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  • News & Updates

Student Academic Conference

  • News & Updates

     Student Panelists

    Meet the following student panelists for this year's academic conference!



    Kelsey Ihringer, College of Science, Health & Environment 


    I am currently a double major at the Minnesota State University-Moorhead, studying secondary English education and psychology. Since my freshman year, I have been working closely with psychological and developmental research in the Baby Lab. Since then, I have become very involved within the Psychology Department: coordinating for the Baby Lab and fulfilling the role of president for Psychology Club. I co-presented two years ago at the Student Academic Conference and I am presenting my own research this year. My current research explores how mothers’ different attachment patterns affect her and her infants’ eye gaze patterns when looking at emotional expressions. I plan to graduate in 2015. As of right now, I am undecided whether to go to graduate school; If I were to attend graduate school, I will be looking for something close to home in the Midwest. 

    Kelsey Ihringer 
     Marissa Van Vleet, College of Education & Human Services


    As a current Art Education major at MSUM, I am passionate about the arts and about students.  I am currently pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art Education with a Minor is Psychology.  I have lived in North Dakota my whole life and spent most of my childhood in Bismarck.  I have never been a part of the Student Academic Conference before and I am excited to have the chance to present with my peers. Last semester, one of my education classes sparked the desire to do more research on homelessness in the school age population. Since then I have been involved at Churches United for the Homeless and I am attempting to learn ways in which we can foster growth and independence in the students there. This year I will be presenting on collaborative art projects done by at-risk and homeless youth which give them the tools to by catalysts for social change.  After I graduate, I hope to continue working with at-risk youth and gain experience in the teaching field. Eventually I would like to attend graduate school to become a licensed Art Therapist and continue to actively participate in my future communities.



     Marissa Vanvleet

    Megan Thorwick,  College of Business &  Industry


    I am currently a senior at MSUM pursing a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management.  Although I studied copious areas of business, I prefer the organizational and instructional role above all others.  I am originally from Maplewood, Minnesota, but have since adjusted to living in a significantly smaller area up north. My love of sports has allowed me to be a participant on the Women’s Division II Soccer team for the past two years.  Along with sports, I have a passion for research. I have never participated in the Student Academic Conference, although I have worked alongside business faculty members on research projects through my Honor’s Apprentice Scholarship. This year, I collaborated with Dr. Lumb with research on Chinese tour managers and guides and their perceptions of inbound tourism. Eventually, Dr. Lumb wishes to submit our research for publication. I am thrilled to be joining Dr. Lumb this May on the China Business Trip, where I will be able to meet her contacts in China firsthand. I am looking forward to the experience abroad, as I am looking to gain international experience for the future.





     Megan Thorwick

    Ashley Ramstad, College of Arts & Humanities 


    My name is Ashley Ramstad. I am a senior here at MSUM majoring in Philosophy. I was born in New Rockford, ND but spent most of my childhood years in Fargo. I have a previous degree in Public Relations & Advertising. I chose Philosophy because I love anything that questions our existence and find the more I learn, the less I actually know. I also enjoy doing anything that involves learning something new whether it is intellectual or physical. My two current hobbies I took up this year are chess and longboarding. I presented at the conference last spring and had a wonderful experience. I am currently in the process of applying to a few Graduate programs along with Law School. I am very excited to see what the future will bring me but definitely will miss MSUM as it has been a great experience.





    Ashley Ramstad
    Maggie Olson, College of Arts, Media, and Communication

    I am a junior English major with an emphasis in literature.  Because of my interest in dramatic literature, I have worked in conjunction with the Theatre department on my two previous presentations at this conference. My first presentation, "The Merry Wives of Windsor: Adapting Shakespeare for Contemporary Audiences," served as a starting point for "The Merry Wives of Wahpeton," a script I adapted and directed at the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre.  I developed the second presentation, "Othello:  Cross-Disciplinary Teaching in English and Theatre,"  during my year as a Teaching Assistant in the Theatre department.  This year I'll be presenting "Stones, Streams, and Strings: Metaphors in Sarah Ruhl's 'Eurydice.'" After completing my bachelor's degree at MSUM, I will pursue my doctorate to become a college English professor.  


