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April 30: Carnegie Mellon Student Work Showcased at Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 5


Abby Houck

Carnegie Mellon Student Work Showcased at
Undergraduate Research Symposium, May 5

PITTSBURGH—More than 450 students will participate in Carnegie Mellon University's annual Meeting of the Minds undergraduate research symposium from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 5 in the University Center.

Meeting of the Minds is sponsored by the Undergraduate Research Office (URO), which encourages undergraduates to engage in the type of research and innovation that at many institutions is the sole domain of faculty and graduate students. Many projects grow out of students' coursework in their majors, while others typify Carnegie Mellon's emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration to solve real-world problems.

"The diversity of our student projects at Meeting of the Minds grows more interesting every year," said Stephanie Wallach, assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and URO director. "At Meeting of the Minds, unlike anyplace else, you get to see many viewpoints represented under one roof."

Students from the university's six undergraduate schools will share their work through oral presentations, poster sessions, prototype demonstrations, art installations and live performances. Projects focus on a variety of contemporary issues. Here are six examples:

* College Student Health: Erin Honcharuk and Ashley Klein worked with Vicki Helgeson, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences faculty member, to explore the transition to college for students with Type 1 diabetes, as well as peer relationships among college students who are diabetic.

* Music and Innovation: Ryan Caloras developed a digital music stand with adviser Roger Dannenberg, a School of Computer Science faculty member. The stand utilizes a laptop or tablet computer to load sheet music and turn pages during a live performance.

* Gene Mutations and Colon Cancer: Kellie Kravarik worked in the lab of Brooke McCartney, a Mellon College of Science faculty member, and used a fruit fly model to study the role Adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene mutations play in the development of colon polyps. Approximately 80 to 90 percent of all inherited and sporadic colon cancers result from a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene APC.

* Recycling: A team of 11 students advised by C. Fred Higgs III, a faculty member in the College of Engineering, developed an autonomous household-scale recycling sorter.

* Vertical Garden Design: Jared Friedman recognized the growing popularity of urban gardening and created self-supporting, stackable concrete planters that improve vertical garden design. John Folan, a College of Fine Arts faculty member, served as Friedman's adviser.

* Investment Trends: Seok Won Han worked with Evelyn Pierce, a Tepper School of Business faculty member, to analyze the effect of weather on the stock market and investment behavior.

Students will compete for 17 awards sponsored by university organizations, individual donors and companies such as IBM, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Semiconductor Research Corporation and Yahoo!.

More information on the symposium, including a presentation schedule, can be found at