Main Navigation

Research on Capitol Hill—Celebrating an annual opportunity for student researchers

The Utah Legislature is about to convene, and student researchers at the U are among those who anticipated the 2024 General Session. While some students may be beginning an internship or following pending bills, 27 undergraduates have been eagerly awaiting a day to share their research with state leaders. 

Thursday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. students from the U and Utah State University will convene in the Capitol Rotunda for the 24th annual event, Research on Capitol Hill (ROCH). Student research projects are selected annually through an application process by the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of Government Relations, and the Office of Undergraduate Research. Cindy Greaves is the associate director of the latter office and notes that “students get the opportunity to speak directly to their state legislators and share the importance of their research. Policy makers get to witness innovation and cutting edge research and the investment students will give back to this state and their communities.”

Lawmakers agree that this event shares the breadth that an R 1 institution offers. House Representative Carol Spackman Moss shared that “Research on the Hill” is a great opportunity to learn about the outstanding research our university students are doing on a variety of subjects ranging from science to the humanities. Their work may well result in a better world for society, from breakthroughs in medicine to new methods of improving our environment. I encourage all lawmakers to visit the students in the Capitol Rotunda and have them explain their work. I guarantee you will be inspired.” 

The benefits are reciprocal for student presenters. Last year, Lauren Carn found that as an arts researcher, the interdisciplinary nature of the event was her favorite part of ROCH and noted that “because of my positive experience during ROCH, I am now continuing within the UROP program to further my research on the intersections of mental health and participation in the arts.”  

Because our state government has a part-time legislature, Utah’s senators and representatives have a wide range of careers and experiences. This gives undergraduate students the unique chance to communicate their research to experts in their discipline and laypeople. Their audience may include lawmakers, younger students on field trips, Capitol staff, and members of the general public. If you can, take some time to visit them in the Rotunda and read on for a full list of student research topics. 

Click here to see past projects and learn more about future applications.

2024 Presenters 

Aksel Anderson, Three-Dimensional Construction of Coronary Vasculature Geometries

Noah Armstrong, Identifying the source of Utah’s invasive fox squirrel (S. niger) through population genetics

Sanjana Aujla, Implementation and Testing of a Hydrogel Micro Electrode Array

Dua Azhar, Physics Investigating Neuronal Networks of Learning in Drosophila melanogaster

Danny Barrera, Chemistry Fetal Macrophages Produce Interleukin-7 in the Developing Hematopoietic Niche

Abbey Blair & Kiersten Gardner, Human Development and Family Studies Safeguarding Against Infections: Transdermal Antiseptics in combination with Surgical Prep  

Pierce Chrisoffersen & Kalista Leggitt, The Intersection of Pediatric Autonomy, Conscientious Objection, and Civil Disobedience in Healthcare Rethinking Resilience: Testing Resilience in Drosophila Species

Sarah Crago, Rethinking Resilience: Testing Resilience in Drosophila Species

Ben Creer, Self-control of Adults with Type 1 Diabetes and Their Perceptions of Partner Support

Cameron Davis, Probing the role of Nup50 in the DNA Damage Response

Zoe Exelbert, Hydroclimate Variability Assessment of Migratory Birds at the Great Salt Lake 

Anna Gilstrap, Rapid Isolation of Protein Complexes from Cellular Lysates 

Josh Gubler, EMG Data Compression for Low-Power Wireless Communication

Addison Hedges, Behavioral Effects of Trauma Recruit Separate Populations of Ventral Hippocampal Neurons

Logan Lancaster, Using OpenSim to Model, Simulate, and Improve Gait Symmetry in Stroke Survivors

Alexander Lott, Acoustic guitar as hands-on pedagogical demonstration of wave mechanics 

Sam Makin, Advancing Breast Cancer Screening: A Proposal for Microwave Imaging with SSTDR Technology

Ty Mellor, One Step Protein Purification via the Type 3 Secretion System in Salmonella

Delaney Miller, Electrocatalytic Production of 2,5-Furandicarboxylic Acid from 2,5-Bis(Hydroxymethyl)Furan over Graphite Rod Electrodes

Ritika Nayan, Flu-induced immune responses prevent malarial pulmonary injury

Nate Patchen, Visualizing DNA Double-Strand Break Repair Pathway Choice at High Resolution

Brenda Payan Medina, Art Beyond the Bars: The Value of Arts Programming in Correctional Settings

Catherine Peterson, Understanding the Relationship Between Environmental Exposures and the Risk of Pediatric Obesity using Unsupervised Machine Learning

Alex Romano, Murine Model of Hepatitis Delta Virus-Associated Salivary Gland Impairment

Lorelei Sole, Investigating the Role of Concurrent NF1 and BRAF Mutations in Melanoma