    Maggie Olson




    Dr. Lumb is a Professor of Marketing in the School of Business, Minnesota State University Moorhead and also a Professor in the School of Management, Xi'an University of Science and Technology, China.



    Dr. Lumb's major research interest is globalization and its effect on consumers and countries.   Many of her published articles are in this area.  Dr. Lumb recently received a research grant from the Chinese Government to further enhance her research related to the effects of globalization on China.  She was the first international professor at Chongqing Technology & Business University, China and set up the curriculum for their School of Business.  Dr. Lumb has developed exchange programs at Xi'an University of Science and Technology and Chongqing Technology & Business University both in China. She developed the first Virtual Classroom for the School of Business between students from MSUM and Xi'an University of Science and Technology.  Dr. Lumb has developed and conducted workshops for the Federal Government of China, served as a consultant to China International Trade & Investment Corporation and is a former partner of a Sino-American joint venture.



    Dr. Lumb received her PhD from Louisiana State University and her MBA and BA from Moorhead State University.




    The Transformative Power of Student Academic Research in Today's Era of Globalization 




    I believe that all students should be given a chance to be engaged in opportunities that stimulate curiosity about the world.  We need to provide students with the skills  to live and work successfully  in today's complex global environment. The goal at MSUM is to expand and enhance the programs that have the greatest potential to develop citizens who are able to make sense of today's complex global environment and prepare them to succeed in today's highly competitive era of globalization.  One avenue to achieve this is through student academic research, a student-centered learning opportunity where students play a crucial role in the success of their learning experience.


    This year, 2014, marks the 16th annual Student Academic Conference at MSUM. Since its inception there has been a technological revolution that has made it possible to partner in collaborative research projects, not only with students from other universities throughout the country, but also with students from universities throughout the world. Student participants from previous Student Academic Conferences indicate that their participation in research projects and the Conference have positively transformed their lives. Today, these collaborative student research projects and the dissemination of the information obtained are having a transformative effect not only on the individual student but have the potential to make a difference around the world.



    Four students to represent MSUM at the first annual Posters in the Rotunda.


    Iwnetim Abate, Yi Chu, Evangeline Holley, and Clarice Wallert will be travelling to St. Paul on February 26th to present their scholarly work to Minnesota legislators under the golden dome of the Capitol Rotunda.  This event is designed to draw attention to the excellent undergraduate research and scholarly activity that is being conducted at MSUM and across the other MnSCU institutions.


    Name, Picture, Quote or interesting fact



    Nuclear Magnetic Resonance in MnSO4+H2O  


    Iwnetim Abate and Ananda Shastri, Ph.D

      Department of Physics and Astronomy, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN 56563


    A major obstacle to the study of fundamental properties of candidate cathode materials is the morphological complexity of the electrode-electrolyte interface in fuel cells. This complexity prevents a true determination of the catalytic mechanisms. To address this challenge, photolithography patterning technique has been used to make considerably simplified and well-defined electrode geometries. However, the time required for such fabrication is extreme. In this work, we employ a simple shadow-mask-patterning method to fabricate a perovskite oxide-metal composite structure. First, a dense thin film of SrCo0.9Nb0.1O 3 (SCN) is grown on a Y0.16Zr0.84O1.92 (YSZ) single crystal substrate by pulsed laser deposition. Patterned metal layers are subsequently deposited by DC sputtering with a shadow mask. Thermal stability and electrochemical properties of the fabricated composite cathodes are investigated by optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and AC impedance spectroscopy (ACIS).

    Iwnetim Abate: Tim has taken advantage of the many partnerships available through MnSCU.  In addition to completing undergraduate research at MSU Moorhead, he has completed two summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs) at CalTech, he will also be completing a dual degree program (physics at MSU Moorhead and Material Science and Engineering at U of Minnesota).

