Current Projects

Some of the student research currently taking place at WSU: 

If you are interested in submitting a project for or removing a project from this list, please email undergraduateresearch@wichita.edu.


College of Education

College Readiness - Transitioning From High School to College Successfully
Name: Jim Granada
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
Contact Info: jim.granada@wichita.edu | 316-978-6298
Project: Multiple projects are possible under the umbrella of college readiness. Three current studies under development involve first semester student perceptions at WSU, college readiness as it relates to English Language Learners, and how social, economic and cultural capital influence college eligibility, aspirations and success. Additional research focusing on college readiness models being developed would also be an option.
Miscellaneous: Particularly interested in first-generation students and students that are in their first or second year at WSU. Also interested in students that have just transferred to WSU from a community college.

Culture, diversity and tensions in mathematics learning
Name: Mara Alagic
Department: Curriculum and Instruction
Contact Info: mara.alagic@wichita.edu | 316-978-6974
Project: This research is part of the Tilford Grant. Focus is on relational perspectives in which cultural diversity is viewed as a relation between students’ participation in the practices of different learning communities and it also encompasses inquiries of both ethno-mathematics and experiential learning in diverse learning environments. Student-researcher can select to focus on one of the two following projects: MathArt Project (MAP) or Case Study: Culturally Diverse Learning (CDCL). The first project, MAP is focused on cultural/ethnic artifacts that have artistic value and underlying mathematical representation. The second, Case Study project may be defined in a couple of different ways, dependent on student-researcher’s interest; on the continuum from theoretical perspectives on learning to an experiential investigation with a selected learner (child, peer …).
Miscellaneous: Assuming good quality of their contribution, the student will be able to have an independent contribution to this project and/or be listed as co-author of this research.

College of Engineering

Effect of tool coatings on cutting temperature
Name: Vis Madhavan and Wilfredo Moscoso
Department: Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
Contact Info: vis.madhavan@wichita.edu | 316-393-6137
Project: Infrared thermography is carried out through transparent cutting tools for in-situ measurement of the chip-tool interface temperature. Change in temperature is correlated to change in friction, yielding useful reference data for validation of simulations. This project is partially funded by the Department of Energy, through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Smart Connected Health Monitoring and Unintentional Injury Prevention Tool
Name: Fadi Alsaleem
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Contact Info: fadi.alsaleem@wichita.edu | (316) 978-6381
Project: This project addresses the primary cause of death within the first years of life due to unintentional injury by giving the child a variation of a smart-band that tracks heart rate, oxygen saturation level, and body temperature, send these data continuously to the cloud, and alert parents if these measurements vary from the normal range based on some predetermined thresholds. In a more advanced setting such as HVAC monitoring using cloud systems the PI led the effort in predicting and warning failure in HVAC systems. In this project, our goal is to utilize the cloud computing power, data, and trending analysis to eliminate generation of false alerts (false positive) and false negatives (missing a real true event). This technology should also work outside the home and is targeted for kids above 1 year and could engage/address unintentional injury sources for children. For example, drowning and fire/heat could be detected and alerted in timely and effective manner.

The idea of the project can be generalized to span other health monitoring and accident prevention systems by creating a basic sensor-based platform connected with a sufficient, secure, and scalable cloud implementation that will measure, store, candidate, fit and retain capable and user-specific medical predictive models, and present results including alerts for clear threat to health in a clear and informative manner to care providers including parents, medical responders, and transport personnel.

Big data analysis for low refrigerant cooling systems detection
Name: Fadi Alsaleem
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Contact Info: fadi.alsaleem@wichita.edu | (316) 978-6381
Project: Big data analysis is proposed to solve major limitations of current technology in detecting and diagnosing (residential) cooling systems refrigerant faults in general, and specifically low refrigerant/charge fault. An averaging mechanism for continuous feed of different temperature and power measurements is applied to calculate and store only significant information in database for further analysis. Next, an enhanced version of Mann-Kendall trending is applied periodically over the stored data to calculate trend strength (upward or downward) for each measurement. Finally, a harmonic mean is used to balance the trends conurbation and evaluate the result against a threshold value for potential fault.   Such algorithm is expected to have an important positive impact, because the enhanced trending analysis is designed to accurately detect low charge at early stage. This should help in (a) reducing the impact of greenhouse refrigerant on climate and (b) potentially reducing the energy use of the US by more than 0.1 quad per year.  This algorithm is a robust first step towards leveraging the latest technology advancements, especially in computer science and mathematics, to vertically advance the field of HVAC systems.

College of Fine Arts

No projects reported at this time.

