Seven Virginia Tech undergraduate students have been awarded 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Creativity and Innovation grants to pursue undergraduate research and creative scholarship opportunities this summer.

Selected Virginia Tech scholars receive up to a $2,000 award that can be used as a stipend and/or to offset expenses such as supplies, travel, and use of specialized research services. While the projects are all student-led, applicants identified a faculty mentor who committed to supervise the proposed task.

Students from all academic disciplines were eligible to apply to the program. The seven selected students represent six of the seven undergraduate colleges at Virginia Tech.

“With some of the criteria for award selection being originality, experimentation, and intellectual risk, this fellowship opens up opportunities for students to dive into compelling and unique areas of exploration,” said Jill Sible, assistant provost for undergraduate education. “The selected students’ diverse backgrounds and ideas show the variety of opportunities available to enhance undergraduate education through these experiences.”

The 2015 ACC Fellows in Creativity and Innovation are:

  • Zainal Ariffin Bin Abdul Rahman of Malaysia, a junior majoring in electrical engineering in the College of Engineering. Project title: “Toward a smartphone-based functional ophthalmoscope for next-generation mobile healthcare.” Faculty mentor: Yizheng Zhu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.
  • Alana Dudek of Lovettsville, Virginia, a junior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science. Project title: “Suiting up: What does feather color convey in red-winged blackbirds?” Faculty mentor: Ignacio Moore, associate professor of biological sciences.
  • Louis Hollingsworth of Springfield, Virginia, a sophomore triple majoring in chemical engineering in the College of Engineering, biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and chemistry in the College of Science as well as a University Honors student. Project title: “Synthesis of trityl-poly(ethylene glycol) oligomers for drug delivery applications.” Faculty mentor: Richard Gandour, professor of chemistry.
  • Megan Lee Myklegard of Ocala, Florida, a sophomore majoring in marketing management in the Pamplin College of Business. Project title: “Bridging the gap between LGBTQ alumni and current students.” Faculty mentor: David Cline, assistant professor of history.
  • Michelle Noceto of Rome, Italy, a third-year student majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Project title: “Researching Italian holistic approach to design.” Faculty mentor: William Galloway, associate professor in the School of Architecture and Design.
  • Travis Whaley of Cary, North Carolina, a senior triple majoring in piano performance, music composition, and German language and literatures in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and University Honors student. Project title: “Beethoven’s compositional process and the evolution of the Waldstein Sonata, op. 53.” Faculty mentor: Debra Stoudt, associate dean for academic policies and procedures in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and professor of German.
  • James Wood of Charlottesville, Virginia, a senior majoring in architecture in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies. Project title: “Images of the invisible: An atlas of Shaker objects, architecture, and urban planning.” Faculty mentor: James Bassett, assistant professor in the School of Architecture and Design.

The awards fund projects to take place this summer, with an expected project completion by Aug. 1.

The Inter-Institutional Academic Collaborative of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACCIAC) financially supports the ACC Fellows Program in Creativity and Innovation as well as the ACC Meeting of the Minds Undergraduate Research Conference, among other scholarships and initiatives. The ACCIAC receives part of its funding from the ACC Championship Football Game.

Applications for the 2016 ACC Creativity and Innovation Fellowships will be available next fall. Information will be released through Virginia Tech News.

More information on this program and additional undergraduate research opportunities is available through the Office of Undergraduate Research.