Skip to content

Summer Undergraduate Research Internship Recipients 2017

Congratulations to our 2017 Summer Research Internship Recipients! These students will work with UT Faculty Mentors to conduct research during the summer months. We look forward to seeing their work at Discovery Day in August! Read more about the program.

Student’s Name Academic Major Faculty Mentor
Emeri Allan Nursing Lizanne Elliott
Charles Barnes Biochem/Cellular/Molecular Bio Albrecht Vonarnim
Luke Blentlinger Geography Sally Horn
Ashlee Boles Microbiology Heidi Goodrich-Blair
Chandler Brown Ecology/Evolutionary Biology Joseph Williams
Alayna Cameron Biochem/Cellular/Molecular Bio Franc Barrera Olivares
Tiffany Cantrell History Lynn Sacco
Terrell Carter Biochem/Cellular/Molecular Bio Jennifer Schweitzer
Benjamin Chance Computer Science Yuri Kamyshkov
Jared Clements Chemical Engineering Cong Trinh
Emily Conner Management Jackie Jacobs
Malagon Daniel College Scholars Honors Matt Gray
Grant Dilliha Chemical and Biomolecular Engr Steven Ripp
Jeffrey Dixon Biomedical Engineering Steven Ripp
Codi Drake Civil Engineering Nicholas Wierschem
Mark Drake Music Andrew Sigler
Carter Earhart-Brown Computer Science Kwai Wong
Lydia Elise Ferguson Audiology/Speech Pathology Jillian McCarthy Maeder
Christopher Finotti Interdisciplinary Programs Kalynn Schulz
Aaron Free Psychology Gordon Burghardt
Nandwani Gayatri Classics Erin Darby
Nathaniel Graham Psychology Matthew Cooper
Gillian Harris Nursing Sadie Hutson
Anna Hendrix Biology Stephen Kania
Chavarria Janelle Nutrition Hollie Raynor
Abigail Jarratt Microbiology Erik Zinser
Young Jonathan Art Carolyn Staples
Lauren Jones Modern Foreign Lang/Literature Bernard Issa
Julie Edwards Psychology Patrick Grzanka
Rob Ledbetter Philosophy Kalynn Schulz
Jonathan McCammon Art Carolyn Staples
Rachael Miller Audiology/Speech Pathology Jillian McCarthy Maeder
Mary Mitchell Chemical and Biomolecular Engr Jeremiah Johnson
Andrea Nickels Audiology/Speech Pathology Jillian McCarthy Maeder
Ellen Nikbakht Theatre Casey Sams
Han Noh Biology Jennifer Schweitzer
Kyle Noordhoek Physics Liu Jun
Megan Pitz Engineering, Interdepartmental Xiaopeng Zhao
Miguel Rodriguez Pre-Professional Programs Elena Shpak
John Sayegh Architecture R Dekay
Starla Smith Nursing Joel Anderson
Whitney Stone Nursing Sandy Mixer
Peyton Terry Biochem/Cellular/Molecular Bio Rachel McCord
Angel Torres Electrical Engr & Computer Sci Jayne Wu
Morgan Vantrease Nursing Deb Chyka
Anna Young Biomedical Engineering Steven Ripp
Sheev Zaver Chemistry Shawn Campagna


Posters at the Capitol 2017

Each year, undergraduate researchers from across the state converge upon the State Capitol to share their projects with state legislators. This year, eight students from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will travel to Nashville Wednesday, March 1, for the Posters at the Capitol event. Students will present research on subjects ranging from Aegina’s Role in Regional Maritime Trade Relations to Engineering Bacteria to make Natural Scents from Chemical Wastes.

“The number of undergraduates conducting research at the university is increasing each year,” said Marisa Moazen, director of undergraduate research. “So it is important we provide opportunities for them to interact with a variety of audiences. It is also critical for our state legislators to see students engaged and conversant in a range of research topics.”

Students interested in presenting research may still submit an application to participate in EURēCA, the Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement, held each spring semester during Research Week. This year, EURēCA will be held in Hodges Library, April 17–21.

Open House – March 7

Stop by the Office of Undergraduate Research on Tuesday, March 7 between 2-6 pm for our Open House.

  • Learn more about EURēCA and the March 11 abstract deadline!
  • Help us finish our office puzzle highlighting our International Research opportunities.
  • Find out more about travel grants for presenting your research!
  • Join the Undergraduate Research Students’ Association.
  • Discover how to publish your work in Pursuit, the campus Journal of Undergraduate Research
  • Enjoy some yummy food.

