Announcing the 2021-2022 Central Undergraduate Research Board

The Office of High-Impact Practices is pleased to introduce you to the 2021-2022 Central Undergraduate Research Board (CURB).UCO students on CURB serve as an advisory board for undergraduate research programs, and have been chosen for their research, creative, and scholarly activity experience and their vision for undergraduate research at UCO. Dr. Michael Springer, professor of History and Director of the Office of High-Impact Practices added “we are excited to work with this group of leaders, whose members have great ideas about how to support and expand undergraduate research opportunities at UCO.” Board members also serve as peer mentors, so if you want to learn more about opportunities please reach out to them.

Here are the 2021-2022 board members!


Prash Bajracharya (

I am a Junior in Economics major. This is my second year as a Research Assistant. Both of my research topics are relative to international trade. Through research, I have been able to explore topics that I am naturally interested in. Over my last two years here at UCO, it has helped me realize my passion for international development and global sustainability. Working on these research projects has not only helped me in my academic profile but has also been pivotal in defining my individuality.



Farnam Bassendeh (

My name is Farnam Bassandeh, I’m a data science major, my current research interest is in the realm of energy economics. I got involved in undergraduate research because I really enjoy applying my skills to help me deepen my understanding of subjects that I find interesting. Getting involved in undergraduate research helps me develop the skills I need to further my academic career and gives me a great opportunity to meet very interesting people.


Dakota Middick (

Hello! My name is Dakota Middick, and I am a Mechanical Engineering major. I love math, and am fascinated by computational applications therein. I got involved in undergraduate research to maximize my experience here at UCO and make new friends that share my same passions and interests. It’s been a blast, a challenge, and a blessing, and I hope every student finds their place for scholarly and creative pursuits in their collegiate careers!


Amarachukwu Oti (

Hello! My name is Amarachukwu Oti. I am a sophomore studying Biomedical Engineering with a minor in French. I have always been curious about regeneration and how different organs ‘heal’, so when I heard there was an opportunity to work with one of the professors on campus, I was more than happy to take the opportunity, and I am so glad I did. Working as a research assistant provides the opportunity to see a lot of in-class concepts in a practical setting. Research has made me more confident and has taught me how to think critically and seek solutions to problems actively. I have also acquired lab skills which will definitely come in handy as I go along. I’ve made great friends, and learned so much in a short time. I’m always grateful for all of it and look forward to helping others who are interested in research find what best suits them.


Faezeh Soltani (

Hello! My name is Faezeh Soltani but I go by Niloofar which means lotus in Persian! I am a junior majoring in biomedical science. I am an international student and UCO has been my second home since 2020 that I moved from Hungary to the US. I started my journey as an undergrad researcher at UCO by shadowing my mentor and learned a lot just from observing different experiences. I applied for the RCSA grant at the end of my sophomore year. This grant gave me an opportunity to be even more involved in research and work on my own research project. I enjoy doing research because it fosters my critical thinking and allows me to understand experiments better through hands-on experiences.


Kali Tevis (

Hi, I am Kali, and I am an International Business and Economics double major within the College of Business here at UCO. My first semester at UCO my Principles of Microeconomics instructor mentioned the RSCA Grant Program to students and, to be honest, I didn’t feel smart enough to consider it -even though it piqued my interest. As I gained more discipline-based knowledge and dove further into my studies I learned not only how compassionate the instructors are, but that I was smart enough! This has been an invaluable opportunity, one that I am thrilled to have had my instructors encourage me to take a part of. It has provided mentoring based experience, expanded, and fine-tuned research skills, and helped me begin to build a network among my fellow peers. Throughout my education at the university, I have had help and guidance from others and really feel as though I now have a knowledge base and experience to pass onto others and can pay it forward, that is why I got involved. I feel a bit silly not realizing I could have done this my first semester by simply asking for guidance! Studying bees is a bonus.😊


Hannah Tran (

I’m a biomedical sciences major with minors in chemistry and Spanish as well as a premed student with a goal to go to medical school and become a physician/surgeon. Besides the great importance research has to my path to medicine, I began undergraduate researching due to my interest in science, the discovery of the new, and how it can benefit the world. Through undergraduate research have I been able to experience a variety of different skills as well as work with various faculty mentors, with my current research working with cancer cells. It has been a life-changing experience and without undergraduate research, I would not have been able to become the person and student I am today, of which I owe my gratitude to undergraduate research for not only allowing me to improve my community, university, and the world but myself as well.

