Eastern Michigan University funds diverse portfolio of student-faculty research projects for 2023-2024 Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program Awards

University students, researchers and professors studying together; education and research concept

YPSILANTI — Eastern Michigan University has awarded more than $65,000 to undergraduate students and faculty members as part of the 2023-24 Undergraduate Research Stimulus Program. Students and faculty will explore topics ranging from collaborative animation to evaluating the repair of DNA at broken fragile sites. The University’s Board of Regents approved the awards at its regular meeting on June 20. 

The program aims to facilitate research partnerships between EMU undergraduate students and faculty.  Student awardees receive a $2,200 fellowship to support their research efforts, distributed in bi-weekly installments throughout the award period. The collaborating faculty member may receive $600 for lab/studio supplies, equipment, professional travel, or other professional expenses.

The awardees and their faculty mentors include:

Fall 2023 Awards:
The provost and executive vice president of Academic and Student Affairs have awarded a total of $19,800 to nine undergraduate students and $5,040 to nine EMU faculty for Fall 2023 research and creative projects.

  • Rana Aabed (psychology) – “An Ethnographic Study of Pet Therapy for Special Education Students: From Paws to Purpose.” Faculty mentor: John Palladino (special education and communication sciences and disorders).
  • Talal Ali (neuroscience and psychology) – “How the Model Minority Myth Impacts Asian Americans’ Perceptions of African Americans.” Faculty mentor: Stephen Jefferson (psychology).
  • Kai Garcia (environmental science) – “How do dams affect aquatic ecosystem metabolism in the Huron River?” Faculty mentor: Kristi Judd (biology).
  • Hannah Goike (psychology) – “Assessing College Students' Knowledge of Applied Behavior Analysis and Addressing.” Faculty mentor: Adam Briggs (psychology).
  • Paige Hatfield (cellular and molecular biology) – “Mutations and how they Change the Binding of UHRF2 to Histones.” Faculty mentor: Brittany Albaugh (biology).
  • Garrett Herrington (health administration) – “Researching Referral and Usage Rates of Meal Service Programs Based on Disability.” Faculty mentor: Sarah Walsh (health sciences).
  • Jesse John (psychology) – “Does Dating Violence Victimization Against Cisgender Women and Sexual and Gender Minoritized Individuals Vary Based on the Context of the Relationship?” Faculty mentor: Elizabeth Neilson (psychology).
  • Sasha Rollinson (biology) – “Investigating mutations in the MITF gene as a cause for color loss in a reptile.” Faculty mentor: Hannah Seidel (biology).
  • Lindsay Timbs (simulation, animation, and gaming) – “Collaborative Animation” Faculty mentor: Metaphor Brown (art and design).

Winter 2024 Awards:
The Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs has awarded a total of $19,800 to nine undergraduate students and $5,100 to nine EMU faculty for Winter 2024 research and creative projects.

  • Sydney Davis (professional geology) – “Characterize Groundwater Flow and Recharge Rates in the Bog and Kettles at Fish Lake Environmental Educational Center.” Faculty mentor: Christopher Gellasch (geography and geology).
  • Cole DuVall (biology) – “Proposal for genetic testing supplies for Ambystomatid unisexuals.” Faculty mentor: Katherine Greenwald (biology).
  • Chas Higgins (chemistry) – “Why Is a Diversity Statement Important? An Exploration Of How Students Are Impacted By Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging Statements.” Faculty mentor: Amy Johnson (chemistry).
  • Elizabeth Joffe (nursing) – “Exploring Impacts of Student-Nurse Relationships: Views from Across the Curriculum.” Faculty mentor: Valerie Pauli (nursing).
  • Victoria Keeton (instrumental music education) – “Experiences of Band Teachers Who Identify Outside the Gender Binary.” Faculty mentor: Heather Shouldice (music and dance).
  • Matthew Lansdale (neuroscience) – “Investigation of UHRF2 Binding in Competitive Drug Environments.” Faculty mentor: Brittany Albaugh (chemistry).
  • Kaitlyn Slayton (mechanical engineering) – “Design of an Engine Coolant Heating System to Investigate Cold Start Emissions.” Faculty mentor: Andrew Mansfield (engineering).
  • Mars Ward (TESOL) – “University Student Mental Health Crisis with Faculty Support: Centering Students’ Perspectives.” Faculty mentor: Zuzana Tomas (world languages).
  • Patricia Woghiren (biochemistry) – “What amino acid residue is Responsible for the Interaction of Atg11 with its Autophagy Partners Atg9 and Atg1?” Faculty mentor: Steven Backues (chemistry).

Summer 2024 Awards:
The Provost and Executive Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs has awarded a total of $13,200 to seven undergraduate students and $3,000 to five EMU faculty for Summer 2024 research and creative projects.

  • Sonia Amoah (biology) – “Evaluating the Repair of DNA at Broken Fragile Sites” Faculty mentor: Anne Casper (biology).
  • Naomi Barbour (political science) – “Human Capital: Understanding the Policy and Fiscal Implications of Prison Gerrymandering.” Faculty mentor: Barbara Patrick (political science).
  • Annalyse Brogan & Spencer Poscente (biology) – “Environmental Characteristics Associated with Greater Burrow Densities and the Impact of Prey Availability on Activity Levels of Tarantulas (Aphonopelma hentzi).” Faculty mentor: Cara Shillington (biology).
  • Nick Chittum (exercise science) – “Examining associations between healthy behaviors, psychological well-being, and demographic characteristics among college students.” Faculty mentor: Catherine Gammon (health promotion and human performance).
  • Sabrina Jeylani (cellular and molecular biology) – “Creation and analysis of a UHRF2 D328A mutant.” Faculty mentor: Brittany Albaugh (chemistry).
  • Jacob Morgan (mechanical engineering) – “Continuing Technology Integration and Atmospheric Research During and in Between Solar Eclipses.” Faculty mentor: David Pawlowski (physics and astronomy).


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

June 20, 2024

Written by:
Brittany Mobley

Media Contact:
Brittany Mobley