November 06, 2015
The award winners of Sigma Xi's 2015 Student Research Conference, with Sigma Xi President Mark Peeples and Executive Director John Nemeth, shown in back.
The following students were ranked the highest or as a runner-up in their research category during the 2015 Student Research Conference, October 23–25 in Kansas City, Missouri. The conference was held as part of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society's Annual Meeting.
During the Student Research Conference, professional scientists and engineers volunteer to judge high school, undergraduate, and graduate students on the research they present and their ability to communicate that research. The judges ask questions and talk to the students one-on-one. Comments from judges are provided to the students to encourage further development of their research and communication skills. Runner-ups were awarded in highly competitive categories. Approximately 80 students presented their research. The District of Columbia Sigma Xi Chapter sponsored the student poster session.
These top ranked and runner-up students were awarded medals and received an invitation to join Sigma Xi through nominations from the Society's Board of Directors. The board will pay for their first year of membership dues and initiation fee. If an award winner is already a member of Sigma Xi, the board will pay for a year of their membership dues.
Award winners by research category
Agriculture, Soil, and Natural Resources/Environmental Science/Geosciences
Graduate division: Gifty Acquah, Auburn University
Undergraduate division: Priscilla San Juan, University of California, Irvine
Behavioral and Social Sciences
Undergraduate division: Michael Emami, University of California, Irvine
Cell Biology and Biochemistry
Graduate division: Allison McDonald, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences
Undergraduate division: Krishna Paranandi, Washington University in St. Louis
Undergraduate division, runner up: Megan Kabara, Oakland University
Chemistry/Physiology and Immunology
Graduate division: Manindra Singh, Ohio University
Undergraduate division: Joseph Thiebes, Portland State University
High school division: Megha Vyakaranam, Independence High School
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Graduate division: Matthew Galliart, Kansas State University
Graduate division, runner up: Jacob Alsdurf, Kansas State University
Undergraduate division: Marissa Hildebrandt, Eastern Michigan University
Engineering/Physics and Astronomy
Graduate division: Marie Smirman, Oakland University
Undergraduate division: Simeon Gilbert, South Dakota State University
Undergraduate division, runner up: Brittney Cotton and Madison Repp, Clemson University
Math and Computer Science
Undergraduate division: Jon Patman, Eastern New Mexico University
High school division: Manan Shah, The Harker School
Student Choice Awards
The Sigma Xi District of Columbia Chapter sponsored the Student Choice Awards. Students who participated in the conference selected their peers for these awards.
Michael Emami, University of California, Irvine. $200
Runner-Up (five-way tie)
Khashayar Pouriran, of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in Iran. He was awarded a medal in lieu of a cash award.
Olivia Dinsmore and Emily Wells, Ohio Northern University. $50
Melissa Mobley, Worcester Polytechnic Institute. $50
Jacob Alsdurf, Kansas State University. $50
Kinsey Tedford, University of Central Oklahoma. $50
Executive Director's Award
Sigma Xi Executive Director and CEO John Nemeth selected Melissa Mobley of Worcester Polytechnic Institute for his inaugural award. She was selected based on her energy, enthusiasm, and communication skills in presenting her research. She received a certificate.