Undergrad researchers showcase findings at the symposium

The 25th Undergraduate Research Symposium hosted by the Undergraduate Research Center took place Thursday at Minnesota State. Over 80 undergraduate students showcased their research, scholarly and creative activities. 

The URS is an annual event for undergraduate students to present work they’ve done in their fields during the academic year. 

“It’s an opportunity for the students to show what they’ve done and to share that with their friends, classmates, family and teachers,” said Tebbe. “It’s an opportunity for other students to see what they can do and participate in a more accessible presentation opportunity.”

According to Tebbe, URS presentations covered a variety of topics such as biology, engineering, sociology and more. This year visitors were able to join the oral and poster presentations as well as participate in the view of the art exhibition and short documentary film in Ostrander Auditorium. 

Senior student Shamsi Taghiyev presented his documentary on URS.

“The research is about the reconciliation and healing process of both Native Americans and the descendants of European settlers that reside here on U.S. soil,” said Taghiyev. “I did this work because of the similarity of that to my background and history with my family. I felt the connection and wanted to dive in and be a part of something bigger toward that matter.”

The research in the Computer Science, Engineering & Technology (CSET) field was presented by junior Cole Shoenbauer and Marcho Handoko, who has since graduated. According to the students, their research has the potential to be another security system for digitally stored data. 

“Our research is on mouse base continuous authentication. It’s repeatedly pulling a user based on their input to detect whether a user is genuine or not,” said Shoenbauer. “So instead of doing just a basic password, you also have continuous authentication that is continuing to check while you’re using the program that you are the genuine user and not someone else trying to hijack a person’s system.”

Another research in the CSET field was done by senior Delaney Conrad, who tried to determine if machine learning models were able to tell if an image is real or fake, which she thinks is important in rising Artificial Intelligence times. 

“​​I think there’s an urgent need to try to detect and know if the content that we are seeing is not real,” said Conrad.

Conrad said the experience was well worth her time.

“There were areas of it that I was surprised were challenging. Just some of the data cleaning and processing, and then learning new code that I hadn’t been exposed to,” said Conrad. “But overall, the process has been fulfilling and it’s been fun to present. Challenging but worth it.”

Senior Olivia Haefner researched payday lending and its impact on low-income neighborhoods. According to Haefner, the research started as a class project and became more interesting to investigate during the process. 

“It wasn’t really of interest until we started learning about it because I knew nothing. I didn’t even know what this was until we started talking about it in class,” said Haefner. “But once I figured it out, it was sad how people can get trapped in this. And while talking to people it was sad to hear their experiences. They were still very positive people but they struggled through a lot because they got stuck in this. I think it needs to be brought to attention more.”

The organizational team, as well as URS participants, said they find it useful to participate in undergraduate research and present their work. Kaylee Engel, Graduate Assistant for URC, said she believes this experience will help students. 

“I think it gives students a lot of skills that they can carry on either to graduate school, to their career or just in life in general,” said Engel. “And I think it helps to build the confidence of students and knowing that they can take ownership over a big project like that, be able to successfully do it and to carry that on with them in life.”

For those who missed presentations but are still interested to see them, URC uploaded presentations, posters and videos from presenters on the Symposium platform.

For additional information, email

Header Photo: The Undergraduate Student Symposium offered students the opportunity to showcase their works they’ve been working on all semester. (File Photo)

Write to Amalia Sharaf at

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