Husker students present research projects to lawmakers

Office of Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, April 24, 2024

Husker students present research projects to lawmakers

University of Nebraska–Lincoln undergraduates recently discussed their research and creative activity projects face-to-face with state senators. Presentations highlighted undergraduate successes in research programs campuswide, including the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences, First Year Research Experience, Ronald E. McNair Scholars and University Honors programs.

Student Success graphic

The breakfast event, held April 4 at the Nebraska Governor’s Mansion, featured 19 students presenting posters on research projects with direct ties to Nebraska, as well as remarks by Amy Goodburn, senior associate vice chancellor, dean of undergraduate education and professor of English at Nebraska.

Following is a list of Husker students who gave presentations, listed alphabetically by hometown, with their year in school, major(s), poster title and faculty adviser.



— Lauren Behnk, senior, psychology and Spanish, “Sense of Belonging and its Relationship with Student Success,” Chelsea Witt


— Tyler Downey, junior, mechanical engineering, “Novel Wheel-Leg Model and Design for a Pipe-Navigation Robot,” Carl Nelson


— Sydney Hobza, senior, communication sciences and disorders, “A Comparison of Two Working Memory Tasks in Individuals with Down Syndrome,” Susan Loveall

La Vista:

— Ella Humphrey, junior, fisheries and wildlife, “The Thermal Tolerances and Heat Shock Protein Regulation of Bigmouth Shiners from Nebraska Sandhills Streams,” Jonathan Spurgeon


— Elise Benson, junior, architectural studies, “Operational Landscapes of the Great Plains,” David Karle

— Lindsey Blehm, senior, environmental science, “The Effects of Wildfire Ash on Nebraska Lakes,” Daniel Gschwentner

— Inas Hskan, junior, textiles, merchandising and fashion design, “Design and Fabrication of Knitted Garments by Yarns of Pure Protein Fiber from Chicken Feathers and from the Two-Way Blends With Silk and Rayon,” Yiqi Yang

— Sarah Omar, senior, psychology, “The Role of Parental Trauma-Related Distress in Emotion Socialization and Child Internalizing Symptoms,” Rebecca Brock


— Robert Bauer, senior, biochemistry, “Clostridioides difficile Adhesion Through Type IV Pili,” Kurt Piepenbrink


— Himanshu Gandhi, senior, microbiology and English, “Gut Microbe Family Aspergillus May Induce Carcinogen Formation via AhR-CYP1A2 Expression,” Jennifer Auchtung

— Clare Kramper, senior, history, “Hidden Histories: Nebraska Women in Law from 1868 to 1950,” Katrina Jagodinsky

— Marcus McCaskill, veterinary science, and fisheries and wildlife, senior, “Defining and Detecting the Composition and Presence of Microbes in Cattle With Pinkeye,” Dustin Loy

— Magdalene Peklo, senior, mechanical engineering, “Mechanical Properties of Arabidopsis thaliana Guard Cells,” Joseph Turner


— Ashley Llewellyn, junior, animal science, “Investigating Coat Color Variants in Golden Yak,” Jessica Petersen


— Wil Fiddelke, junior, electrical engineering, “IoT Device for Measurement of NT-proBNP for Heart Failure Patients,” Eric Markvicka


Glenwood, Iowa:

— Quin Barton, junior, biological sciences, “Constitutive Excretion of Melanin Induced by Nonsense Mutation in Exophiala Species,” Wayne Reikhof

Shawnee, Kansas:

— Sarah Ellison, junior, English, “Language Application and the Nebraska Stories of Humanity,” Beth Dotan

Ashland, Missouri:

— Cole Hammett, senior, plant biology, “The Effect of Drought-Stress Conditions on the Germination of Solid-Stem Populations of Winter Wheat, Triticum aestivum,” Katherine Frels

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia:

— Meklit Aga, senior, psychology, “Sense of Belonging and its Relationship with Student Success,” Chelsea Witt

Student presenters Himanshu Gandhi (left), Elise Benson (center) and Marcus McCaskill celebrate as the presentations conclude. Courtney Santos | Undergraduate Research and Fellowships

“These students and their project work represent the excellence and disciplinary variety of student research at Nebraska, showcasing their invaluable contributions to the culture of innovation in our state,” said Courtney Santos, director of undergraduate research and fellowships at Nebraska. “We deeply appreciate the support of Nebraska Gov. Jim Pillen and the Governor’s Mansion staff, our Legislature and our congressional delegation for making this recognition of student achievements possible.”

The event followed undergraduate and graduate poster sessions and celebrations of student research successes during Student Research Days, March 26-27.

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships coordinates the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences and First Year Research Experience programs and recognizes student success in research through campuswide events. Interested campus community members should contact Kali Patterson, project coordinator, at

Office of Undergraduate Research