Students Present at National Conference

May 06, 2013
Yonathan T. Ararso '13

Iqbal, Ararso, ParkThree Hampden-Sydney students recently traveled to the northern tip of the Midwest to present their research at the 27th National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). The meeting, held at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, welcomed presenters from all disciplines and institutions across the nation.  (left to right) Jahangir Iqbal '15, Yonathan Ararso '13, and Edward Park '15,  represented the mathematics, physics, and biology departments, respectively. The conference, annually held in April, promotes undergraduate research scholarship and creative activity done in partnership with faculty or other mentors.

"The three days were great for my academic interest," Park notes. "I was able to learn about many chemistry and engineering related research topics." Park presented his work with Dr. Hugh Thurman, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy, titled "Modeling White Dwarf Star Magnetization," a project aimed at deriving  an equation of state for a white dwarf star from exterior to interior using the Chandrasekhar Equation along with observational data to predict the mass, internal temperature, and the central density of the star. "The conference also provided a new interest in some of other areas of study other than my major and minors. Overall, NCUR 2013 was a very valuable experience," Park added.

"I had a really great time NCUR, and I gained some good experience," Iqbal says.  The presentations I attended - both oral and poster - were quite interesting and sometimes in areas that I typically didn't associate with research, so I learned a lot." An applied-mathematics student, Iqbal gave an oral presentation of his project with Dr. Marcus Pendergrass, Associate Professor of Mathematics & Computer Science,  comparing Oliver Messiaen's compositions in the piece Oiseaux Exotiques to actual bird songs. Titled "The Music of Messiaen's Birds," the project used mathematical tools of analysis such Fourier transforms and time-frequency-energy spectrograms to identify similarities between the birdsong and corresponding musical snippets from the composer's work.

Ararso, a senior biology student, gave a presentation of his work in cancer biology titled, "Disarming Cancer's Signaling Corridor: How Deletion of Endothelial Cell Notch Ligand Jagged 1 Suppresses Tumorigenesis." The project, conducted during the summer of 2012, highlighted the role of endothelial cell initiated Notch signaling in the context of tumor growth and metastasis in breast cancer.