Students shine at CSU’s annual research and creativity showcase

A screenshot of the CURC 2021 virtual platform with student's posters
The CURC showcase virtual platform.

Students in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Colorado State University excelled at the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity showcase receiving awards for their research and creative work.

This event gives undergraduate students an opportunity to present their research covering a wide variety of topics. A diverse array of topics reflecting the disciplines in the College range from helping underrepresented students get access to resources to achieve in art and technology higher education fields, to designing augmented reality technology to enhance building designs, and eating disorder prevention efforts towards CSU students. The students also work closely with faculty mentors throughout their research projects.

Graduate School Award

Leo Andrade
Leo Andrade

Leo Andrade, a senior in the Department of Design and Merchandising who recently graduated, received the Graduate School award for his research titled “Branching Out.” His research investigates how to help underrepresented students get access to resources that are necessary to achieve in higher education.

“What inspired me to do my project was an after-school program I was once part of,” said Andrade. “They helped me build a lot of skills within art and technology by providing me with mentors and resources from middle school up until high school graduation. Because of them, I was able to excel in my first semesters of university. I wanted to create something similar for historically underrepresented students in Fort Collins.”

High Honors

Meghan Jackson
Meghan Jackson

Meghan Jackson is a senior in the Department of Design and Merchandising who received High Honors for her project. She researched how to increase efforts in design using augmented reality to enhance building design strategies under the mentorship of faculty members Leah Scolere, Laura Malinin, and Francisco Ortega. Jackson was inspired to research her topic because of the scientific relationship between spatial design and human wellbeing.

“By being able to measure the successfulness of a space, designers, clients, and occupants alike can benefit,” said Jackson. “Using augmented-reality and other hybrid-digital technologies as a tool to conduct this type of research opens the door for new insight into how people and places interact with one another. I’m excited to contribute my small part to the ever-evolving design process and to help enhance people’s lives in this way.”

Evan Mathias
Evan Mathias

Evan Mathias, a senior in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, also received High Honors. Mathias conducted his research on balance differences between college athletes and healthy adults under the mentorship of faculty member Brett Fling and Ph.D. candidate Tyler Whittier. He was inspired to research his topic after taking Brett Fling’s neurophysiology and biomechanics class.

“I wanted to get involved more with his lab because I loved his class wanted to know more about neurophysiology,” said Mathias. “From there Dr. Fling paired me with Ph.D. candidate Tyler Whittier who let me help him out with his research on looking at balance differences in CSU athletes and healthy adults.”

Best in Show

Annie Campain
Annie Campain

Annie Campain is a senior in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition was recognized with Best in Show for her submission. She researched eating disorder preventative measures under the mentorship of faculty Megan Mueller, Lauren Shomaker, and Genna Campain. She was inspired to pursue her research project titled “An Evaluation to Inform Eating Disorder Prevention Efforts Targeting CSU Students” because of her history with disordered eating during her teenage years.

“I realized this year how little I was aware of CSU eating disorder resources and wanted to see what was being provided,” said Campaign. “I learned about the gaps in treatment seeking among various groups and the potential of prevention in improving help seeking and eating disorder outcomes. It was shocking to hear that many individuals are struggling with these illnesses but not seeking help due to misconceptions surrounding eating disorders and disparities in screening and prevention among dominant and more marginalized groups. I hope that through this project, I can help CSUs current eating disorder resources best serve its diverse student body.”

Participating in the CURC Showcase

The CURC showcase used a virtual platform to present the students’ posters. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and events being hosted remotely, organizers of the annual event found a way to move forward with the research celebration.

“I chose to enter the CURC Award Show because I wanted to share the work that my team and I have been doing over the past year,” said Jackson. “My experience in the CURC virtual award show was very positive! I found it easy to use the iPoster platform to communicate key parts of the project. I especially enjoyed the fact that we could include even more pictures, audio, and mp3 clips using this digital mode. It is something I will encourage my peers to submit to in the future!”

“Through the process, I learned how to present research an online poster and enjoyed receiving feedback on my project,” said Campaign. “I’m happy to say the response was immensely positive and rewarding. I have learned so much through CURC and I’m truly honored to have been able to present my work in such a special way.”

Health and Human Sciences Award Winners

College Honors

Andrea Shammas – Health and Exercise Science

Intraindividual Motor Variability and its Impact on Braking Time in Stroke

Mentors: Andrea Shammas, Prakruti Patel, and Nedi Lodha


Graduate School Award Winner

Leo Andrade – Design and Merchandising

Branching Out


Leah Young – Human Development and Family Studies

Death: Helping Young Children of Color Understand What the End of Life Means

Mentors: Allyson Brothers, Katherine Gerst


High Honors

Meghan Jackson – Design and Merchandising

Designing Augmented Reality Technology for Enhancing Building Design Strategies

Mentors: Leah Scolere, Laura Malinin, Francisco Ortega


Evan Mathias – Health and Exercise Science

Using Virtual Time-to-Contact to Identify Balance Differences Between Healthy Adults and College Athletes

Mentors: Tyler Whittier, Brett Fling


Best in Show

Annie Campaign – Food Science and Human Nutrition

An Evaluation to Inform Eating Disorder Prevention Efforts Targeting CSU Students

Mentors: Megan Mueller, Lauren Shomaker, Genna Campain