Door Prizes for students and faculty

  • $5 Starbucks gift card drawings every 15 minutes (faculty and students)
  • VolShop swag and poster tube drawings every 30 minutes
  • T-Shirt pickup at the event for those who pre-register

We’re located in Blount Hall, Room 407. Not sure where Blount Hall is? We’re directly across from the Dunkin Donuts in Vol Hall and next to the Law School.

Walking? You can enter Blount Hall from White Avenue or James Agee

Ride the T? Take ‘The Fort’ route to the Vol Hall stop.

Driving? You can park in the Vol Hall public parking garage, but you’ll need to pay!

Driving with an Orange Dot? You’ll be parking behind Hoskins Library or in the White Avenue Garage (if you can find a space)

Spring 2017 Undergraduate Research Faculty Funding Recipients

Congratulations to the 16 faculty who received funding to support spring 2017 undergraduate research assistants. The faculty awardees and their projects are listed below.

Faculty Member Name (First) Faculty Member Name (Last)  College  Home Department Project Title
Sue Hamilton College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Plant Sciences Development of ‘Best Practices’ for University Garden Plant Collection Database Designs
William Klingeman College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Plant Sciences “Potential of Two Predatory Beetle Species as a Monitoring Tool for Walnut Twig Beetle Detection”
Denita Hadziabdic Guerry College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Entomology and Plant Pathology “Pathogenicity and Co-Infection Potential of Two Plant Pathogenic Fungi that May Contribute to Severity of Thousand Cankers Disease in Walnut”
Brian Ambroziak College of Architecture & Design School of Architecture “Disembodied Circle: A Twelve-Step Field Manual”
Thomas K. Davis College of Architecture & Design School of Architecture NASHVILLE’S CHARLOTTE AVENUE HEALTHY CORRIDOR URBAN DESIGN STUDY
Francisco Barrera Olivares College of Arts & Sciences Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Pleiomorphic membrane peptides
Stephen Blackwell College of Arts & Sciences Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures A Swing Through Vladimir Nabokov’s Trees (A Comprehensive Study)
Jessica Grieser College of Arts & Sciences English Talking Place, Speaking Race: African Americans, English, and the Language of a Changing Local Identity.
Paul Harrill College of Arts & Sciences School of Art Untitled Film Project
Kandace Hollenbach College of Arts & Sciences Anthropology Analysis of Plant Remains from Late Precontact Contexts at the Topper Site, Aiken County, South Carolina
Keerthi Krishnan College of Arts & Sciences Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Discovering brain circuitry underlying a fine motor behavior in a female mouse model of Rett Syndrome
Robert Washington-Allen College of Arts & Sciences Geography Cross-scale Analysis of Historical Patterns of Land Cover Change as a Driver for the Observed Decline in Bobwhite Quail Abundance
Lars Dzikus College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies An Exploratory Study About the Experiences of Female Interscholastic Head Coaches in East Tennessee
Katie Kavanagh College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Nutrition Online survey to assess maternal accuracy of infant spit-up quantification
Kelley Strohacker College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies Towards Adapting Flexible Nonlinear Periodization for Untrained Adults: Exploring perceptions of aerobic exercise readiness and workload demand
Ondrej Chvala College of Engineering Nuclear Engineering A Safe and Economical Nuclear Plant to Remediate the Woes of Weapons-grade Plutonium

Discussion on Undergraduate Research in Workload, Promotion, and Tenure at UT

“Integrating High-impact Practices into Faculty Workload and Tenure & Promotion: With a Focus on Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (URSCA)”

Date & Time: Thursday, March 30, 2:00 – 3:30 pm

Location: TBD (Main UT Campus)

RSVP: Complete form below

Join us for a facilitated discussion on the inclusion of undergraduate research into workload, promotion, and/or tenure.

Many institutions have embraced engaged learning and high-impact educational practices (or related phrases) into their documents and promotional materials, but moving from such language to comprehensive adoption of practices, policies, and cultural change presents a series of institutional challenges and opportunities. Critical to such a transformation is re-thinking traditional definitions of faculty role, work, rewards, and recognition. This presentation will explore strategies and issues associated with institutionally aligning faculty work with curricula that embrace engaged learning and the use of high-impact pedagogies, especially undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity (URSCA). The discussion will focus on innovating mainstream pedagogies to include URSCA; re-conceptualization of the faculty role as engaged teacher-scholar; re-definition of faculty work to include a full array of high-impact experiences within workload; and right-sizing curricula to achieve essential learning outcomes. If students, faculty, and institutions are to realize all of the salient outcomes and potential gains from an undergraduate education, institutions need to identify mechanisms to shift from traditional teaching load systems to more holistic faculty workload systems.