    Evaluating the Potential of the Na+/H+ Exchanger Isoform 1 as a Therapeutic Target for the Treatment of Non-small Cell Lung Cancer  

    Clarice H. Wallert, Scott Buchholz, Kristina Anderson, and Mark A. Wallert  


    Bioscience and Chemistry and Biochemistry Department, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN 56563  

    Calcineurin B homologous protein isoform 1(CHP1) is expressed in nearly all human tissues. Calcineurin B homolgous protein isoform 2 (CHP2) is primarily expressed in cancer cells. CHP1 and CHP2 are essential cofactors for the Na+-H+ Exchanger isoform 1 (NHE1), a key protein involved in the transformation of a normal tissue to a malignant tumor. PSN cells over-express NHE1, while PS120 fibroblasts do not express NHE1. Thus these two cell lines are used as positive and negative NHE1 binding controls for CHP1 and CHP2.  The aim of this study was to determine the relationship between CHP2 expression and binding to NHE1 and progression of non-small cell lung cancer. By transiently transfecting cells with a GFP-CHP fusion protein, we will assess and measure the location of CHP in cells with and without NHE1 expression. This work will determine the mechanism CHP1 and CHP2 interact with NHE1 and how this interaction affects cell proliferation and migration.

    Clarice Wallert says, “While working with a research team I have also learned to understand and respect other’s personalities and capabilities while also being able to utilize and blend everyone’s skills and talents. This is important for when I start my career and need to work as a team with my coworkers and employer.”

    Chu  MSU Moorhead  Diversity Endorsement 

    Program Proposal  


    Katrina Brekke, Chu Yi and Donna Brown

    Counselling and Student Affairs

    Minnesota State University Moorhead, Moorhead, MN 56563  




    Studies have shown that by having a significant understanding of diversity and culture, students can appreciate cultural pluralism and increase awareness toward social inequalities. Possessing this knowledge benefits individuals as well as communities and has the potential to cause positive changes in society. By researching examples from universities in the U.S., analyzing current organizational structure and programs of the institution, and conducting qualitative and quantitative research, this study examines the feasibility of implementing an optional "proficiency in diversity understanding" endorsement at MSUM.

    Yi Chu: In addition to his research, Chu has been active in leadership through student senate (VP), the campus office of Diversity and Inclusion, The city of Moorhead Human Rights Commission, and as a multiple award winning Microsoft Windows UCrew Intern.

    Predictability of food supply, but not ration, increases exploratory behavior

    Evangeline Holley

    Department of Biosciences, Minnesota State University Moorhead

    Individual zebrafish (Danio rerio) were assayed for exploratory tendency in a serial open field test before and after being maintained on one of the four diet treatments that differed in ration and in predictability of food delivery. Zebrafish became more exploratory after being maintained on a diet with a predictable delivery schedule. There was no effect of ration. Thus, exploratory behavior is inducible by environmental influences independent of genetic predisposition or social interactions. These results have implications for management of correlated behavioral syndromes of exploratory/boldness of animals reared in captivity for later release into wild populations.  

    Evangeline Holley: Like several MSU Moorhead students before her, Evangeline’s research has moved beyond a graduation requirement and has become part of the body of knowledge in her field, as her manuscript titled “Predictability of food supply, but not ration, increases exploratory behavior” is to be published in the Journal of Fish Biology.

    SAC Talking Points, Department Meetings, 2013-2014

    1. Posters on the Rotunda:
      1. 4 per University, 1 each from participating 2-year institutions (who participated at the state conference last year).
      2. February 26th, 2014.  Set up 10:00-11:00, talk from 11:00-1:00.  Take down 1:00-2:00.
      3. We must have presentation information, resume, photograph to Mankato by January 13th, 2014.
      4. Target outstanding projects from 2013 who returned this year?  Ask departments to recruit returning students, students will apply by sending information (Powerpoint slide, CV, 500 word essay) to 

    2. We are HOSTING the MN Undergraduate Scholars Conference (previously the Conference of Undergraduate Scholarly and Creative Activity (MNCUSCA) at Mankato), on Monday, April 14th.  Other schools are selecting a maximum of 50 of their best students, and we too should limit participation to 50 MSUM students. We will again use a 2 stage application – January 31st for projects that need to be considered for the MnUSC, and February 28th for students wishing to only present at our local SAC on April 15.
    3. Projects submitted by January 31st may be selected for student interviews and highlighted in broader promotional materials of the SAC (print, online, video).