Fulbright Student Programs

The UCO deadline for Fulbright Student Programs applications is August 31, 2021.

The Fulbright Program has operated since 1946 and is among the most well-known academic exchange programs for US students and faculty. Funded by Congress and managed by the US State Department, its goal is to foster mutual understanding between the US and other countries.

The program operates in more than 160 countries, and each year approximately 8,000 students, scholars, teachers, artists, and professionals are awarded opportunities to teach, study, or research abroad.

The Fulbright Student Programs offers two types of awards for American citizens.

Open Study/Research Awards – Applicants for these awards create their own projects and will typically work with advisers at foreign universities or other institutes of higher education. The Open Study/Research Awards are available in approximately 140 countries.

English Teaching Assistant Awards – The English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Programs place Fulbright recipients in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to the local English teachers. ETAs help teach English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the U.S. The age and academic level of the students varies by country, ranging from kindergarten to university level.

If you would like to learn more about these opportunities or learn how to submit an application, contact UCO’s Fulbright Student Program Advisor Michael S. Springer, Ph.D., Director of the Office of High-Impact Practices.


Join the Central Undergraduate Research Board

The Central Undergraduate Research Board (CURB) is a small group of student leaders on campus who serve as an advisory board promoting undergraduate research, creative, and scholarly activity at UCO. The board consists of 5-10 members representing the university’s five colleges, and works with the Office of High-Impact Practices to engage students and to plan for future growth in undergraduate research. Students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

CURB’s mission is to:

  • Promote undergraduate research, creative, and scholarly opportunities;
  • Collaborate with other student groups on campus to get the word out about research, creative, and scholarly opportunities and their benefits to students;
  • Contribute to the conversation about expanding opportunities to our diverse student body;
  • And provide a student voice to advise OHIP on student polices, practices, resources, and services

Undergraduate students can apply to serve on CURB through a nomination process. To nominate yourself or someone else, please send an email to Dr. Michael Springer, Director of the Office of High-Impact Practices at In the email, be sure to include the nominee’s name and answers to the following three questions.

  • Why do you think undergraduate research is important?
  • What would you like to do to promote undergraduate research experiences at UCO?
  • What does diversity, equity, and inclusion mean to you and why are these important in undergraduate research?

Students and faculty can nominate any undergraduate student to serve on the advisory board. The deadline to nominate is Friday, September 10, 2021. Students selected to serve on the board will be notified by Friday, September 17, 2021.

Benefits for advisory board members include a voice in decisions about undergraduate research programs, leadership opportunities, as well as network building and community outreach. It is a chance to impact undergraduate research, creative, and scholarly activities for other students at UCO.

Serving on the advisory board is a voluntary position, with an estimated time commitment of five hours per month. The term of appointment is for the academic year 2021-2022.

If you are interested, submit a nominating email to today!

Getting the most out of virtual conferences

students on a gymnasium floor walking around looking at research posters

The past year has brought many challenges as we have adapted to life during a pandemic. One significant change we have experienced is the shift from in-person conferences to virtual ones. Although virtual events lack the face-to-face interactions, they can be as informative, engaging, and rewarding as in-person events. Here are my tips for getting the most out of your virtual conference experience.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the platform before the conference begins. Many platforms exists, and they each have distinct features that allow you to participate in discussions, connect with conference participants, and to communicate with presenters. Knowing what you can do with the virtual platform will help you get the most out of the experience.
  2. Choose presentations, roundtable discussions, and poster sessions that interest you. Take a look at the schedule and plan your activities in advance so you don’t miss out. I recommend reading through the program before the conference begins and planning your schedule will allow you to find the sessions that excite you and make for a more engaging conference.
  3. If presenting at a virtual conference, be sure to practice with the platform before you present. Some conferences have begun adding in practice times for presenters, which can help you get accustomed to the platform and reduce the stress of virtual presentations.
  4. Minimize the disruptions in your environment. One challenge I have found with virtual conferences is that I can be distracted easily of the demands of work and home. Clear your schedule to allow you to focus on the conference. Turning off things like email notifications and using headphones have also helped me to reduce the distractions and allow me to concentrate on the presentations.
  5. Connect and engage with people. One key to immersing yourself in the conference is to connect with other participants through structured discussions, virtual meet-and-greets, or private messaging. Be sure to explore all of the methods conference organizers have set up for you to interact with other participants.