Speaker Bio: Jeffrey M. Osborn is Dean of the School of Science and Professor of Biology at The College of New Jersey. Dr. Osborn is an administrator-teacher-scholar. His teaching has covered a range of areas, including biology, botany, and interdisciplinary courses such as Understanding Biology through Art. He employs an array of pedagogical methods, directly incorporates authentic research into his courses, and has contributed to major curricular reform efforts at his own institutions and at the national level.

Dr. Jeffrey Osborn to speak at UT

Dr. Jeffrey Osborn, Dean of the School of Science at the College of New Jersey will visit the UT campus on March 29 & 30 to lead faculty workshops on including undergraduate research in the curriculum. The workshops entitled “Integrating Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity into the Curriculum” will be held Wednesday, March 29 from 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm or Thursday, March 30 from 9:40 am – 11:40 am.

Faculty can register at:

Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity (URSCA) is a high-impact practice that benefits all students across demographic groups and academic disciplines. URSCA is a compelling way to combine the interests of faculty members to engage in scholarly work with the needs of students for challenging experiences that lead to substantial impacts on their learning and development. Yet URSCA opportunities are often optional and highly selective, missing the very students who could benefit most. Integrating research, scholarly, and creative experiences into the undergraduate curriculum in intentional ways can effectively address these concerns and provide all students with more equitable access to the benefits of URSCA. In this workshop, several models and examples of curricular integration will be discussed. This presentation will be followed by an interactive component for attendees to explore and share the opportunities and challenges from their own departmental and institutional contexts.

Information will also be provided on applying for an R-designation for your new or existing course.

Speaker Bio: Jeffrey M. Osborn is Dean of the School of Science and Professor of Biology at The College of New Jersey. Dr. Osborn is an administrator-teacher-scholar. His teaching has covered a range of areas, including biology, botany, and interdisciplinary courses such as Understanding Biology through Art. He employs an array of pedagogical methods, directly incorporates authentic research into his courses, and has contributed to major curricular reform efforts at his own institutions and at the national level.


Sponsored by the Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center, the Office of Undergraduate Research, and Experience Learning.
Download the workshop flyer here

Recent Graduate Recognized in ‘Junior Nobel Prize’ Competition

A recent UT graduate has been recognized as a highly commended entrant by the Undergraduate Awards program—dubbed the “junior Nobel Prize”—for his paper in the philosophy category.

Duncan Cordry

Duncan Cordry

Duncan Cordry, who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the University of New Mexico, has been honored for his paper “A Defense of the Timing Objection to Substance Causation,” which focuses on whether people have free will and, in particular, what conditions they must meet in order to act freely.

The Undergraduate Awards is the world’s largest international academic awards program, recognizing excellent research and original work across the sciences, humanities, business, and creative arts.

Cordry, from Morristown, Tennessee, will be traveling to Dublin, Ireland, with Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy to accept his award at the annual UA Global Summit in November.

“I’m delighted to see Duncan getting this well-deserved recognition,” said David Palmer, assistant professor of philosophy and Cordry’s faculty advisor. “Philosophy majors at UT are doing some excellent research work, and it is nice to see them getting recognized.”

Marisa Moazen, director of undergraduate research, said UT is proud to partner with the Undergraduate Awards to recognize students and their academic achievements.

“All UT students have the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research both in and outside of the classroom, and we are excited for Duncan to have received this honor for his hard work,” she said.

The Undergraduate Awards received a record number of submissions in the 2016 program, totaling 5,514 papers from undergraduates of 121 nationalities in 244 institutions. The global winner is the highest-performing paper within its category, and highly commended entrants are those who are ranked in the top 10 percent of submissions.

For more information about the Undergraduate Awards visit


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,

View this article in Tennessee Today

2016 Outstanding Faculty Research Mentor: Sherry Cox

Sherry Cox As Sherry Cox began to wrap up her spring semester, she and three of her colleagues received word that they would be recognized for their work as faculty mentors. The first Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor of the Year Awards were hand delivered to University of Tennessee, Knoxville faculty members that demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring undergraduate researchers during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Cox, clinical professor of biomedical and diagnostic sciences in the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine, was nominated for the award by students Kristen Gordon and Molly White.

Gordon said that her professor has “been an amazing mentor in too many ways to count. She has allowed me to be a part of, and even published on, many of her projects. Any time that I seek extra explanation or involvement, all I have to do is ask and she will do her best to make it happen. She has guided me not only in research, but in life decisions and even in the rigorous veterinary school application process.”

