Lim, Civil and Mechanical Engineering
“Heat Transfer Enhancement of Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage Systems”
Mentor - Sarvenaz Sobhansarbandi

KC Works
Heather Dyreng, Department of English
“Giving a Second Chance: Increasing Access to Expungement in Missouri”
Mentor - Erica Stone

Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Jack Harrigan, Department of Chemistry
“Amphiphilic Dendrimers for Application in Drug Delivery Systems”
Mentor - Shin Moteki

Arts and Humanities
Jordan Fanciullo, Department of History and Program in Classics 
“Imperial Virtus: A Numismatic Study of Emperor Hadrian’s Coinage and Representation of Roman Gender Dynamics”
Mentors - Massimiliano Vitiello and Jeff Rydberg-Cox

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Claire Ridgway, School of Medicine and Dept. of Psychology 
“Relationships between Religious and Sociodemographic Factors and Lifetime Drug Use”
Mentor - Jannette Berkley-Patton

Biological and Health Sciences
Sara Miller, School of Biological Sciences
“The Effects of Nonstop and Ataxin-7 Genes on SCAR Protein Production"
Mentor - Ryan D. Mohan

Computing and Engineering
Bethany Buckland, Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering 
“Improving the Surface Durability of Pervious Concrete Using a Lithium Silicate Densifying Agent”
Mentor - John Kevern

Physical Sciences and Mathematics
Stephanie Caples, Department of Geosciences 
“Using Drone Technology to Track Hurricane Damage: An Example from The Bahamas”
Mentor - Tina Niemi

KC Works
Anne E. Crawford, Peyton Galloway, Megan Schwindler, Bailey Cairns, Christian DeShazo, Jordan Fash, Megan Hayood, Sydney Herter, Batula Hussein, Laura Jarvis, Gina Kelling, Carmen Lajam, Luke Macarthy, Katie Morriss, Nancy Rivera, Bailey Smith, Erin Spelger, Olivia Steely, Nam Vu, Emma Wheatley, Mark Whitrock, RebekahYoumans and Joey Zahner, Department of English 
“Deconstructing the Divides: Rhetorical Activism in Kansas City”
Mentor - Jane Greer

Arts and Humanities
Abigail Osgood, Department of English 
“'How cruel life can be!': Silence, Agency, and a Rhetoric of Displacement in my Great-Grandmother's Letters”
Mentor - Jane Greer

Biological and Health Sciences
Nghi Khiet Chau, School of Dentistry 
“Effects of Polyphenol Rich Extracts from Several Botanical Sources on Dentin Collagen Stabilization”
Mentors - Yong Want and Xiaomei Yao

Neka Khoshkhoo, Gail Juknevicius, Samantha Schwartz and Mercy Maipandi, School of Biological Sciences 
“Developing a Fruit Fly Model for Cachexia”
Mentor - Len Dobens

Computing and Engineering
Spencer On, Department of Computer Science & Electrical Engineering 
“Terahertz Frequency Response of Realistic CNT Environments”
Mentor - Ahmed Hassan

Physical Sciences and Mathematics
LeAnna Cates, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
“Mathematical Modeling of the Zika Virus Transmission Dynamics: Disease Characteristics and Prevention”
Mentor - Naveen K. Vaidya

Behavioral and Social Sciences
Jacob Gurera, Department of Psychology 
“Sleep Education, Locus of Control, and Psychophysiological Adaptability”
Mentor - Diane Filion

Jennifer Collins-Stiner, Department of Psychology
“Anxiety: An Underrecognized Issue in Schizophrenia”
Mentor - Melissa Rempfer

KC Works
Naomi Britton and Jessica Hildreth, Department of Psychology 
"Addressing the Needs of Grandparents Raising Grandchildren: The GPS Project"
Mentor - Joan McDowd