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Oklahoma State University

CASNR selects 31 students for Undergraduate Research Scholar program

Fri, February 26, 2016
CASNR selects 31 students for Undergraduate Research Scholar program

A partnership between the Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station and the Oklahoma State University College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Undergraduate Research Scholar program is enabling 31 CASNR students the opportunity to perform undergraduate research for a full year.

“This program is an opportunity for research scientists to include undergraduates in their research,” said Steve Damron, CASNR assistant dean of academic programs. “This also allows undergraduates the opportunity to generate new knowledge about a topic or topics.”

Participating in undergraduate research allows students the opportunity to better understand areas they are interested in and decide if it is something they will pursue as a career, Damron said. It also can provide students a taste of what graduate school would be like.

“The great value of it from our perspective is that it is a way for young people who are involved in an undergraduate educational experience to see quite specifically what it’s like to be part of the discovery of new knowledge.”

To qualify, students must be enrolled in CASNR and included on the research proposals submitted by a faculty mentor with a detailed outline of their role in the research.

Participants began working with their faculty mentors this past fall semester. Students chosen for the URP for the 2015-16 academic year include:

CASNR Undergraduate Research Scholars



Dillon Johnson, Plant and Soil Sciences junior

Project: “Using agricultural value-chains for economic development: a case study in southeastern Oklahoma.”


Faithful Williams, Entomology senior

Project: “Research on sex-based phototactic behavior in insects.”


Katy Layman, Horticulture senior      

Project: “Evaluating a no-dig method of planting ornamental flower bulbs in Oklahoma.”


Hammons Hepner, Agribusiness senior

Project: “Consumer preferences for goat meat.”


Thomas Hess, Entomology junior

Project: “Electrical penetration graph studies of mosquito feeding activities.” 


Yiling Ke, Food Science senior

Project: “Characterizing the antioxidant properties of pomegranate extract in a liposome system.”


Riley Jones, Biosystems Engineering senior

Project: “Predicting runoff color based on organic carbon source and concentration.”


Madison Slawson, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology junior

Project: “Expression and purification of INI-1 and its biologically significant truncations.”

Oklahoma City

Anna O’Hare, Natural Resource Ecology and Management senior

Project: “Grassland restoration following removal of non-native invasive grasses.”

Suzi Barboza-Pacheco, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology junior

Project: “Characterization of the mechanism of action of natural product inhibitors of Hsp90.” 


Abigail Parnell, Biosystems Engineering senior

Project: “Impact of in-stream structures on hyporheic flows in streams: potential for enhanced nutrient processing.”

Iain Kirscke, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology sophomore

Project: “Intracellular localization of sumoylation deficient Stu2p mutants.”


Kaylen Baker, Animal Science and Agricultural Communications senior

Project: “Oklahoma’s broadband infrastructure: ranking by State Senate and House Districts.”



Ashley Harris, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology senior

Project: “Selection of bacillus spp. strains with specific enzyme activity.” 


West Suffield

Molly Drakeley, Animal Science sophomore

Project: “Selection preferences of grazing livestock species.” 


David Bradt III, Entomology senior

Project: “A test of cold tolerance of native and introduced cockroach species.”



Courtney Lester, Animal Science junior

Project: “Identification of performance-associated intestinal microbes.” 



Charley Rayfield, Food Science freshman

Project: “A novel antimicrobial ice based cleaning-in-place meat grinder sanitization process development.”



Sage Becker, Animal Science freshman

Project: “Efficacy of butyrate-based products in host defense peptide induction, growth promotion and intestinal health.”



Elizabeth Farney, Animal Science senior

Project: “Increasing the shelf life of ground beef using bacteriocin antimicrobials on beef trim to suppress the growth of spoilage organisms in ground beef.”



Brittany Lippy, Animal Science freshman

Project: “Molecular evolution of osmoregulation genes in desert and temperate-adapted animals.”



Hannah Paradis, Entomology junior

Project: “Immune boosting compounds as alternatives to antibiotics.”



Will Shaffer, Animal Science junior

Project: “Aquaporin gene expression in kidney for low vs. high water intake beef steers.”


Cassidy Ward, Plant and Soil Sciences sophomore

Project: “Testing of candidate gene function for developmental process in winter wheat.” 


Carlee Luttrell, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology junior

Project: “The phosphorylation of INI-1 and its role in DNA and chromatin binding.”


Cedar Hill

Sydney Stewart, Animal Science senior

Project: “An antibiotic-free approach to disease control and prevention.” 

Fort Worth

Jordan Fansler, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology senior

Project: “Spiroplasmas: evolution of a family of pan-pathogens.” 


Cooper Morris, Biosystems Engineering freshman

Project: “Weather impacts on UAV flight availability for agricultural purposes in Oklahoma.”   

White Deer

Zachary Bradley, Biosystems Engineering senior

Project: “Investigating layering effects on bioretention source and concentration.”