Honors: College of Sciences, Kathryn Rafferty, Mary Blankenship, and Iris Nava

The office of undergraduate research (OUR) recently held its Fall 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium and the College of Sciences brought home several honors, including:

  • The School of Life Sciences earned the Champions of Undergraduate Research Award for its commitment to excellence in research education. The school's leadership and faculty were commended for their contributions to elevating the role of experiential and discovery learning at UNLV and to advancing OUR’s mission. The College of Sciences was represented by 80 students, accounting for 49 percent of all student presenters, delivering 48 presentations, accounting for 41 percent of all the presentations. The School of Life Sciences was represented by 69 students, accounting for 42 percent of all student presenters, delivering 39 presentations, accounting for 33 percent of all the presentations.
  • Professor Kathryn Rafferty from the School of Life Sciences was presented with the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award for her record of excellence in inspiring, influencing, supporting, and mentoring undergraduate researchers in their professional development, career training, and educational journey. Rafferty mentored 50 undergraduate researchers at this symposium.
  • Mary Blankenship, a senior double-majoring in chemistry and economics, was the 2020 Outstanding Undergraduate Research Awardee. This award recognizes one outstanding UNLV undergraduate student for excellence in research. An active undergraduate researcher, Blankenship is an undergraduate research assistant in professor Clemens Heske’s research group as well as a student researcher at Brookings Mountain West. During the 2020 calendar year, she published several manuscripts, including co-authoring six Brookings Mountain West fact sheets and a pair of works assessing the impact of Twitter on current socio-political conditions. In addition, she presented her research associated with the Heske Research Group in a virtual conference and was scheduled to travel to Strasbourg, France to present her research prior to COVID travel restrictions.
  • Biology student Iris Nava won the Best Poster Presentation Award in Health & Natural Sciences & Engineering. Nava is an undergraduate researcher in the lab of professor Kelly Tseng. Her presentation was titled, "The Role of V-ATPase During Eye Regeneration in Xenopus laevisvel."

The office of undergraduate research provides students with the opportunity to present their research at three annual undergraduate research symposia. OUR’s triannual, professional, and judged symposia aim to showcase the impactful research undergraduates conduct at UNLV. We define research at UNLV in the broadest, most inclusive, transdisciplinary, and collaborative sense to bridge the gap between content learning and discovery learning.

In response to COVID-19, the Fall 2020 Undergraduate Research Symposium was shifted to a virtual symposium with student well-being, professional development, and research readiness in mind.

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