“I began working with Dr. Cox two and a half years ago in her pharmacology lab at the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical School, and in that short amount of time, she has impacted my learning experience and research background in more ways than one,” said White. “Dr. Cox is a prime example of a mentor who wants nothing but the best for her students and workers, and will never hesitate to go the extra mile to help them reach their goals…She always pushes me to strive for more and to work harder. I have learned an invaluable amount just by working with her in her pharmacology lab, and I am more grateful than I can ever express…Dr. Cox has a way of seeing more potential in a student than they themselves could ever imagine, and she works with that student so that they can see it for themselves.”

Sherry Cox received her her doctorate in Comparative and Experimental Medicine from UT, her master’s in pharmacology/toxicology from East Tennessee State University, and her bachelor’s in chemistry from Lincoln Memorial University.

For more information about Sherry Cox, please visit the College of Veterinary Medicine’s website.

2016 Outstanding Faculty Mentor: Sadie Hutson

Sadie HutsonSadie Hutson is no stranger to recognition, having previously received the Regional Cooperative for Professional Nurses Week RN Clinical Excellence Award (2013) and the ETSU College of Nursing Nurse of the Year award in Research (2007) among others. This spring, she added a new award to her curriculum vitae, becoming one of four faculty members at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to be named Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor of the Year.

Hutson, associate professor of nursing, has described her research as investigating “the social and cultural consequences of living with chronic illness in a rural and often underserved region.” She is the principal investigator of NIH-funded research into end-of-life care and service needs for patients living with HIV/AIDS in the Appalachian region.

Students Caroline Darlington and Lauren Speck nominated Hutson for this award. “Dr. Hutson’s clarity, expertise, and passion for nursing research create a learning environment that nurtures critical thinking and make tackling complex concepts enjoyable,” wrote Darlington. “When I joined her research team, she helped me define my own research goals and equipped me with the skills to successfully achieve them. She encouraged my questions and valued my insight.

“One of her most endearing qualities is her ability to connect with her students on a personal level while fostering professionalism and earning deep respect. No matter how busy, she is always willing to talk with me when I need advice…She has given me the feedback and confidence necessary to reach my unique potential.”

Lauren Speck called her “one of the most inspiring individuals I’ve ever met” and wrote that Hutson happily “answered late-night frantic phone calls about life and career advice” and became a friend and mentor.  “I truly believe she can do anything.” Perhaps the most palpable recommendation of all came from Darlington’s nomination, stating that “While she motivates [students] to succeed academically, she also teaches by her example that true greatness comes through selfless dedication and compassion for others.”

For more information on Sadie Hutson, please visit her entry in the Experts Guide from Tennessee Today.


2016 Outstanding Faculty Mentor: Daniel Roberts

Daniel-Roberts-150x150On a Wednesday afternoon at the end of the spring semester, Daniel Roberts received some unexpected visitors to his lab. Accompanied by two of his undergraduate students, Marisa Moazen, director of undergraduate research, presented him with one of four Undergraduate Faculty Research Mentor of the Year awards.

Roberts serves as a professor and the head of the department of biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Clayton Nunn and Ahmand Mitoubsi, the two students who had nominated Roberts for the award, were present to witness the event.

“Dr. Roberts has been a wonderful mentor and role model,” said Nunn. “He readily provides guidance in a kind and keen manner, and exhibits a fine example in his clear set of values and his passionate ability to inspire. Dr. Roberts exudes a clear sense of what is important in the advancement of research, but never ceases to consider the student as an individual, taking a unique interest in helping students to develop into successful professionals.”

“The number of undergraduates interested in conducting research is growing nationwide as well as here at UT,” said Marisa Moazen, director of undergraduate research. It is important faculty mentors to enhance the classroom learning, improve communication and critical thinking. Dr. Roberts and the rest of our faculty mentors this year are truly invested in our student researchers.”

“He wants his students to learn and excel in their learning,” said Mitoubsi. “He teaches students how he thinks students should be taught. Once [his students] have learned, he wants them to show what they have learned, to [demonstrate their level] of performance. He will leave everything to answer and help any student that approaches him. It is a great honor for me to learn from such an intelligent, caring man.”

Roberts describes his laboratory as “broadly interested in the integral membrane transport proteins that mediate transport phenomena in response to metabolic need and environmental stress adaptation.”

To view his research statement and selected publications visit his faculty profile.

The flagship campus of the University of Tennessee System and partner in the Tennessee Transfer Pathway.