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NMSU Honors College symposium showcases student research and creativity

The New Mexico State University community and the public are invited to attend a morning of presentations, poster displays and performances that include topics such as agriculture, dance, science, health, engineering, poetry and economics.


Three dancers on stage, reddish backdrop
NMSU students perform the dance piece titled “Quid Sit Versu Tibi?” choreographed by senior dance major Carley Casey during the dance program’s Entwined Philosophies show at the Center for The Arts. Casey is using her piece for her Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium (URCAS) project. (NMSU photo by Andres Leighton)
Blond woman standing under small birds
Clara Hansen, a junior biology major, will present her project on vocal communication of budgerigar parrots at the 2017 Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium (URCAS) April 28 at Corbett Center Student Union. (Photo by Anja Hansen)
Horizontal purple URCAS logo
Students in the Art 355 Special Topics in Design honors class designed the artwork and theme for the Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium. Junior graphic design major Albert Vasquez designed the 2017 URCAS logo. (Image by Albert Vasquez)

The NMSU Honors College is hosting the annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts Symposium Friday, April 28. URCAS begins at 8:30 a.m. in the Corbett Center Student Union ballrooms on the third floor.

Undergraduate honors students will display their research projects on large poster exhibits, read from their written reports or present a slide show. Some students will read poetry or perform a dance.

URCAS has been held for 21 years at NMSU, and Honors College Dean Miriam Chaiken said the symposium is a proud tradition for all Aggies.

“This is an opportunity for our best and brightest students to highlight what they’ve accomplished over the last year,” Chaiken said. “Some of the projects are research oriented, and some of them are performances. URCAS really showcases the range of talents our students have.”

Some of the students presenting at URCAS are:
- Morgan Beasley, psychology major from Cloudcroft, New Mexico
- Kristy Burchell, communication disorders major from Las Cruces, New Mexico
- Pascual Camacho, civil engineering major from Chesterfield, Missouri
- Carley Casey, dance major from Silver City, New Mexico
- John DesGeorges, psychology major from Las Cruces
- Grace Hooks, biology major from Las Cruces
- Leslie Mosso, public health major from Las Cruces
- Addi Moya, biology major from Las Cruces
- Ryan Scribner, English major from Las Cruces
- Ismael Torres, economics major from Las Cruces
- Anneliese Trujillo, chemical engineering major from Las Cruces
- Krystal Vargas, horticulture major from Los Lunas, New Mexico

Project topics include revolutionary women in STEM research, the speech of cochlear implant users, sustainable concrete structures using recycled concrete aggregate, modern dance choreography, breast cancer genes, modifying proteins to regulate movement of bacteria, colorectal cancer awareness, chile pepper research and comparing Bank of Japan with the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Biology major Clara Hansen will present a research poster about vocal communication among budgerigar parrots.

“I’m working in an animal behavior lab on campus that deals with parrots and their vocal communication,” Hansen said. “What I’m seeing is that if two birds are more closely associated, they share more positive interactions if they have similar contact calls with each other.”

Ismael Torres came up with his project idea during an internship at the U.S. Department of the Treasury last summer.

“At my internship, I studied East Asian economies and how they influence the United States, and I was introduced to the Bank of Japan’s unorthodox forward guidance policies,” Torres said. “When I came back, I decided I wanted to study it further, comparing and contrasting those policies with that of the United States Federal Reserve Bank.”

The URCAS logo design was selected from a competition among students in the Art 355 Special Topics in Design honors class. The class focuses on conceptual development, professional practices, advanced typography, portfolio development and client-based projects.

Albert Vasquez, a junior graphic design major, designed the winning logo. Dana Apodaca’s logo received honorable mention, and she served as art director for the project. Audra Lamoreaux and Nicholas Ostella contributed to the URCAS program layout and design, and Min Tan took the lead on art direction and design of the poster and T-shirt.

Other students who helped create the overall URCAS theme include Randle Dominguez, Ashley Hall, Josue Ornelas, Leslie Rascon, Eleno Rosas, Hector Sarellano and Jesus Zubia.

URCAS is sponsored by the NMSU Honors College, the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation, the Minority Access to Research Careers, Building Research Achievement in Neuroscience, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute program, the College Assistance Migrant Program, NMSU College of Arts & Sciences Discovery Scholars, the NMSU Office of the Vice President for Research, Graduate Studies and International Programs, as well as the NMSU Colleges of Business, Education and Engineering.

For more information on the symposium, visit http://honors.nmsu.edu/news/events/urcas, or contact Chaiken at mchaiken@nmsu.edu.