Virtual conferences are still a good place to share research, exchange ideas, and to learn. The platforms just require us to adapt to new ways of connecting and engaging, and with a little planning you can get the most out of your conference experience.

I would love to hear about your virtual conference experiences. Please share any tips you have learned in the comments below.

Oklahoma (Virtual) Research Day 2021 – Check it out!

Oklahoma Research Day (ORD) is an annual event showcasing cutting-edge student and faculty research conducted at the state’s colleges and universities. This year’s event is online and will run from March 5 until March 19. I invite you to check it out!

Below is helpful information to get started and to navigate the virtual ORD.

Event Launch/Go Live
ORD 2021 will launch on Friday, March 5 at midnight, and access to the event website will become available.

Navigating the site
Click the ORD 2021 link: to navigate the event’s Welcome Page. Participants may further navigate the site using three tabs (located at the top of the page): Welcome Page, Presentations, and Live Sessions.

Viewing presentations
Select the Presentations Tab to view ALL presentations.

Searching for presentations
Enter Keyword(s) or Author(s) in the Search Bar at the top of the page to search for specific presentations. Select Filters on the left side of the screen to find a specific Institution and/or Subject.
Click any presentation listing to view it full screen. Click the back arrow on the web browser (top left of screen) to return to the list of presentations.

Leaving comments for presentations
A Comments Box becomes accessible (bottom of the screen) once any presentation is opened. Type questions or comments about the presentation in the comments box and click the Post button.
Please note: Only registered participants may leave comments. Registering ensures that participants can view, comment, and receive responses. Participants will be notified if a presenter replies to a comment. Please restrict comments to positive, thoughtful feedback and engaging questions, and refrain from entering negative comments, threatening language, or harassment, as these will not be tolerated.

Viewing speakers’ remarks
Select the Live Sessions Tab to view presentations from Chancellor Glen Johnson and Executive Director of the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) Michael Carolina. These sessions were pre-recorded and will be available from event launch (Friday, March 5, 2021) until event closure (Friday, March 19, 2021). Sessions may be viewed an unlimited number of times.

For any issues navigating the platform, please feel free to contact event organizers at Cameron University at 580-581-2282 or at

Apply for the Jones Harris Endowed Public Service Scholarship

The Jones Harris scholarship is awarded each year to a student with strong leadership potential and a commitment to enrolling in a graduate or a professional school that will assist in pursuing a career in public service. In this case, public service is broadly defined as working to include work for government agencies, non-profits, and educational institutions. This is a highly competitive scholarship with the winner receiving up to a one- year, $10,000 award. Additional finalists will also be selected from this application process to join a one hour class during the fall semester of the junior year to begin preparation for the Truman Scholarship Application and other national awards. Scholarship winner will be required to take this one hour course to receive this award.


If you meet the qualifications listed below you are a strong candidate for this award.

  • Full-time Sophomore-level standing during the time of application and a strong commitment to attending a graduate or professional school after graduation.
  • Preference given to a Political Science major, but the priority is a student pursuing a career in public service.
  • Minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00.
  • Candidate should have evidence of high academic performance and a strong leadership potential.
  • Applicant should be active in high school and college activities in the school and in the community.
  • Experience in internships and/or part-time jobs is preferred.
  • Intent to apply for a Truman Scholarship during the Junior year.
  • Students currently completing their Associate’s Degree at a community college are eligible to apply during their sophomore year, but must be a UCO student to receive any funds during the junior year.


How to Apply

On a Microsoft Word document, please begin with your first and last name, your UCO or community college ID #, your current major, your current number of hours completed and hours enrolled and your current cumulative grade point average.

