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Graduate students recognized at K-State's Research and the State poster forum

Monday, Oct. 30, 2023

Research and the State winners

Six of the winners of Research and the State, a poster forum for graduate students at Kansas State University, are pictured above. From left: Fidelis Onwuagba, Holly Ellis, Amirsalar Bagheri, Savannah Stewart, Ramona Weber and Andrea Salazar. In total, 10 graduate students will represent the university at the 2024 Capitol Graduate Research Summit on March 21, 2024. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — Kansas State University graduate students displayed a diverse range of research and scholarly work at the Graduate Student Council's annual Research and the State poster forum.

Research and the State took place on Oct. 24 at the K-State Student Union and involved 76 participants from seven colleges and 26 academic programs.

Ten graduate students were selected to represent K-State at the Capitol Graduate Research Summitin March 2024, and each winner received a $250 scholarship. Topics presented by winning students included food production, cancer treatment and tick population reduction.

"The Research and the State poster forum is a great opportunity for any graduate student to communicate research that directly benefits the state of Kansas and the society," said Claudia Petrescu, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School. "The forum is also an opportunity to make connections. It brings together graduate students from across disciplines, allowing them to grow their networks and generate ideas for building interdisciplinary collaborations."

This year's Research and the State forum was sponsored in part by K-State's chapter of Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society. Sigma Xi presented additional awards to three of the award recipients.

"Sigma Xi, as one of the premiere scientific research societies, is pleased to collaborate and work together with K-State Graduate School to provide support to the next generation of scientists," said Ignacio Ciampitti, professor of agronomy and K-State Sigma Xi president. "The K-State Chapter for Sigma Xi is grateful for the participation of graduate students in this research forum, and our chapter is committed to continue supporting our students across campus in future events."

The following graduate students were selected as winners at K-State's Research and the State and will represent the university at the 2024 Capital Graduate Research Summit:

• Ramona Weber, doctoral student in kinesiology, Hanover, for "The effect of dietary nitrate supplementation on tumor oxygenation." Weber's faculty mentor is David Poole, university distinguished professor of kinesiology and anatomy and physiology. Weber was the third-place Sigma Xi winner and was awarded a $50 scholarship.

• Brooke Balderson, doctoral student in couple and family therapy, Manhattan, for "How the role of self of the therapist work in supervision impacts therapeutic growth and development." Balderson's faculty mentor is Jared Anderson, professor of applied human sciences.

• Jaymi Peterson, doctoral student in food, nutrition, dietetics and health, Manhattan, for "Effects of pH and wet cooking on sorghum starch digestibility, phenolic profile, and cell bioactivity." Peterson's faculty mentor is Weiqun Wang, professor of food, nutrition, dietetics and health. Peterson was the first-place Sigma Xi winner and was awarded a $150 scholarship.

• Savannah Stewart, doctoral student in food science, Valley Center, for "Efficacy of commercially available sanitizers on experimentally inoculated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with salmonella and escherichia coli (e. Coli) biofilms." Stewart's faculty mentor is Valentina Trinetta, associate professor of animal science and industry.

• Holly Ellis, master's student in architecture, Grimes, Iowa, for "Redefining traditional long-term care senior living residences through accessible resource implementation to promote healthier seniors." Ellis's faculty mentor is Migette Kaup, professor of interior design and fashion studies.

• Andrea Salazar, doctoral student in entomology, Ecuador, for "Reducing tick populations through prescribed burning." Salazar's faculty mentor is Cassandra Olds, assistant professor in entomology. Salazar was the second-place Sigma Xi winner and was awarded a $100 scholarship.

• Manivannan Selladurai, doctoral student in grain science, India, for "Silica dusts for grain protection: a sustainable alternative to chemical insecticides." Selladurai's faculty mentor is Subramanyam Bhadriraju, university distinguished professor of grain science and industry.

• Amirsalar Bagheri, doctoral student in chemical engineering, Iran, for "Application of artificial intelligence in optimizing green ammonia production." Bagheri's faculty mentor is Davood Pourkargar, assistant professor of chemical engineering.

• Reza Nematirad, doctoral student in electrical and computer engineering, Iran, for "Designing an optimal photovoltaic system with peak demand reduction." Nematirad's faculty mentor is Anil Pahwa, university distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering and Logan-Fetterhoof electrical and computer engineering faculty of distinction chair.

• Fidelis Onwuagba, master's student in geology, Nigeria, for "Uranium in groundwater and its potentials as a natural contaminant in the Cherokee Basin, Southeastern Kansas." Onwuagba's faculty mentor is Karin Goldberg, associate professor of geology.

The Capitol Graduate Research Summit is an annual statewide summit featuring current research of graduate students from Kansas Board of Regents institutions. Academic and industry judges will evaluate the presentations and select award recipients from each university. 

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Research and the State

News tip

Hanover, Manhattan and Valley Center, Kansas; and Grimes, Iowa.

Written by

Michael Sellman