    4. After the January 31st deadline, the SAC will arrange and distribute the applications to the a committee made of 2 students appointed by the dean from each college.  These students will rank the applicants.  We will ask for this committee to make their ranking within 2 weeks (February 15th), and invitations will start as soon as the list is complete.  This will replace departments ranking their own students.

    5. Selection Process: The selection criteria will be different for the two settings:
      1. Posters in the Rotunda (St. Paul, Feb 26th).  The ideal candidate/poster:
        1. Poster is visually appealing and well done (no grammar mistakes, has citations).
        2. Presenter has strong interpersonal skills and perhaps interesting background.
        3. Topic is interesting and is not so technical that it will overwhelm/bore a legislator.
        4. Diversity in students and diversity in topics will be strongly encouraged.  Group projects are not a problem since the limiting factor is space for posters, not people.
      2. The selection process for the 50 students representing MSUM at the Mn Undergraduate Scholars (i.e. state) conference will have a different set of criteria.  For these, only the completed SAC application is necessary (thus, selections will depend strongly on the abstract).  The student group will rate projects.  After the projects are rated, projects will be selected based on the following features:
        1. Diversity of disciplines – every department will get one student selected before any department gets 2.
        2. Bias against group projects – with only 50 students allowed, a single project with 5 presenters decreases the amount of presentations and possible diversity.
        3. Proportional system for the remaining spaces.

    6. We will not be using the 2 week editing window used previously.  It did not appear that many faculty or students logged in during this time period.  Please encourage your students to send drafts of their abstracts and titles to their mentors so that these bugs get worked out before this information is submitted.

    7. An integral part of the conference is audience attendance.  Two years ago, according to our survey, there may have been as few as 75 students attending who were not themselves presenters.  Last year felt much fuller, and many of the rooms were overflowing.

    8. Likewise, if you have suggestions for making the SAC more appropriate for students in your department, please share these with Richard Lahti (  We continue to do everything we can to make sure all students are included.

    9. Citations and IRB.  Please make sure your students give credit where credit is due.  As unimaginable as it is, 2 years ago several research posters did not include a single citation, and at least one highly commended poster contained large quantities of information copied and pasted directly from a website without proper citation/quotations.  Furthermore, every year, a number of posters / presentations involving human subjects are made without first obtaining necessary IRB approval.  Even such non-threatening research as surveys demands IRB approval.

    10. Graduate students are encouraged to participate in SAC on April 15th, but the other 2 events are undergraduate only.  This might be an original work for the conference, a poster for another conference in their discipline, a portion of their thesis, et cetera.
    11. Faculty should clearly indicate (on their volunteer form) and urge their students to indicate (on their application) preference to chair for their own students if such a preference exists.
    12. The tentative schedule will be released approximately mid-March.  This will give faculty/students an opportunity to fix any scheduling concerns, so that hopefully a final schedule is posted to the internet about April 1st, or 2 weeks in advance of the actual conference (Tuesday April 15th).  At that time, we ask that no further changes to the schedule be made, as last minute schedule changes caused some problems the last 2 years.  
    13. Likewise, for any session chairs, please refrain from making internal changes to the schedule.  Students, faculty, parents, etc. have all seen the printed times.  Rearranging this schedule, even in the case of no-shows, inconveniences a number of people and should not be done.
    14. Please volunteer as possible for both days!  Monday the 14th (especially if you have students presenting on the 14th) and Tuesday the 15th

    Thank you for your support of the SAC!