  1. List up to eight college activities and up to four high school activities in descending order of significance. Examples might include: student government, sports, publications, school-sponsored community service programs, student-faculty committees, arts, music, etc.
  2. List up to six of your public service and community activities in descending order of Do not repeat items listed previously. Examples might include: homeless services, environmental protection/conservation, advocacy activities, social enterprises, work with religious organizations, etc.
  3. List any of your government activities, not including student Examples might include: internships with government agencies, partisan political activities, ROTC/military, municipal boards and commissions.
  4. List any part-time and full-time jobs and non-government internships since high school graduation.
  5. List any awards, scholarships, publications or special recognitions received, listed in descending order of significance.
  6. In one to two paragraphs describe one specific example of your leadership in example.
  7. Describe a recent particularly satisfying public service activity in one to two Please do not repeat experience described in leadership example.
  8. In one to two paragraphs, describe a problem or need of society you would like to address when entering public service. If possible, use statistical data to define the magnitude of the problem.
  9. What graduate or professional school do you intend to pursue and how will it help to meet your goals.
  10. What additional personal information do you wish to share?
  11. Please attach a letter of recommendation from one college faculty or staff member that focuses on the applicant’s intelligence, academic performance, analytical abilities, and other characteristics which you think contribute to strong leadership potential.

Application should be emailed to Karisa Rollins in the Office for Advancement at by 5 p.m. on April 30th.

Contact Dr. Springer (, director of the Office of High-Impact Practices with questions.

Meet the Researcher – Sabrina Truong

Sabrina Truong is a sophomore Graphic Design Major at UCO whose Faculty Mentor is Amanda Horton. Truong was invited to present her research “Columns Through Greek and Modern Times” at NCUR 2020. Her research studies how Ancient Greek architecture has created a segment of design for the later times to adapt to, one of which being columns that were built with the monumental buildings. Their influential design goes throughout the region and all across time as others began to adapt to the style of the ancients. Truong got into this subject because of an appreciation of how historical architecture not only shapes the future but also inspires it.

Meet the Researcher – Selena Romero and Ashley Salim

Selena Romero and her Co-Presenter Ashley Salim were invited to present their research at NCUR 2020. Selena Romero is a Senior General Business major with a double minor in Entrepreneurship and Contemporary Music Business. Romero and Salim first got involved in their research, “Does the Remote-Control ‘Control’ Our Future?”, during an in-class project for Dr. Patricia Blevins, their Faculty Mentor. A year later, Dr. Blevins reached out to Romero and Salim to present their research at Oklahoma Research Day and NCUR 2020. 

The concept of using an actual remote device to change a channel revolutionized the television industry and unlocked other uses of a remote device. This research explores the advancements of remote-control technology and tries to determine the direction of device usage in the future. Specific focus is placed on the dependency of repeated use and the variety of devices utilized, predicting phones are replacing all remotes in general.

Meet the Researcher – Beth Anderson

Beth Anderson is a Senior History major here at UCO. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Jessica Sheetz-Nguyen. Anderson was invited to NCUR 2020 to present her research “Propaganda Techniques During the Second World War: The ‘Other’ in Japanese and American War Posters”. Her project for NCUR compares propaganda being made by the Japanese and the Americans during the Second World War. She examined the medium, the message, and delivery. She took a deeper look at the racist stereotypes coming from both sides as practiced through cartoons and paintings. As an artist, Anderson is constantly looking at artists through history and how they are useful in different social and economic situations like war, peace, diseases, civil rights and so forth.

Meet the Researcher – Carlie Crutchfield

Carlie Crutchfield is a Senior Elementary Education major at UCO. She got involved with her research after meeting with her faculty advisor, Dr. Darlinda Cassel, and discussing how to help 8th grade students become more fluent in multiplication. She was invited to present her research “Using Engaging Mathematical Activities for Fluency in Middle School Students” at NCUR 2020. Crutchfield’s research project is a case study involving 8th grade remedial math students. She implemented engaging and worthwhile multiplication tasks and tracked their progress through a period of four sessions. The results concluded dramatic improvements in her student’s multiplication skills.