Outstanding research celebrated at RaCAS event

RaCAS event

Casey Allen, Ph.D., receives the Faculty Mentor of the Year Award at the RaCAS event. Presenting the award is Mary Coussons-Read, provost of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

A full breadth of research -- from small-scale agriculture to technology in middle schools to the effects of bone loss -- was showcased Friday at the 16th annual Research and Creative Activities Symposium.

The RaCAS alternates between the CU Denver campus and the Anschutz Medical Campus, and this year was the Denver Campus's turn as host.

This year, 129 students participated, including 12 research projects presented by middle school participants. Certificates and prizes were presented in various categories, including the Chancellor's Awards and the RaCAS Awards. Faculty members review the abstracts and choose award winners.

Mary Coussons-Read, provost of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and former associate vice chancellor for research at CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus, presented the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of the Year Award and the RaCAS awards.

"It's astonishing the level of research and creative work that's happening here and at the Anschutz Medical Campus," she said. "I am just thrilled to be able to be a part of it today. I want to commend everybody for an incredible job." In presenting the Mentor of the Year award to Casey Allen, Ph.D., assistant professor of geography and environmental sciences, Coussons-Read said, "The students nominate this award. It's very competitive … probably one of the most prestigious awards any of us can receive as a faculty member."

Winners of RaCAS awards each presented their research projects to the audience in the North Classroom auditorium.

Ian Danielson, a graduate student in public administration in the School of Public Affairs, gave an entertaining presentation on his research topic, "Extra-Disciplinary Wanderings: The Benefits of Coloring Outside Epistemological Lines." He won a RaCAS award for outstanding creative activity.

"When we put ourselves in these narrow academic silos, we really limit ourselves," Danielson said. "I came here today in the hopes that you would go out and try to broaden your own epistemological perspectives and try to unite academic disciplines, instead of separating them, in order to benefit knowledge as a whole, not just as one discipline or another."

Graduate students Thomas Hraha, bioengineering, and Nili Krausz, mechanical engineering, presented their research project, "Using Technology to Promote Interdisciplinary Learning in Colorado Middle Schools." They are GK-12 Fellows who spend 12-week sessions with middle schools to teach the youngsters about technology.

"We're coming up with new ways to present information and new methods to integrate technology into middle schools, and how that's going to happen and how it should be done," Hraha said.

RaCAS Award winners:

  • Undergraduate Research – Ryan Anderson, mechanical engineering
  • Graduate Research – Amy DePierre, environmental science
  • Graduate Creative Activity – Thomas Hraha, bioengineering, and co-presenter Nili Krausz, mechanical engineering
  • Graduate Creative Activity – Ian Danielson, public administration

Chancellor’s Award winners:

  • Undergraduate Research – Nara Chon and co-presenter Eun Kim, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS)
  • Undergraduate Creative Activity – Susan Krueger, CLAS
  • Graduate Research – Michelle Nelsen, immunology, School of Medicine
  • Graduate Creative Activity – Sheri Rosen, School of Medicine, and co-presenter Nicholas Birdsey, School of Public Health

John Lanning, Ph.D., assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate experiences and chair of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, presented the UROP winners. These are the undergraduate students who will participate in next year's RaCAS event.

Lanning said the university produces a stunning breadth of creative activities and research. "We get applications from every school and college at the Denver Campus, as well as the College of Nursing on the Anschutz Medical Campus, for undergraduate research," Lanning said. "Over the last few years we've seen our undergraduate research just expand tremendously in all of our schools and colleges. I'm looking forward to a real good presentation in spring 2014 from our award winners."

UROP winners:

  • Alexandra Harrison
  • Yu Jung Choi and co-presenters Krzysztof Gibala, Beatrice Guillermo
  • Caleb Carr and co-presenters Michael Bollinger, Natalie Kellett, Riley Ruse, Megan Perez
  • Nicholas Shine
  • Heather Dirkmaat
  • Renee Albiston
  • Kristie Han
  • Nicholas Gross and co-presenter Elnora Fuentes
  • Logan Thompson
  • Lenka Hellerova
  • Heather Worrell
  • Rachel Ancar and co-presenters Jordan Long, Ngoc Vu
  • Isabella Ramos
  • Job Bacon-Maldonado
  • Jeremy Judge
  • Meghan Shuman
  • Katarina King
  • Joseph Vasquez
  • Catherine Kern
  • AnneMarie Rossi
  • David Bergkamp
  • Pratibha Anand and co-presenter Natalie Kellett
  • Shannon Peterson and co-presenter Abrar Satar
  • Renae Stede
  • Thanh Liu
  • Michael McCuaig
  • Jack Moen
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