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Students represent at Undergraduate Research Day

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Erica Osta, microbiology senior, and Mykle Ayala, criminal justice senior, attended an undergraduate research presentation at the Texas Capitol March 28. Through the research opportunities within the Honors College, they presented their findings to the public and Texas legislators.

“My research is focused on explaining bullying behavior through general strain theory,” Ayala said. “I’m studying to see if a bully’s behavior is influenced by the negative strains and absence of positive stimuli in their lives. It was an easy choice considering I’m a criminal justice major.”

While Ayala’s research pertains to the behavior of bullies, Osta took a different approach with her research. Osta’s study deals with the use of new techniques and technology to identify diseases so proper steps can be taken to cure patients, earlier than before.

The research focuses on the “creation of an inexpensive technique for innovating and simplifying a rapid sample preparation step in the diagnostic workflow, which is necessary to detect and treat disease in a timely manner at the patient’s bedside,” Osta said.

The purpose of the annual event is to bring awareness to how research done by undergraduate students can positively impact communities in Texas. Every year consists of different themes. This year’s theme is “Transforming Texas Through Undergraduate Research.”

Every public and private university and colleges can display up to two students’ research, that represent their university. Over 75 posters were displayed from around the state. Each university president in Texas has been invited to identify a faculty liaison to determine the process for selecting the student researchers who will represent their university at the Capitol. The two students from Texas State were selected based on their research through the Honors College.

According to the Office of Distance and Extended Learning’s website, “The goal of this event is to promote Texas undergraduate research projects.” In addition, Osta said the purpose is “to summarize our research and findings to others; we will have the opportunity to network with accomplished researchers in the state, as well as learn about the significant research work from all of the other universities in Texas.”

The program is coordinated by a series of different organizations and groups: Council of Public University Presidents and Chancellors, the Independent Colleges and Universities of Texas, Inc. and the Texas Association of Community Colleges

The students were accompanied by Dr. Heather Galloway, dean of the Honors College, as well as advisors and professors who have assisted their research efforts.

The Honors College offers a variety of opportunities for research. Students can fund, publish, print and receive course credit for research done independently.

“A big focus of the Honors College is to support undergraduate research. Our goal for all of our students is they graduate by writing a thesis, doing something signature as part of their undergraduate time here,” Galloway said.

From scholarships to early registration and other benefits, with a 3.25 GPA, students are welcomed and encourage to apply for the honors program.

For more information about how to get involved with the Honors College research programs: http://www.txstate.edu/honors/opportunities/research.html