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Student Research on Display

Students discuss project to control the spread of dengue fever at the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

From examining the interplay of linguistics and sexuality to formulating healthier dining options on campus, NC State students showed off a diverse array of research endeavors at the 22nd annual Undergraduate Research Symposium last Wednesday at the McKimmon Center. Undergraduates representing nine of 10 colleges presented research during two sessions.

Dressed in business attire, the young scholars shared the methods and outcomes of their individual projects, which focused on some of society’s most challenging and complex problems.

Hundreds of faculty, staff and students attended the symposium, where they learned about efforts to formulate a low sodium frankfurter, improve the desalination of water through capacitive deionization, control the spread of dengue fever and even develop a line of Howling Cow yoghurt, to name a few.

From Lab to Spoon

Emily Hanson, Anastasia Oxendine, Holly Peschken and Hannah Howard, all seniors studying food science, discussed their project to increase the dairy options in NC State dining halls by developing yoghurt suitable for people intolerant to lactose.

“We tested three varieties of vanilla and strawberry yogurt; one with sucrose, one with Stevia and one with sucralose,” they explained.

Students were allowed to sample the various types and provide feedback on flavor, texture and sweetness.

Talk the Talk

Eric Wilbanks, a Spanish major with a linguistics minor, was selected as a symposium winner for his research on pitch and voice onset time as factors in the perception of sexual identity and masculinity in male speech.

Eric Wilbanks is conducting innovative research on sexual identity and linguistics.

“I studied how people use language to project sexuality or sexual orientation,” he said. “It’s fascinating how people adapt their style of speaking to either project or shield personal characteristics such as sexual orientation.”

Throughout the morning, students eagerly shared their experiences conducting research.

“This is my third-year research with Dr. Williams,” said Matthew Draelos, a junior majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. “Performing research as an undergraduate has allowed me to really put my studies into practice and helped me be competitive for internships and graduate school.”

Whether it’s creating “biobots” – remotely controlled cockroaches – for use in search-and-rescue operations or vastly increasing the rate of discover of new anti-cancer agents and antibiotics, NC State students and faculty continue to drive research that improves lives on campus and around the world.

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