Mountain Lion Research Day showcases student and faculty research

    UCCS students were given the opportunity to share their academic research on Dec. 3 during the 13th annual Mountain Lion Research Day that took place in Gallogly Events Center. Faculty who have met research milestones were also recognized at the event.  

     Mountain Lion Research Day, which was created by former Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Michael Larson in 2009, is an event that extends beyond UCCS and into the Pikes Peak region at large.  

     Over the years, Mountain Lion Research Day has garnered support from the El Pomar Institute for Innovations and Commercialization, the Office of Research and other on- and off-campus partners dedicated to its success. 

     According to Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Jessi Smith, over 80 scholars participated in this year’s research day, and the 2021 abstract book detailing the participants and research will be made available through the UCCS Library. 

     Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, last year’s research day had to be hosted online via Microsoft Teams, which made this year’s in-person event a highly anticipated occasion for students and faculty alike. 

     Kelli Klebe, the interim provost at UCCS, announced the winners of the 2021 MLRD Top Scholar and Research Mentor awards and acknowledged several faculty members who achieved remarkable career milestones in sponsored program funding. 

     The undergraduate winner of the Top Scholar award was Ally Vair from the department of art history, who worked with assistant professor and director of art history Kristen Galvin to research Julie Buffalohead’s visual storybook of animals and trauma. 

     The graduate winner of the Top Scholar award was Andrew Gibson from the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who worked with associate professor of theoretical and computational fluid dynamics Michael Calvisi to research the application of Koopmans’ theorem to the control of nonlinear bubble dynamics. 

     The winner of the Research Mentor Award was Eugenia Olesnicky from the department of biology. According to Smith, “[Olesnicky] has mentored nearly 40 students, including seven who are part of the UCCS Undergraduate Research Academy, five who are LAS Scholar Award winners, and 16 who have co-authorships on peer-reviewed publications in biomedical journals.” 

Student Alyssa Premovich presents her research on personality disorders. Photo by Lillian Davis.

     Faculty members acknowledged for their outstanding career milestones in sponsored program funding were welcomed by Klebe into the Million Dollar Club, which she is also a part of. 

     Newly recognized inductees of the Million Dollar Club included:  

Elizabeth Daniels 

     Daniels is an associate professor in the department of psychology whose research program, according to Klebe, “focuses centrally on gender as a social identity that shapes self-perceptions, attitudes, behaviors and interpersonal interactions.” 

Russel Elsberry 

     Elsberry is a senior research associate for the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience whose research on improving the tracking and forecasting of tropical cyclones is, according to Klebe, “vitally important for the resilience of coastal communities.” 

Gary Klein 

     Klein is a professor of information systems and Klebe explained that his research interests  “include product management, information system development, and mathematical modeling, with over 200 publications in these areas.” 

Magdalene Lim 

     Lim is the clinical director of the UCCS Aging Center and an assistant professor of psychology. According to Klebe, Lim’s research “includes the Aging Center’s project funded by NextFifty Initiative titled ‘Next Steps: Identifying Barriers and Optimizing Independence of at-Risk Seniors.’” 

Pat McGuire 

     McGuire is a professor in the department of teaching and learning. His primary scholarship areas, according to Klebe, “include STEM education, instructional technology, and teacher preparation.” 

Sylvia Mendez 

     Mendez is a professor and chair of the department of leadership, research and foundations who is engaged in several projects sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Klebe said Mendez is “focused on broadening participation in STEM academia.” 

Jessi Smith 

     Smith is associate vice-chancellor for research whose research, according to Klebe, “specializes in social psychology aspects of gender and culture that advance the success of marginalized and minoritized people within education, the workplace, and health settings.” 

Heather Song 

     Song is an associate professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering whose research interests, according to Klebe, “include RF microwave systems, high-power microwave and millimeter-wave vacuum electronics, microwave power modules, antenna and phased array power-combining techniques, microwave plasma systems…and terahertz electronics.”