College of Health Professions

My Plan - Community-Based Maternal and Infant Health Promotion Project
Name: Nikki Keene Woods
Department: Public Health Sciences
Contact Info: nikki.keenewoods@wichita.edu | 316-978-5637
Project: Health disparities continue to exist among maternal and infant health outcomes in Kansas and across the United States (US). Examining the health of infants and mothers, the most vulnerable population in communities, is a strong indicator of the overall population’s health status. In Sedgwick County there is an ongoing collaborative action focused on improving birth outcomes and reducing health disparities. The effort is guided by the Maternal and Infant Health Coalition, whose membership includes: clinicians, health department leaders, social service agencies, university partners, community members, and other stakeholder groups. One of the most significant accomplishments of the group to date was the Maternal and Infant Health Summit held in February 2015. This led to a strategic plan that resulted in the implementation of a collaborative prenatal education program funded by KDHE. The program, Baby Talk, is a series of prenatal education courses that includes incentives for participation and is offered at numerous sites and times throughout the community. Building off this well received effort and guided by successful action in neighboring states, the next resource needed is access to free birth control. The “My Plan” community-based health promotion project is focused on linking high-risk women to existing community resources.
Interested students: I am looking for students to help support health education dissemination, support social media and website development/maintenance, and potentially disseminate findings.

Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Using protein engineering to probe the role of non-conserved residues in protein structure & function

Name: Moriah Beck

Department: Chemistry

Contact Info: moriah.beck@wichita.edu | 316-978-5476

Project: Personalized medicine relies on the ability of doctors to distinguish mutations that will cause disease from those that are "silent" given a patient's genomic data. Recent research suggests that substitutions at nonconserved positions behave more like rheostats for modulating protein function, whereas substitutions at conserved positions result in “toggle switching.” Therefore this project is aimed at improving our understanding of the "rules" that govern mutations governing protein function. 
Starting with a bioinformatic approach, students will examine protein sequence alignments and choose non-conserved residues to mutate via PCR.  Mutant proteins will be assayed for enzyme function, thermal stability, etc. Students will become familiar with protein purification and wide range of biochemical techniques.

Miscellaneous: Looking for highly motivated chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or biomedical engineering students who have >10 hours/week available for research.  Funding for this project may be available from grants or K-INBRE scholarships.  More than one semester commitment preferred.

Homeless Voices: A Digital Narrative
Name: Natalie Grant
Department: School of Social Work
Contact Info: natalie.grant@wichita.edu | 316-978-7258
Project: Last January, we gathered video narratives with people who experience homelessness in the Wichita community. The goal was to ask a series of questions regarding homelessness and ideas they have for community assistance for homeless people. Two hours of footage was captured. The need is for a student to assist in developing an edited digital narrative as well as transcribe the interviews. Ideally, this project will conclude with a video and written research paper regarding this process of data gathering and outline the issues discussed by participants.

The Depiction of American Politics in the Television Show Scandal
Name: Neal Allen
Department: Political Science
Contact Info: neal.allen@wichita.edu | 978-7133
Project: Scandal presents a skewed view of American politics, in which skilled political operators like Olivia Pope can make government work through personal competence and use of influence.  I argue that this does not fit with contemporary politics in the U.S., due to ideological polarization.This project would benefit from a student who could watch the first three seasons of Scandal, making an annotated list of the instances in which executive and legislative policy-making are portrayed.

The Culture of Sexual Assault on Campus
Name: Rhonda Lewis
Department: Psychology
Contact Info: cpsya.wsu@gmail.com
Project: According to "Not Alone," the White House report on campus sexual assault released in April 2014, approximately 20% (or 1 woman in 5) will experience a sexual assault while in college. More troubling is that the vast majority of survivors never report their trauma (Fisher, et.al., 2003). Locally, WSU reported only one sexual assault in 2013 (and only three in the two years before that) on all of its campuses and residence halls. Given the 20% incidence cited by the White House report and WSU's population of female undergraduates, WSU could expect up to 1,148 actual assaults. The obvious gap in reporting at WSU has driven CPsyA to action.  The first step in understanding the culture of sexual assault at WSU is to conduct focus groups and a survey with students, faculty, and staff.  We are looking for researchers to assist in things like: participating in trial run focus groups, conducting focus groups, transcribing coding data, inputting data, data analysis etc.

Human Factors Training to Improve Firearm Safety
Name: Joel Suss
Department: Psychology
Contact Info: joel.suss@wichita.edu | 316-978-3821
Project: The Applied Cognition and Expertise (ACE) Lab is conducting ground-breaking human factors research related to firearms safety. This project will use a special training pistol that has a sensor built into the trigger guard. If a person violates firearms safety rules and inserts their finger into the trigger guard before they are ready to shoot, an alarm sounds. This feedback mechanism is designed to reduce unintended discharges. The main research question is whether training with this device results in improved firearm safety during non-stressful range shooting, as well as during stressful scenarios.
Miscellaneous: Looking for a high-motivated student, preferably from psychology or criminal justice (but I will consider any background). No experience with firearms is necessary (but it could be useful). Seeking a student who can commit for at least two semesters.


W. Frank Barton School of Business

No projects reported at this time.