Published on November 6, 2017 by Maryellen Newton  

Eleven Samford University students recently traveled Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, to present their research at the Southern Conference Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF). 

The Samford contingent included: 

  • Haley Beck, junior psychology major, Norcross, Georgia, “Rapport and Respect in the Classroom;” 
  • Kierstin Cusumano, senior, kinesiology, Fairburn, Georgia, “The Impact of Hip Joint Angle on Power Output and Muscle Activity in Rowers: an Electromyographic Assessment;” 
  • Edgar Flores, junior, computer science, Boaz, Alabama, “Implementing Belief Propagation on a GPU Using the Merator Framework;” 
  • Andrew Freeman, senior, computer science, McKinney, Texas, “UAV Collision Avoidance with Stereo Vision on a Low-Power Embedded System;” 
  • Chris Kawell, senior, computer science, Birmingham, Alabama, “Integrating Traffic Incident Management Inerfaces;" 
  • Maddi Lupul, junior, nutrition, Canada, “Evaluating the Protein Content in Chocolate Chip Cookies Using Cricket Powder as Flour Replacement;” 
  • Lillie Mermoud, senior, history, France, “Louis-Philippe and the Salles des Croisades;” 
  • David Roby, senior, music, Shelby, North Carolina, “Music, Memory and Massacre: The Influence of Art and Collective Memory on the Chilean Cold War Identity;” 
  • Raven Samuel, senior, kinesiology, Fairfield, Alabama, “The Effects of Core and Lower Body Acute Exercise on Static Balance;” 
  • Timothy Treahy, senior, psychology, Hoover, Alabama, “Inclusive Fitness, Altruism, and Machiavellianism: The Effect of Machiavellianism on Helping Behavior;” and 
  • Jillian Walters, first year pharmacy, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, “Synthesis and Conformational Analysis of 3+4 Cycloadducts to Evaluate the Possibility of Remote Anchimeric Assistance." 

The group was accompanied by faculty advisors Bryan Johnson, University Fellows director, and Paul Wiget, chemistry and biochemistry. 

Mermoud was one of several Samford students presenting research for the first time in this type of setting. “It was a great opportunity to meet other students on Samford's campus that I wouldn't normally interact with because our majors are so different,” she said. “I was the only humanities student in Samford's group, so I got to learn a lot about other people's research in STEM or social sciences.” 

Likewise, Beck said she had an amazing experience. “I really enjoyed being around like-minded people and seeing what my classmates and students from other schools have been researching,” Beck said. “It was great to have the opportunity to share my research and get feedback from other students and faculty.” 

The SoCon invites up to 15 students from each of the 10 member schools to present original research in paper or poster form. Students are chosen based on nominations from faculty. In its second year, SURF works to support undergraduate research. 

A student presented his or her research on a poster and stood with it in an auditorium, while attendees had the opportunity to walk around and ask questions. Some students also did oral presentations of their research to an audience. 

“The SURF conference, in the last two years, has created an impetus on Samford’s campus to find a way to support undergraduate research at a higher level,” said Thomas Woolley, Samford’s senior associate provost. 

Maryellen Newton is a journalism and mass communication major and a news and feature writer in the Division of Marketing and Communication.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.