Two ACU students are participating in the Texas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol Rotunda in Austin. Universities from all over the state are presenting their research to the Texas legislature.
Spenser Lynn, senior physics major from White Oak, and David Gasvoda, senior English major from Houston, said they have been working hard to prepare themselves for their presentations.
The biennial research festival sent invitations to universities across Texas. Each school was eligible to send two students. The event, rather than a competition, is for undergraduate students to be recognized for their research.
From 12:30-2:30 p.m., a poster session will take place for the students to present their work. The legislature organized the festival, open to the public, to help inform members of the congress about undergraduate research.
Lynn, who spent last summer at Los Alamos National Lab developing a glove box that has a clean room environment, said his research is helping improve the measurements for nuclear fission. His poster is titled, “The development of a clean glove box for the NIFFTE collaboration.”
“I’ve looked at the program of abstracts and everything is being done, from physics to liberal arts,” Lynn said. “Hopefully our legislatures can see the value of the research that is being done in Texas universities.”
“Because each school can only send two students, this gives smaller universities the opportunity to show their work too,” said Lynn.
Gasvoda is one of the few whose research is towards the humanities rather than science. Being the only student to be presenting a literary criticism titled, “Cormac McCarthy’s projection of nature in Blood Meridian,” Gasvoda said he is excited to be representing the English field and hopes to show it is important too.
“The poster presentation is really unusual for an English major,” Gasvoda said. “Usually we just read papers and do presentations. It is going to be a really interesting direction to turn my paper into a poster.”
Dr. Rusty Towell, professor and chair of the department of engineering and physics, and Dr. Autumn Sutherlin, director of undergraduate research and associate professor of biochemistry and chemistry, have been working with Lynn and Gasvoda. The professors travelled with the students on Thursday and are attending the research festival to support them.
“Spenser and David will be representing two broad spectrums,” Sutherlin said. “Science is much more common in these events. I’m really excited to show that research does not only occur in science, but in all fields.”
“It’s a chance for the students to stand in front of people to share what they have worked on,” Towell said. “It is always fun to see your students succeed.”