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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 22, 2006

EDITORS: Receipt of this release indicates that someone from your coverage area is involved in this event. The names of the University of Iowa's participants are listed at the end of the release.

UI, ISU, UNI To Tout Undergraduate Research In Des Moines Feb. 28

The University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa will showcase some of the innovative research being conducted by their undergraduate students during a day dedicated to "Research in the Capitol," a special event at the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines on Tuesday, Feb. 28.

From 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., eight to 10 undergraduate students from the honors programs of each school will display posters in the First Floor Rotunda and speak with state lawmakers and other visitors about their work and its potential impact on their education, careers, and Iowa.

Michael Gartner, president of the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, will make opening remarks at 11 a.m., followed by university officials. Representing the UI at the event will be Vice President for Research Meredith Hay; Associate Provost Lola Lopes; Honors Director John Nelson; Honors Assistant Director Robert Kirby; and UI Student Government President Mark Kresowik and Vice President Lauren McCarthy.

The event is open to the public.

"This presentation celebrates how undergraduates learn by doing research in a variety of fields," said Nelson. "It marks the first collaboration among the honors programs from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa."

Bob Kirby, assistant director of the UI Honors Program, said well over 1,500 undergraduate students -- from engineering to business -- are involved in some aspect of research at the UI, many of them earning credit or getting paid for their work as research assistants.

He said students were selected for the Feb. 28 event based on faculty nominations to the honors programs of each school.

Nancy Hauserman, professor and associate dean in the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, said the college provides students in its Early Admission Program an opportunity to work with professors on research for four years. Hauserman herself served as a mentor to marketing student Lindsey Reighard, who is presenting a poster next week about her research into media coverage of sexual harassment cases.

"My experience is that the relationship goes beyond research to a general mentor relationship -- indeed to friendship," Hauserman said. "Working with Lindsey has been a joy: she is bright, energetic, and adventuresome. Two summers ago we traveled together to an international conference in Brazil where we presented our work together. Last summer, at a different international meeting held in San Francisco, Lindsey was selected to present a portion of a different project that she initiated from our research. My only regret is that in May 2006, Lindsey will graduate and our partnership will come to an end."

UI students taking part in the event (listed by hometown, name, major, title of poster and name of mentor) are:

AMES, Iowa: Evan Herrnstadt, political science, "Do Legislators act as delegates or trustees in setting the legislative agenda?", professor Tom Rice.

BETTENDORF, Iowa: Tara Olds, civil engineering, "Minimizing home energy use through wood-soy foam insulation," Associate Research Scientist Craig Just.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa: Melanie Simet, physics and astronomy, "Examining X-ray flares from an intermediate-mass black hole at the Very Large Array radio telescope," Associate Professor Phil Kaaret.

CHICAGO, Ill.: Jacqueline Alcántar, chemical engineering, "Hybrid photopolymerization: effects of light intensity and temperature," Assistant Professor Julie Jessop.

HUDSON, N.H. Christian Urrutia, Hudson, political science, "Comparing corruption and its perception in mid and large-sized cities," Associate Professor David Redlawsk.

IOWA CITY, Iowa: Megan Roy, history, "Architecture and the elite in colonial Virginia houses," Assistant Professor Barbara Mooney.

MARION, Iowa: Lindsey Reighard, marketing, "Sexual harassment coverage by the media," Associate Dean Nancy Hauserman.

SABULA, Iowa: Addison Killean Stark, chemistry, "Magnetically modified fuel cells," Associate Professor Johna-Leddy.

SPENCER, Iowa: Travis Witt, biochemistry, "Use of X-ray crystallography to determine potassium influence on Calmodulin binding of calcium," Professor Madeline Shea.

For more information, contact Kirby at 319-335-1684, or via email at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007,