Ten Virginia Tech students will present their undergraduate research and scholarship at the 10th annual ACC Meeting of the Minds Conference, hosted this year at North Carolina State University on April 10-12.

Each of the 15 Atlantic Coast Conference member schools will send student representatives. Selection to represent Virginia Tech was competitive, with the largest diverse and talented applicant pool to date. Students submitted an application to the selection committee, organized by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

“The students’ projects showcase a diversity of disciplines and approaches to research that highlights how students can use undergraduate research and creative scholarship to really apply what they are learning in the classroom in a hands-on way,” said Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education. “The conference itself gives students the opportunity to practice presenting the research process and what they learned with their peers from other top universities.”

The selected students and projects include

  • Andrew Barber of Gilbert, Arizona, a junior majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. His faculty mentor is Chad Lavin, associate professor of political science. His research is titled, “Why bitcoiners need a philosophy of money.”
  • Zachary Barlow of Weyers Cave, Virginia, a senior majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering and University Honors student. His mentor is Elizabeth Jamison, doctoral student in the Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought. He will present research he completed as an undergraduate titled, “The cultural and social impacts of automobile infrastructure development in rural America: 1920-1950.”
  • Brittany Blankenship of Roanoke, Virginia, a senior majoring microbiology in the College of Science. Her faculty mentor is David Popham, professor of biological sciences. Her research is titled, “Lytic enzyme-assisted germination of Bacillus anthracis and Bacillus subtilis spores.”
  • Alexandria Hubbard of Manassas, Virginia, a senior majoring in residential environments and design in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her faculty mentor is Robert Siegle, director of the Center for 21st Century Studies. Her research is titled, “Bathrooms for the 21st century user.”
  • Dorian Jackson, a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science. His faculty mentor is Dana Hawley, associate professor of biological sciences. His research is titled, “Influence of larval nutritional stress and host health status on blood feeding success of culex resutans.”
  • Derek Litvak, a junior majoring history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. His faculty mentor is Daniel Thorp, associate professor of history. His research is titled, “Publius v. Brutus: A ratification debate over the federal courts and judicial review.”
  • Armand Meza of Edwards, Illinois, a senior majoring in psychology in the College of Science. His faculty mentor is Irving Allen, assistant professor of inflammatory disease. His research is titled, “Elucidating the contribution of negative regulatory NLRs in traumatic brain injury.”
  • Rachel Montague of Emporia, Virginia, a senior in University Honors majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Her faculty mentor is Elizabeth Grant, assistant professor of architecture and design. Her research is titled, “Trust and choice in the learning environment: Student Center for At-Risk Students in Beckley, West Virginia.”
  • Sophia Novitzky, a senior in University Honors majoring in mathematics in the College of Science. Her faculty mentor is Burt Tilley at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Her research is titled, “Performance sensitivity in vertical geothermal energy harvesting systems.”
  • Morgan Sykes of Winchester, Virginia, a senior majoring in history in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. Her faculty mentor is Peter Wallenstein. Her research is titled, “The aspartame controversy of 1981: The hidden truth behind the not-so-sweet artificial sweetener.”

Students present their work either through oral presentations, posters, or models and exhibits. The conference is funded, in part, by revenue from ACC athletic events.

Next year, the Meeting of the Minds Conference will be held at Syracuse University. The deadline to apply is normally in mid-January. Interested students should check with the Office of Undergraduate Research for more information before the end of the fall semester. Notices will also be sent through Virginia Tech News.

Other students interested in sharing their undergraduate research and creative scholarship before the close of this academic year are encouraged to apply for the 2015 Virginia Tech Undergraduate Research Conference. The Office of Undergraduate Research will host the event at Squires Student Center on April 24. The application deadline is March 23.