College of Health and Human Sciences students highlighted for impactful research at 2023 MURALS symposium

Participating student standing beside their showcase poster and work at the 2023 MURALS symposium in CSU's Lory Student Center.

A record number of 168 students participated in this year’s Multicultural Undergraduate Research Art and Leadership Symposium (MURALS) at Colorado State University, including sixteen from the College of Health and Human Sciences. 

MURALS is an undergraduate research and artistry symposium that provides a platform for undergraduate students with marginalized identities to showcase their scholarly work. MURALS is inclusive, rigorous, and culturally relevant. 

“It has been an honor to serve students in MURALS. I have been involved with MURALS since the first brainstorming session led by Bridgette Johnson, the program creator, roughly a decade ago,” said Michelle Foster, assistant dean for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice for the College of Health and Human Sciences. “I have seen this program grow from 15 students to 168 and the impact it has had on career trajectories. So many magnificent and heartwarming stories and celebrations. I am proud and will continue to make sure research opportunities are available for all.”

On March 31, in CSU’s Lory Student Center, students presented their scholarly work supported by graduate students and faculty who served as mentors. They provided feedback to the students and appointed winners in various categories.

Impact beyond the poster 

MURALS works to articulate the importance of research in each student’s field and seeks interaction and collaboration among students from diverse populations.  

I learned the impact that research has on human nature and what we can learn not only about ourselves but the environment around us. It inspired me to always continue to learn as much as I can, to help me feel more connected with the world around me,” said Jimmy Day, student in interior architecture and design. 

The MURALS symposium serves a much larger purpose than highlighting one’s research: it inspires educational growth and expedition. 

“I learned that there are so many people around you that are willing to help you succeed. You do not have to fear new opportunities because when you are uncomfortable, that’s when you are able to grow,” said Teja Johnson, student in the Department of Health and Exercise Science. 

MURALS encourages open discourse and expression among students.  

Participating student standing beside their showcase poster and work at the 2023 MURALS symposium in CSU's Lory Student Center.
Lexi Walker standing beside her showcase poster and work at the 2023 MURALS symposium in CSU’s Lory Student Center.

“It feels extremely gratifying to be recognized for my research and creative scholarship, being able to educate others in my findings and share my work in an all-inclusive space. I learned that anyone can be a researcher and it helps to be passionate about your research,” said Lexi Walker, nutrition and food science student. 

“It is an honor to be able to participate, network with others, and find connections in my field as well as other fields,” said Walker. 

Among the College of Health and Human Sciences students who participated, two were recognized with awards for their work at MURALS. 

Roy Luo stands next to Ria Vigil, Shannon Shannon Archibeque-Engle, and Brigette Johnson while holding an award certificate.
Award recipient Roy Luo with Ria Vigil, Shannon Archibeque-Engle, and Brigette Johnson.

Roy Luo, an interior architecture and design student, was awarded with the Rising Star in Creative Arts designation while Walker and her presentation were recognized with the student’s choice distinction.

For more information on MURALS, see the MURALS website.

Congratulations to all of the college’s participants in MURALS! Read on for all names and project titles at the 2023 MURALS symposium, listed by major. 

Construction Management 

  • Joel Ibarra – Construction Management First-Generation and Multicultural Mentorship Program 
  • Miguel Eduardo Lopez – Mental Health for First-Generation Students 

Fermentation Science and Technology 

  • Grace Symanski – Is It Safe to Ferment Kombucha? 

Health and Exercise Science

  • Hannah Bean – Diverse Biology & How it Can Impact Gender Essentialism
  • Kira Donahue – Evaluation of alternatives to feed grade antibiotics in feedlot rations on performance in beef steers 
  • Malachi Haynes – The Effects of Different Exercise Types on Multiple Sclerosis Symptoms 
  • Teja Johnson – How financial insecurity affects children from low-income households 

Human Development and Family Studies 

  • Mariela Paul – Addressing the Issue of Homelessness 
  • Melanin Armendariz – Trauma and the Pathway to Healing 

Interior Architecture and Design 

  • Jimmy Day – Coalescence: Workplace design for health + well being 
  • Roy Luo, Shanghai Concorde Culture Center – Conservation and Promotion of Historical Architecture and Local Culture through Designing a Cultural Complex 
  • Victoria McMillan – Sensory Input, Motor Output 

Nutrition and Food Science

  • Lexi Walker – The Intersection of Oral Health and Overall Health

Social Work 

  • Elisa Justine Golyer; Emma Oredson; Madison Guzman – Invisible Identities in CSU Undergraduate Students