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OSU students win grand prize, 2nd at Research Day at the Capitol

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oklahoma State University undergraduate students who presented at Research Day at the Capitol March 29 joined with OSU and Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) officials following the awards ceremony. Pictured (from left) is second place finisher Carol Abraham, Samantha Grider, Logan Kunka, Kenneth Sewell, OSU vice president for research, grand prize winner Christian Ley, and Glen Johnson, chancellor of OSRHE.

A pair of Oklahoma State University students won top awards for presentations March 29 at Research Day at the Capitol, including student Christian Ley, winner of the competition’s grand prize. Along with Ley, OSU student Carol Abraham won second place in the research-intensive institution category. The OSU student contingent also included Samantha Grider and Logan Kunka.

The 21st annual Research Day at the Capitol, held in the state Capitol rotunda, allows undergraduate researchers from colleges and universities across Oklahoma to show off research projects for Oklahoma legislators, other policymakers, and the public. The competition included poster and oral presentations judged by an panel not affiliated with participating institutions. In all, 24 top student researchers from 18 colleges and universities were selected to present.

Ley, a biosystems and agricultural engineering major from Broken Arrow, presented her research on the ability of microalgae to clean wastewater, including from oil and gas fracking, and its impact on biofuel production. Her overall win includes a $500 cash prize and a $4,000 summer internship. Abraham, a chemical engineering student from Stillwater, presented research to improve a technique to deliver stem cells to treat cardiac disease through tissue regeneration. Her second place earned her $250.

Grider, from Shawnee, is an integrative biology major who presented on her investigation of genetic disorders. Mechanical and aerospace engineering student Logan Kunka, from Owasso, shared his research of aerospace 3D printing.

“I congratulate all of our OSU undergraduate researchers who presented posters at the Research Day at the Capitol,” said Dr. Kenneth Sewell, OSU vice president for research. “I had the privilege of attending, viewing the posters, and hearing each of the students describe her or his work.

“I also want to acknowledge the faculty and graduate student mentors for their vital contributions in preparing these undergraduate researchers for success.”

The event is sponsored by the Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the National Science Foundation.

“We are very pleased to sponsor this prestigious event that highlights our state’s outstanding undergrad research programs,” said Dr. Ray Huhnke, Oklahoma NSF EPSCoR projector director and OSU professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering.

To learn more about Research Day at the Capitol and Oklahoma EPSCoR, visit


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